What is Midwifery Care?
Midwives are specialists in normal childbirth. Midwifery is based on the principles of health and well-being, recognizing that conception, pregnancy, birth and breastfeeding are natural life processes. The midwife gives holistic care, advice and supervision to birthing families during pregnancy, labour, birth and the postpartum period and conducts normal births. This care includes promotion of normal birth and breastfeeding, preventive measures, detecting abnormal conditions in mother and child, accessing medical assistance when necessary and taking emergency measures in the absence of medical help. Midwives can and do access other health care professions where it is deemed appropriate for consultation or ongoing care. Midwives provide continuity of care throughout the childbearing cycle.
Midwifery is a partnership between a midwife and a pregnant person, which is based on mutual respect. Midwifery actively encourages informed choice throughout the childbearing cycle by providing relevant, objective information about care alternatives, including risks and benefits, to facilitate informed decision making. Midwives assist the pregnant person to develop understanding, skills, and motivation necessary to take responsibility for and control of their own health and that of their family.
We offer personalized, professional care for the birthing family. Our services include preconception counseling, prenatal care, labour and birth care in the home, birth centre or hospital; postpartum care, breastfeeding support, parenting information, as well as contraceptive and family planning counseling.
Adequate prenatal care is necessary to safeguard the health of the mother and baby. Physical well-being of mother and baby are monitored at each visit. Time is also spent in counseling and teaching.
Labour and Birth
During labour, the midwife monitors the well-being of the birthing person and baby, assesses the progress of labour, supports the birth of the baby and placenta, repairs the perineum (if necessary), examines the baby, and monitors the condition of the two after the birth. The midwife will provide all medical supplies for out of hospital births. Parents are expected to provide non-medical supplies. Should abnormal conditions be detected, the midwife will accompany the birthing person and/or baby to the hospital.
The midwife ensures that everyone is stable before they return home, or in the event of a homebirth, before the midwives depart. Three to five visits are made to the home in the week after the birth. The schedule for home visits is arranged according to individual needs. Physical well-being of birther/baby are assessed, breastfeeding initiated and any other teaching or support is provided. The Newborn Metabolic Screening blood test is collected from the baby. A two week and six week postpartum assessment is done including well woman care and family planning counseling.
In order to minimize risk, it is necessary for each member of the birthing family unit to be responsible for their own health and that of their baby. This includes maintaining a balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle, receiving adequate prenatal care and acquiring knowledge and skills necessary for labour, birth and the early postpartum period.
There are some distinct benefits and risks to any place of birth. It is the parents’ responsibility to become as informed as possible, to weigh the benefits and risks to make decisions appropriate for themselves.
As part of ongoing research to support the numerous benefits that midwifery has to offer not only birthing families but our health care system in general, we are required to record personal information regarding our clients and their outcomes in our care. This process is completely confidential and the information is stored in a secure and protected database. If you have questions about this process or are concerned about your privacy, please feel free to discuss this matter with your midwives.