WHAT IS A MIDWIFE?
Midwives are experts in healthy pregnancy and birth.
In BC, registered midwives offer primary maternity care to healthy pregnant clients and their newborn babies from early pregnancy, through labour and birth, until about six weeks following delivery. They practice evidence-based, client-centered maternity and newborn care and are an established part of the BC health care system.
Midwives listen, observe, educate, guide and care. They order and interpret tests and screen for physical, psychological, emotional and social health. They are with clients during pregnancy, labour and birth, normal and complicated. They catch babies. They do home visits after the baby is born. They help with breastfeeding and adjusting to life with a new baby. They work together and with other health professionals.
DO I NEED A REFERRAL FROM MY DOCTOR TO SEE A MIDWIFE?
No referral is required.
ARE MIDWIFERY SERVICES REGULATED?
Yes. Midwives are registered with and regulated by the College of Midwives of British Columbia (CMBC) according to the BC Health Professions Act, the Midwives Regulation and the CMBC Bylaws. Midwives have been regulated and legally recognized as autonomous health care practitioners in BC since 1998.
ARE THE COSTS OF MIDWIFERY SERVICES COVERED IN BC?
Yes, the BC Ministry of Health covers the cost of midwifery services for all BC residents with a valid Carecard or BC Services Card through the BC Medical Services Plan (MSP).
CAN I HAVE A DOCTOR AND A MIDWIFE?
The BC Medical Services Plan covers only one primary care provider for the duration of your pregnancy and birth, to six weeks following delivery for healthy pregnancies. The choice of caregiver during your pregnancy is up to you.
Midwives are experts in healthy pregnancy and normal birth and consult with family doctors and other specialists such as obstetricians as the need arises. Six weeks after delivery, when your midwifery care is completed, you will be transferred back to your family doctor who will resume responsibility for the health of you and your new baby. Families who do not have a family doctor are responsible for making arrangements for their ongoing primary care. Your midwife can provide you with more information on finding a doctor for your family.
HOW OFTEN DO I SEE A MIDWIFE?
Most visits in the first part of pregnancy are scheduled every 5 to 6 weeks and last between 30-40 minutes. In the third trimester visits are scheduled more frequently and are often every week during the last month of pregnancy. Longer visits allow for physical, emotional and social health assessments and allow time for informed decision making.
After your baby is born, visits usually take place wherever the new family resides. This may be in the hospital after a hospital birth or at home. After the first week or two, visits are scheduled in the clinic and continue for six weeks when your care is transferred back to your family doctor. Between visits, midwives provide 24/7 call coverage for urgent care or concerns.