Is midwifery care safe?

There is a large body of evidence that supports midwifery care as a safe choice for low-risk healthy women. In fact, researchers found that women and babies did better on average in countries where midwifery was the normal care.

FACT: Midwifery clients experienced lower rates of forceps, vacuum extractions, cesarean sections, episiotomies, infections and babies born requiring resuscitation, in studies where midwifery was compared to physician led care.

Is midwifery care legal?

Yes, midwives have been regulated in the province of Alberta since 1998, and are currently regulated through the College of Midwives of Alberta.  The title "Midwife" is a protected title in Alberta and its use by anyone other than a Regsitered Midwife is illegal. Currently there are approximately 80 Registered Midwives in the province.  For a complete listing see the College of Midwives of Alberta website. 

Do I have to pay for midwifery care?

No. As of April 1, 2009 midwifery care in Alberta is fully funded by Alberta Health Services.

If I have a Midwife, do I need a Doctor as well?

No.  Midwives are experts in healthy pregnancy, normal births, and well babies.  Midwives will consult with Family Physicians, Obstetricians, Pediatricians, or other specialists should the need arise.  About six weeks post-partum, your care will be transferred back to your Family Physician who will resume responsibility for the health of you and your new baby.

What is the working relationship between Midwives and Obstetricians?

Midwives consult with Obstetricicans if a situation arises during pregnancy that falls outside of the Midwife's scope of practice. Midwives have clear indications for consulation and/or transfer of care as set out by College of Midwives of Alberta.  Cochrane Community Midwives maintains very good working relationships with the Obstetricians in the city of Calgary.

What experience and training to Midwives have?

All Registered Midwives in Alberta have earned the equivalent of a Bachelor degree in Midwifery.  They have demonstrated a high level of competency as required by the College of Midwives of Alberta through rigorous clinical, oral, and written examinations.  Registered Midwives are also required to maintain their skills through yearly recertifications.

Can I have a midwife if I plan to give birth in a hospital?

Yes. Midwives support a woman's right to choose place of birth and offer women the choice of home, birth centre, or hospital birth. All Registered Midwives maintain hospital privileges so they can provide comprehnsive care in all settings.

Will I have access to the same tests and prescriptions that I would have had with a Doctor?

Midwives can order all lab, ultrasound, and diagnostic testing as well as prescriptions medications that are relevant to pregnancy and post partum.

Does having a midwife mean I can't have an epidural?

Midwives have a low intervention style of care. This is based on our belief, supported by research, that the physiological process of birth works best without interference. For example, midwives use natural alternatives such as water, position changes and continuous labour support to help cope with pain in labour as opposed to the routine use of drugs and birth technology. Although sometimes necessary, epidurals, drugs, and other medical technology are regarded by midwives as tools rather than routine interventions. 

How often do I see my midwife?

Usually visits begin when pregnancy is confirmed and end when the baby is six weeks of age. Visits every three to five weeks for the first and second trimester are typical. By 30 weeks gestation we begin visiting with our clients every two to three weeks and weekly after 36 weeks until the birth. Visits are usually 20 to 60 minutes long, allowing the midwives to assess your physical health, allow time for informed decision making, and to determine how well you are doing emotionally and psychologically. Between visits there is a midwife on call 24 hours a day that you may telephone with concerns. In the post-partum period, 2-3 visits are conducted in your home for the first week following the birth. Subsequent visits take place at our clinic until care is transferred back to your family physician, around six weeks after your baby arrives.

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 necessary medical care and ensure the health and well-being of you and your baby. Doulas work as a part of the team, with a midwife, doctor and nurse. Doulas provide continuous emotional and physical support to the labouring woman and her partner, and are a positive addition to the birth team for those couples who desire extra support. For more information about doulas, contact the Calgary Doula Association.

How do I Become a Client?

If you are interested in the services offered by Cochrane Community Midwives (new or repeat clients), please click here to fill out our client intake form. You will be contacted shortly to welcome you to our care (subject to availability) or placed on a waiting list.