Registered midwives are health professionals who provide primary care
to women and their babies during pregnancy, labour, birth and the postpartum
period. As primary care providers, midwives may be the first point of entry to
maternity services, and are fully responsible for clinical decisions and the management of care within their scope of practice.
Midwives provide the complete course of low-risk prenatal, intrapartum and postnatal care, including physical examinations, screening and diagnostic tests, the assessment of risk and abnormal conditions, and the conduct of normal vaginal deliveries. Midwives work in collaboration with other health professionals and consult with or refer to medical specialists as appropriate. The midwifery model of care promotes normal birth, enables women to make informed choices, and provides continuity of care and support throughout the childbearing experience. Midwives attend births in hospitals, birth centres and at home. (Information taken from the CAM website)
Women are seen by midwives for all their prenatal visits.
Midwives can order laboratory and ultrasound testing and will arrange
for consultation and/or transfer of care to other health care providers
if necessary. Midwives provide primary care during labour and conduct normal
births on their own responsibility. They examine the newborn and provide care
for mothers and babies to six weeks postpartum. They can also prescribe and/or
administer certain drugs during pregnancy, labour, birth, and the postpartum period.
Midwives in Ontario are able to seek hospital privileges to admit and discharge their clients on their own responsibility. Midwives are not employees of the hospital. They are on-call for their clients, whether the birth is planned for home or hospital. While in hospital, midwives act as primary care providers for their clients. Midwives are responsible for the provision of care, decision-making, and the monitoring and management of labour, delivery, postpartum, and newborn care.
Midwives are specialist in normal birth. The preventative, continuous and personalized
care of midwives can result in fewer complications during childbirth and less incidence
of technological intervention. Midwives view pregnancy and birth as a normal event.
Midwives set aside time in prenatal visits to discuss client's concerns and questions, and to provide information to assist the woman in making decisions during her pregnancy. We call this informed choice.
Midwives are educated to detect and respond to risk factors, informing the woman and respecting the woman as the primary decision maker.
Midwifery care is accessible to all women. The Ministry of Health covers funding for full midwifery services. This means that midwifery consumers are not required to pay for their care.