A midwife is a registered health care professional who provides primary care to low-risk women throughout their pregnancy, labour and birth and provides care to both mother and baby during the first six weeks following the birth.
Midwives work together in group practices. A woman receives care from a small number of midwives. During regularly scheduled visits to the midwifery practice, midwives provide clinical examinations, counselling and education.
Women in midwifery care normally do not see a physician during their pregnancy, labour or the first six weeks after the birth unless complications arise.
Midwives in Ontario
In 2004, Ontario midwives celebrate the completion of ten years of regulated and funded midwifery. By the end of the year 2004, there will be approximately 300 registered midwives in the province. Ontario was the first province in Canada to regulate and legislate midwifery. The profession is now regulated in British Columbia, Alberta, Manitoba and Quebec.
The Ontario model of midwifery is based on three principles:
Continuity of Care
Midwifery care is available to women throughout their pregnancy, labour, birth, and the first six weeks after birth. Midwives spend time developing relationships with women and are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Women are active decision-makers in the care they receive; midwives give information to help women make informed decisions.
Choice of Birthplace
Midwifery clients may choose to give birth at home or in hospital. Midwives maintain hospital privileges at many Ontario hospitals and work collaboratively with other health care practitioners.
Midwifery services are completely funded by the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care.
Midwives qualify for registration either by graduating from the Ontario Midwifery Education Programme (a four-year university degree program) or the International Midwifery Pre-registration Program, offered through Ryerson University’s continuing education division. Each year approximately 40 new midwives are registered which will make midwifery care available to more women throughout Ontario.
The Association of Ontario Midwives (AOM) collaborates with the College of Midwives of Ontario, the Midwifery Education Programme and the Ontario Midwifery Program to continue the development of an outstanding midwifery care system for women and their families in Ontario.
Scope of Practice
"The practice of midwifery is the assessment and monitoring of women during pregnancy, labour and the post-partum period and of their newborn babies, the provision of care during normal pregnancy, labour and post-partum period and the conducting of spontaneous normal vaginal deliveries."
For information on the College of Midwives of Ontario regulations, standards and guidelines click here
Taken from the Association of Ontario Midwives