Fraser Health’s Midwifery services are managed by the Maternal, Infant, Child, and Youth (MICY) Program.
Registered Midwives are highly skilled professionals and are considered primary health care providers.
The practice of Midwifery is regulated in BC by the College of Midwives of BC.
Midwives, along with physicians and dentists, are appointed by the FHA Board of Directors as members of the FHA Medical Staff. As independently regulated members of the Medical Staff, midwives are organized into the Regional Division of Midwifery within the Regional Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology.
Women who wish to use the services of a midwife can self-refer or can be referred directly by their family physician. Referrals can be initiated with a phone call to the midwife’s office. A list of midwives, searchable by community, is available on the Midwives Association of BC website.
Ideal candidates for referral include:
- Women who want a home birth
- Women who have a desire for natural childbirth
- Women who would benefit from extra support and education (e.g. teens, single parent, marginalized populations)
While healthy women are also ideal candidates, Midwifery care is not restricted to healthy low risk women. Midwives will consult and arrange shared care for women with higher risk pregnancies such as complicated obstetrical history, twins, previous C/S, and hypertension.
Midwives specialize in the care of women throughout pregnancy and birth, and provide care to both mother and newborn for the first six weeks after birth. Clinic appointments are typically 30-60 minutes long. During these visits, women are offered routine health screening, diagnostics investigations and physical assessments with a strong focus on health promotion, education and social support. Midwives have limited prescribing authority to manage minor complications as well as emergencies during labour and birth.
Midwives provide continuous support from the onset of active labour through the birth and the early hours immediately following. When complications arise midwives will consult with family physicians or obstetricians as indicated. Home visits are offered in the first week post birth, and ongoing care continues biweekly until primary care is transferred back to the family physician at 6 weeks postpartum.
Midwives offer choice of birthplace to appropriately screened women.
Most midwifery practices report a 20-30% homebirth rate. There are two midwives at every homebirth. A midwifery homebirth kit includes all necessary emergency medications. List of homebirth supplies
Many low risk women choose to birth in hospital and homebirth is not always recommended for a variety of reasons. In hospital midwives work with perinatal nursing staff who provide the necessary back up.
Midwifery care in BC and in Canada has been evaluated.