May 5 is International Day of the Midwife – a day to celebrate midwives in Ottawa, across the country, and around the world! At National Capital Doulas, we work alongside midwives, OBs and family doctors because we work with the care providers our clients choose.
In Ontario, midwives are the primary care providers for women during low risk pregnancies and the first 6 weeks postpartum. Additionally, they care for newborn babies for the first 6 weeks of life. What this means is that a pregnant woman can have a midwife as her primary care provider during her pregnancy OR an obstetrician OR a family doctor who delivers babies. Her pregnancy must be considered low risk to have a midwife and it is her responsibility to find a midwife.
There is a big demand for midwives, who can only take so many clients every month, so a lot of women will tell their friends and coworkers to call the midwifery clinics as soon as they find out they’re expecting. The Ottawa groups all maintain a waiting list if they do not currently have space. Spaces open up if clients deliver early or become high risk and need to be followed by an Obstetrician.
There are multiple clinics across Ottawa. Each group has a catchment area – an area that they serve – as well as a hospital where they have privileges.
If you are planning to give birth at home or at the Birth Center, you need a midwife.
We’d like to answer some of the commonly asked questions and shine some light on the midwifery profession.
Midwives are covered under OHIP in Ontario just like an OB or family doctor is. Women can have one primary care provider during pregnancy.
No, midwives attend births at client’s homes, at the Ottawa Birth Center and some Ottawa hospitals. Each clinic has privileges so if you’d really like to have your baby at a specific hospital, take that into consideration when choosing which group to call.
This is entirely up to you but we will point out that midwives are your and your baby’s primary care provider and are chiefly concerned with your and your baby’s health. They do all the medical things like monitoring your vitals (blood pressure and temperature for example) and baby’s heart rate. Doulas are primarily focused on you. Doulas and midwives work well together to provide physical and emotional support. A lot of women have both a midwife and a doula on their care team.
Midwives offer woman-centered care to their clients. For women with low risk pregnancies, this approach may be appealing. Having the choice of birthing outside the hospital (at home or the birth center).
Midwifery care is one of the options available to birthing families. We love options! A big thank you to all the wonderful midwives who live and work in Ottawa. Happy International Day of the Midwives!