In British Columbia, midwives are primary caregivers working in community-based practices. They provide evidence-based, client-centered maternity and newborn care and are an established part of the BC health care system.
Midwifery emphasizes the natural ability to experience birth with minimum intervention, and the principle that all clients are to be respected and supported in all stages of care.
During pregnancy, midwife visits happen about as often as visits with physicians. Most visits in the first part of pregnancy are scheduled every three to six weeks and last between 30-60 minutes. In the third trimester, visits are scheduled weekly during the last month of pregnancy.
Longer visits allow for physical, emotional and social health assessments, while enabling the development of a trusting relationship between midwife and client.
Midwives offer a complete panel of prenatal laboratory tests, genetic screening and diagnosis options, ultrasound imaging and many other tests and procedures.
During pregnancy, clients will meet all the midwives who share in their care so that familiarity is established prior to birth.
Your midwife or midwives will always be available 24/7.
Midwives respect the right of the client to choose the birth setting. They hold admitting and discharge privileges in hospitals, enabling them to provide care at home or in hospital.
When discussing home birth, midwives provide clients with research-based information. They address questions and concerns, and assess whether the client is a good candidate for home birth.
Midwives work collaboratively with obstetricians, nurses, family physicians, pediatricians, anesthetists and lactation consultants, both in the hospital setting and in the community.
Where you decide to have your baby is your choice. Regardless of where you choose to give birth, you will receive excellent, safe care from your midwife.
After birth, a client will see the same midwife or midwives who provided care during their pregnancy. Visits usually take place wherever the new family resides. This may initially be in the hospital after a hospital birth, or at home after a home birth or soon after a new family returns from the hospital.
Midwives monitor the health of client and baby and provide breastfeeding support. They ensure the client is recovering physically, and emotionally.
After the first week or two, visits usually happen back in the clinic and continue to about six weeks postpartum when care is transferred back to the family physician.
Between visits, midwives provide 24/7 call coverage for urgent care or concerns.