Frequently asked questions
What is midwifery care?
Midwifery care is community-based primary maternity care. It is evidence based, holistic and family centered and includes informed choice, continuity of care, choice of birth setting, and collaborating closely with the rest of the medical community. Registered midwives can order and interpret screening and diagnostic tests (like ultrasounds, blood work and genetic screening), perform pap smears and prescribe and administer many of the commonly used drugs for maternity and newborn care.
What is a registered midwife?
In BC, registered midwives are specialists in providing primary care for low risk, healthy women during their pregnancy, labour, birth, first 6 weeks post partum, and their healthy newborns. Registered midwives are governed according to the Midwives Regulation of the Health Professions Act by the College of Midwives of British Columbia (CMBC), an organization whose role it is to protect the public’s interest as it relates to midwifery care in BC. The CMBC creates policies and guidelines for midwifery care and sets high educational standards for training and experience. Registered midwives maintain certification in neonatal resuscitation, emergency obstetrical skills and CPR.
How much does it cost to have a midwife?
In British Columbia, the BC Medical Services Plan covers the costs of Registered Midwives. Simply bring your BC CareCard to your first appointment. If you do not have a BC CardCard, private arrangements can be made.
What is the difference between a doula and a midwife?
Although both doulas and midwives provide education, emotional support and coping strategies during labour for women and their families, there are many important differences. Registered midwives are often graduates from an accredited university program and hold a Bachelor of Midwifery degree. Doulas are typically trained in a weekend course, do not provide medical care and do not catch babies. Many women choosing midwifery care also choose to have a doula.
DONA International provides the following description of the doula:
“The word "doula" comes from the ancient Greek meaning "a woman who serves" and is now used to refer to a trained and experienced professional who provides continuous physical, emotional and informational support to the mother before, during and just after birth; or who provides emotional and practical support during the postpartum period.
Studies have shown that when doulas attend birth, labors are shorter with fewer complications, babies are healthier and they breastfeed more easily.”
The College of Midwives of British Columbia uses the International Definition of a Midwife.
“The midwife is recognized as a responsible and accountable professional who works in partnership with women to give the necessary support, care and advice during pregnancy, labour and the postpartum period, to conduct births on the midwife’s own responsibility and to provide care for the newborn and the infant. This care includes preventative measures, the promotion of normal birth, the detection of complications in the mother and child, the accessing of medical care or other appropriate assistance when necessary and the carrying out of emergency measure when necessary.”
How many midwives would look after me?
Grove Midwifery Care is a team of four registered midwives. During your prenatal visits, you will get to know each of these midwives. When you go into labour, whichever midwife is on call will provide your care. During your pregnancy, labour and postpartum period, the Grove Midwives are available for you in clinic or via pager 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
What if I want pain medications?
One of the cornerstones of midwifery care is respect for the choices women and their families make during the months of pregnancy, labour, birth and postpartum. Before labour, there will be a full discussion of comfort measures (such as movement, position change, warm baths and showers, massage, visualization etc.) and pain management strategies (including use of nitrous oxide, narcotics and epidurals). These discussions will include how each of these choices has advantages and disadvantages, risks and benefits. The Grove midwives understand that each woman will labour in her own unique way and will make the best choices for herself and her family.
What if there is an emergency during my birth and I need a caesarean section?
Registered midwives work with all members of the obstetrical team, including nurses, obstetricians, anaesthetists, perinatologists and paediatricians. During the prenatal period, labour, birth and postpartum, registered midwives are trained to recognize when the health and well being of the women or child moves outside of normal. When this happens, the Grove midwives will consult with the appropriate specialist. In the case of a necessary caesarean section, care of the woman is temporarily transferred to an obstetrician for the surgery and recovery period, after which care is typically transferred back to your midwife. Care for the baby remains with your midwife.
If I have a midwife, can I have my baby in the hospital?
Yes, you can choose to have your baby in the hospital. Grove midwives have privileges at Langley Memorial Hospital. We also offer the choice of having your baby in your home.
Is midwifery care safe?
Yes, midwifery care is a safe choice for healthy, low-risk women. In studies which compare midwife care with physician led care, researchers have found that midwifery clients have experienced lower rates of forceps, vacuum extractions, caesarean sections, episiotomies, infections and babies born requiring resuscitation.
Can I have a doctor and a midwife?
In BC, the Medical Services Plan normally only pays for one primary care provider: a midwife, family doctor or obstetrician, during the course of your pregnancy, labour, birth and first six weeks postpartum. Each woman chooses the type of care provider she wants. Registered midwives are specialists in normal, healthy pregnancies and births, are trained in recognizing when events move outside of normal and consult regularly with appropriate specialists. After the first six weeks postpartum, care for the woman and her child is transferred back to the family physician and all medical records are forwarded. If a woman has a non-pregnancy related concern, she is encouraged to see an appropriate medical specialist.