What Is A Midwife?

pregnant_woman_with_childIn Ontario, pregnant women can choose between a registered midwife, family doctor or obstetrician for their pregnancy care.  Midwives and family doctors specialize in providing low risk obstetrical care to healthy women. An obstetrician specializes in high risk pregnancies and deliveries.  Just like doctors, your midwife’s care is fully covered by OHIP. For women without OHIP, they can still receive free midwifery care. In Ontario, registered midwives conduct both home and hospital setting deliveries. The hospital our practice is affiliated with is North York General Hospital.

During your pregnancy care, your midwife will see you for routine appointments on the same schedule that a doctor would.  Your midwife will also order all routine lab tests and ultrasounds, and prescribe routine medications.  If higher risks develop in your pregnancy, your midwife will consult or transfer care to the most appropriate specialist provider – usually an obstetrician or pediatrician. Midwives are experts in providing obstetrical, safe and research-based care for pregnant women and their babies.

The midwife is recognized as a responsible and accountable professional who works in partnership with women to give the necessary support, care and advice during pregnancy, labour and the postpartum period, to conduct births on the midwife’s own responsibility and to provide care for the newborn and the infant. This care includes preventative measures, the promotion of normal birth, the detection of complications in mother and child, the accessing of medical care or other appropriate assistance and the carrying out of emergency measures.

Midwives’ philosophy of care includes viewing pregnancy and birth as normal states for the healthy women. Registered Midwives in Ontario provide continuity of healthcare throughout the pregnancy, birth and six weeks postpartum.  Midwives are the only obstetrical healthcare providers in Ontario who offer the choice of giving birth in either a hospital or your home.

For a midwife to practice in Ontario, they are required to attend a four year university program to study normal pregnancy, labour, birth and newborn care, as well as emergency skills. Midwives trained outside of Canada qualify to practice in Ontario through a bridging program. As a self-regulated profession, midwifery is governed by the College of Ontario Midwives.

For more details, see our FAQ page.