Good News for the Midwifery Community

By Kyla Miller, R.H.N.;

There was some good news announced for Canada's midwifery community yesterday. Premier Dalton McGuinty announced the Ontario government’s commitment to launch two pilot stand-alone birth centres. Birth centres are small maternity units which are staffed and, in most cases, run by midwives. They offer a homely rather than clinical environment. They are good at supporting women who want a birth with no or few medical interventions.

It has been over 20 years since midwives were licensed to practice. However, since then Ontario’s health system has been slow to provide appropriate facilities for them. For example, in Ottawa, Canada, hospital privileges were hard to come by for midwives, which meant that many woman who wanted a midwife-assisted birth in a hospital, were unable to have one.

This latest announcement is great news for Ontario and the entire midwifery community. The more birthing centres that are launched, the greater recognition midwives will receive and the more natural births will be recognized. These centres provide mothers with options when choosing their preferred method of birthing. Sadly, there are currently an estimated 40 percent of women in the province who want a midwife but are unable to find one because hospital privileges are so limited -an issue that will no doubt improve once these centres are in place.

It is not clear yet where these birth centres will be located, but Ottawa will no doubt be considered. Midwifery has long been a popular option in Ottawa and most midwifery practices have a long waiting list.

Midwives who have lobbied for the province to begin opening such centres, have estimated that one centre could handle 600 births in its birthing rooms and another 250 births at home every year.

These facilities would take tremendous pressure, both financially and logistically, off the Ontario hospitals since childbirth is the number one reason women are admitted.

Of even greater benefit is the health of the mother and baby. Birthing centres promote straightforward vaginal births and will most likely reduce skyrocketing C-section rates. Infants will not be exposed to “super bugs” present in most hospitals. Mother and baby will receive specialized attention and care and will be welcomed into a warm and more relaxing environment. Mothers will be able to manage their labor and birth without the need for strong pain relief. All in all, a birthing experience in one of these centres will hopefully provide a more magical experience between mother and child rather than a traumatic one.

Because birth can be unpredictable, these birthing centres are usually within easy access to a hospital. For those mother’s who are fearful of something going wrong, having a birthing centre in close range to a hospital will hopefully give them some peace of mind.

We wanted to say congratulations to the midwifery community for all their hard work and diligence while lobbing for stand-alone birthing centres. This announcement by the Ontario government is a step in the right direction and will hopefully lead to more stand-alone birthing centres everywhere.

Your questions: If a birthing centre was available to you, would you use it? Would you consider a home birth? (post your comments below)


About the Author : Kyla Miller is the co-founder of She has overcome illness through dietary/lifestyle changes, and practicing a positive mindset daily. Kyla is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist and is currently studying to become a Reiki Master.


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