Frequently Asked Questions
What is a Midwife?
Is Midwifery care regulated?
Midwives are registered with and regulated by the College of Midwives of British Columbia according to the BC Health Professions Act, the Midwives Regulation and the CMBC Bylaws. Midwives have been regulated and legally recognized as autonomous health care practitioners in BC since 1998.
How much does Midwifery care cost?
Can I see a Doctor and a Midwife?
The BC Medical Services Plan covers only one primary care provider for the duration of your pregnancy and birth, to six weeks postpartum for healthy pregnancies. The choice of caregiver during your pregnancy is up to you. Midwives are experts in healthy pregnancy and normal birth and consult with Family Physicians and other specialists such as Obstetricians as the need arises. At six weeks post-partum, when your midwifery care is completed, you will be transferred back to your family physician who will resume responsibility for the health of you and your new baby. Families who do not have a family doctor are responsible for making arrangements for their ongoing primary care. Your midwife can provide you with more information on Finding a Physician for your Family.
Do I need a referral?
No referral is required. Simply fill in an intake form!
Can midwives prescribe? Order bloodwork and ultrasounds?
Midwives offer a complete panel of prenatal laboratory tests, genetic screening and diagnostic options, ultrasound imaging, and many other tests and procedures for clients and newborns. A midwife's scope of practice includes the use of many medications that may be indicated in pregnancy, during birth, including emergency situations or pain medication, and for mom or baby postpartum. If medication or testing is required outside of this scope of practice, midwives consult with and refer to physicians as indicated for more specialized care.
Can I choose where I can give birth?
Midwives offer the choice of birthplace to healthy, low risk clients based on the principles of informed decision making. On average, 70% of births attended by midwives occur in hospitals. This number varies by practice and community. You can read a large study on homebirth in British Columbia , as complied by the American College of Nurse Midwives or An annotated guide to the available home birth literature as compiled by the Division of Midwifery, UBC.
Can I have pain relief in labour?
Midwives offer a range of natural and pharmaceutical pain relief options, including access to epidurals. It is paramount in midwifery care that clients have access to the information necessary to make informed decisions about the use of pain relief options. These options are discussed during prenatal visits as well as during prenatal classes should you choose to attend classes in your community.
Can I transfer into Midwifery care partway through my pregnancy?
Yes, it is possible to transfer care at any time in pregnancy, providing we have space available.
What happens if I need a C-Section?
Choosing a midwife as your primary care provider in BC lowers your chance of having a cesarean section, however in certain circumstances a cesarean birth may be recommended as a safer option than vaginal birth. In most situations midwives are involved in the decision making process whether in labour or prenatally, and will usually be present during cesarean births and for healthy baby care afterwards. Clients remain in hospital longer after a cesarean section birth, therefore midwives visit clients and their babies in hospital until they have returned home. Click here to read more about birth by C-Section.
What is the difference between a Midwife and a Doula?
Doulas do not provide medical care and do not deliver babies. Midwives are trained to provide all the necessary medical care and to monitor the health and well-being of you and your baby. Doulas work as a part of the team, with a midwife or doctor and nurse. Doulas provide continuous emotional and physical support to the laboring woman and her partner, and are a positive addition to the birth team for couples who want extra support. For more information about doulas, please see the Doulas of North America Website or the BC Doula Services Association.
What if there are complications during my pregnancy?
During your initial visit, the midwives should be able to give you an idea of whether or not the care you need is covered by their scope of practice. Should complications arise while in a midwife's care at any time, the College of Midwives of BC's guideline will help inform the decision to consult with or transfer care to the appropriate physician or specialist.