FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Q: WHAT IS THE MIDWIFERY SCOPE OF PRACTICE?
A: Midwives are registered primary health care professionals. Midwives provide primary care to low-risk, healthy pregnant women beginning in the first trimester through to labour and birth. Clients and their babies remain under midwifery care for the first six weeks postpartum. As primary care providers, midwives are able to order all the same laboratory tests and ultrasounds that would be routinely ordered by a family physician or obstetrician.
Q: CAN I HAVE A MIDWIFE AND A DOCTOR?
A: If you have a midwife you will not see a physician for your pregnancy related concerns unless there is a complication. If a complication arises during your pregnancy, labour or postpartum period your midwife will consult with the appropriate health care provider. If a complication warrants it your care may be transferred to a physician. If a transfer of care is needed, your midwives will no longer provide clinical care. However, your midwives will continue to provide you with support, education and advocacy.
Clinical care is often transferred back to your midwife during the postpartum period. Circumstances requiring a consultation or transfer of care are set by the College of Midwives of Ontario.
Q: HOW MUCH DOES IT COST TO HAVE A MIDWIFE?
A: In Ontario, midwifery care is funded by the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care. There is no cost to clients. Women not currently covered by OHIP also have access to free midwifery care.
Q: WHAT KIND OF EDUCATION DO YOU NEED TO BECOME A MIDWIFE?
A: Midwives are graduates of a four-year degree through the Ontario Midwifery Education Program. This is offered through three Ontario universities: McMaster, Ryerson and Laurentian. An internationally trained midwife may complete the International Midwifery Pre-registration Program (IMPP). Upon completion of a midwife’s education, she will be licensed through the College of Midwives of Ontario.
Midwives maintain their skills and competencies by re-certifying in CPR, newborn resuscitation and emergency skills every 1-2 years. We must also participate in continuing education to maintain our College registration.
Q: WHEN SHOULD I CONTACT A MIDWIFE?
A: We recommend contacting your midwife as soon as you know you are pregnant. Midwives are in high demand and women may find themselves on a waiting list. It is also important to access prenatal care early in your pregnancy. It is never too late to call. There is always a chance that we have a space for you in our practice.
Q: WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A DOULA AND A MIDWIFE?
A: Midwives are primary care providers and are responsible for the clinical portion of your pregnancy, labour and birth and postpartum care. A doula is trained and experienced in providing labour support as well as support during the postpartum period.
Q: CAN I HAVE A MIDWIFE AND A DOULA?
A: Absolutely! Doulas are a wonderful resource and can be a great support for women having their first babies, and research supports the use of doulas. While a partner, relative or friend may be willing to be your main labour support, a doula can facilitate that support and will have many strategies to help you manage your labour. Doulas are especially useful as support during early labour before midwives attend you
Q: ARE THERE ANY AGE RESTRICTIONS FOR HAVING A MIDWIFE?
A: There are no age restrictions. As long as you are healthy and low-risk, you are eligible for midwifery care.
Q: I HAVE A HEALTH CONDITION, AM I STILL APPROPRIATE FOR MIDWIFERY CARE?
A: At your first appointment your midwife will conduct an extensive health history and determine if midwifery care is the best choice for you.
Q: IF I HAVE A MIDWIFE, CAN I STILL HAVE PAIN MEDICATION IN LABOUR?
A: Women choosing midwives have the same access to medication in labour as women with other maternity care providers. However, our experience is that with the right support and non-pharmacological pain relief, most women don’t need an epidural. In this community, if you choose to have an epidural, a nurse will be involved in your care to manage the epidural, but your primary care will stay with your midwife.
Q: WHAT IF MY MIDWIFE IS AT ANOTHER BIRTH WHEN I GO INTO LABOUR?
A: In the rare event that this occurs, another midwife from Guelph Midwives will attend you until your primary midwife is available. If you have a student involved in your care, they may be present at your birth and supervised by the replacement midwife.