FAQs about Midwifery

Midwifery Care – Frequently asked questions

What is Midwifery Care?

Midwives provide complete prenatal, birth and postpartum care for you and your baby from conception or early pregnancy to six weeks post-partum.  The underlying principles of midwifery care are that:

        • birth is a natural, normal, healthy family event (not a medical event)

        •  the woman and her family are at the center of all care

        • decision making is collaborative, and is based on informed choice

        • women work with known caregivers throughout their care

        • women choose where to give birth, and who will be with them

Midwives can order all of the common laboratory tests, ultrasounds, and other tests associated with pregnancy, birth and the postpartum period.  Midwives are trained in adult CPR, obstetrical emergency skills and infant resuscitation.  They carry the equipment and have the skills to manage common obstetrical and newborn problems if they arise.   They work both in hospital and at home, and may attend women giving birth in either setting. 

What’s the difference between midwifery care and medical care?

There are many differences, including differences in philosophy and approach, differences in training, and differences in how care is provided.  Generally, the main differences that you may notice in your care are:

        • visits with a midwife are longer (usually 45-60 minutes) to allow for more discussion and exchange of information

        • you will be provided with more information about your health, your pregnancy, your birth and your baby

        • you will be more involved in decisions around your care and the care of your newborn

        • you may be exposed to a wider variety of complementary therapies

Clearly this form of care suits those who wish to become more informed and who are prepared to take more responsibility for their own health and for decisions regarding their care.


If I have a midwife, do I have to give birth at home?  

No, you may choose hospital or home.  Where you choose to give birth will depend on your own individual preferences and the health of your pregnancy.  Midwives encourage you to keep an open mind about where to give birth, so that you can respond to whatever circumstances come up in your pregnancy.  

Whether you give birth in a hospital or at home, midwives will provide care for you and your baby.  During your pregnancy, midwives will also provide you with information and support to help you decide which venue is best for you.


 Am I eligible for midwifery care?

While the focus of midwifery is on low-risk, healthy women and their babies, we do provide care for moderate and even high risk women, generally in consultation with obstetricians and/or pediatricians.   All women and babies can take advantage of the many benefits of midwifery care, which include lower C-section rates, lower rates of interventions, and more support for breastfeeding and postpartum adjustments.


Do I need to see a doctor?

Women who are receiving midwifery care do not need to see a doctor for prenatal care unless they have a medical problem which is not related to the pregnancy.   The Medical Services Plan does not allow women to see both a GP and a Midwife for their maternity care unless you are part of a recognized 'collaborative' practice where midwives and doctors work together as a team.  If your family doctor provides maternity care, you may choose to stay with him or her for your care.  If your family doctor does not provide maternity care, you may choose to be cared for by a midwife or another doctor.  


What if I have problems during my pregnancy or delivery?

If you develop any problems associated with the pregnancy or in the postpartum period we will refer you directly to an obstetrician (for the mother) or a pediatrician (for the baby).  Usually midwives continue to provide you with supportive care, in collaboration with the obstetrician or pediatrician, and resume full care for you and/or your baby when the situation normalizes. 


Who pays for midwifery care?  

Midwifery services are fully covered by the B.C. Medical Plan.