Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Do I have to pay for midwifery care?
The Ministry of Health pays for the services of Registered Midwives in BC. Midwifery services, as well as blood work, ultrasounds and home and hospital birth, are covered under the BC Medical Services Plan. If you do not have a BC health card, talk to your midwife about the cost of services.

Is midwifery legal in BC?
Yes it is. Midwifery has been regulated through the Health Professions Act by the College of Midwives of British Columbia (CMBC) since 1998. The title “midwife” is protected and its use by anyone other than a Registered Midwife is illegal. Midwifery services are available to women throughout Canada, with the exception of PEI, Nunavut and the Yukon.

How do I know if midwifery care is right for me?
Midwives are specialists in low risk pregnancy, labour and birth. If you are pregnant, contact a midwife near you to arrange for an information session to learn about midwifery services. There are many additional sources of information about midwifery care, including the Midwives Association of BC and the College of Midwives of BC.

Do I need a midwife AND a doctor?
The Medical Services Plan will cover one primary care provider for the duration of your pregnancy and birth, and up to six weeks postpartum. The choice of caregiver during your pregnancy is up to you. Midwives are experts in healthy pregnancy, normal birth, well mothers and well babies. Midwives will consult with obstetricians, pediatricians, anesthesiologists or other specialists should the need arise. You are welcome to see your family physician or nurse practitioner at any time for non-pregnancy related issues. About six weeks post-partum, your care is transferred back to your family physician or nurse practitioner, who will resume responsibility for the health of you and your new baby.

Where do midwives work?
Most of your prenatal visits will take place in a clinic; however, prenatal home visits may be scheduled depending on your needs. Home visits are also done for early labor assessment, to attend to a woman who is choosing to labour at home before moving to a hospital and, of course, for women choosing to deliver at home.
The model of midwifery care in BC supports midwives to support women wherever they want to deliver their babies. Women under the care of midwives may choose to deliver either in hospital or at home. Your midwife will discuss place of birth with you during your visits with her.

Following your delivery, midwives provide excellent postpartum support and care through hospital and home visits in the first weeks following the birth. Subsequent visits take place at the clinic. At approximately six weeks postpartum, your and your baby’s care will be transferred back to your family physician or nurse practitioner. If you do not have a primary care provider, we will help you to find one.

Where do midwives obtain their education?
Most registered midwives in BC have been trained through a university-based midwifery degree program, such as those offered at the University of British Columbia, McMaster University and Mount Royal University. Some midwives received their education internationally and have had their credentials recognized through the Multijurisdictional Midwifery Bridging Program (MMBP) of the College of Midwives of BC (CMBC). Some midwives have been trained through an apprentice-style program. They too have had their training reviewed and approved by the CMBC. All registered midwives in BC are required to have, and maintain, a valid license to practice midwifery through the CMBC.

How often will I have appointments with a midwife?
Midwifery visits vary between practice groups; however, they often 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, most women will see their midwife every two to three weeks, and weekly from 36 weeks to the birth. Visits are usually 30-60 minutes long, allowing time for informed decision making, review of your physical and emotional well-being and assessment of your baby’s growth and development. Midwives are available on-call, 24 hours a day, and may be paged between visits with urgent concerns.

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