What do midwives do?

Midwives provide primary care to women throughout their low-risk pregnancy, labour and birth, and provide care to both mother and baby during the first six weeks following the birth.

What kind of training do midwives have?

Midwives qualify for registration either by graduating from the Ontario Midwifery Education Program, which is a 4-year degree program that credentials graduates with a Bachelor of Health Science in Midwifery, or by successfully completing the International Midwifery Pre-registration Program, which is offered through the continuing education division at Ryerson University.

Can I have a midwife and a doctor?

No. Midwives, family physicians, and obstetricians are all considered primary caregivers, each capable of having sole responsibility for your care. So women can either have a midwife or a physician for their pregnancy, birth or newborn care, but not both. Having two care providers is viewed as a duplication of health care services.

What kind of diagnostic tests can a midwife order?

Midwives can order all the same laboratory tests, ultrasounds, and genetic screening tests related to pregnancy as any physician. Midwives are also able to prescribe some medications that are commonly indicated for conditions occurring in pregnancy and birth. For example, midwives can prescribe anti-nauseates for early pregnancy, and several drugs that can stop bleeding for use after the birth.

What happens if something goes wrong?

Midwives are trained extensively in what is normal in pregnancy and birth, and to recognize what is not. Dealing with obstetrical emergencies is part of our comprehensive training, and is reviewed frequently as mandated by our College. Our scope of practice is outlined in the College of Midwives document called “Indications for Mandatory Discussion, Consultations, and Transfers of Care”, and we are guided by this document as to when to consult with our physician colleagues. Depending on the seriousness or urgency of the problem, midwives will at times refer women or infants to either their family physician or to a specialist obstetrician or pediatrician.

How long do I see the midwife after the baby is born?

Midwives continue to provide care to women and their babies for 6 weeks following the birth. At the final visit, a summary letter will be prepared for your family doctor and/or specialist who will be taking over care of you and your baby. It will provide detailed information on the progress of baby’s growth since birth, comment on feeding patterns, developmental milestones, and share test results. The last visit is also a time to review contraception and provide well woman care

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