Midwives are healthcare practitioners who give care, support and wisdom to women giving birth. Midwives do not have to help the mother actually birth the child, although they often do, but can help the mother decide which option is best for her baby. The most common misconception of having a midwife means birthing naturally, but this is not the case as midwives allow the use of painkillers.
Midwives are not surgeons, and cannot perform cesarean sections, but they are certified for hospital births and home births – something doctors are not. A midwife is trained in four years of University, including attending live births, which gives them the qualifications to make your birth easy and worry free.
Beginning in April of 2009, Midwives are able to prescribe certain drugs, use acupuncture and assist in a Caesarean section delivery. Midwives are a great way for first time mothers to learn about the birthing process and their care extends to six weeks post-partum, giving care before, during and after the birth.
For expectant mothers who want a natural, collaborative approach to childbirth, midwives are an ideal choice. Midwives will provide advice but ultimately guide mothers to the decisions that are best suited to their situations. For many mothers this is much more desirable than the attitude that a care provider automatically knows better than the patient. Another added advantage for mothers whose babies are delivered by midwives, whether at home or in the hospital, is that the midwives will usually come to the home for post-partum care. This gives new mothers a chance to recuperate & bond with their baby without having to jump back into life in the outside world right away.
British Columbia has its own College of Midwives (CMBC) and began to register midwives in 1998. Though the program is successful, their is only about 2 midwifes for every 100,000 people in BC. This means that some women who are looking for a midwife birth or counsel will not be able to find one.
As of last year CMBC could only support ten first year students, but thanks to government funding, the program has been increased to 20:
UBC will receive $1.914 million in one-time funding, and an increase of $833,920 in ongoing operating funding for a phased five-year expansion of the midwifery education program. Credit
The government is also working with the Midwives Association of British Columbia (MABC) to expand access to midwives to more women across the province. This will allow more midwives to support home births – paying for support staff and making the experience safe – which helps to free up beds in the hospital system and lower the cost of delivery.
Gavin Stuart, dean and vice provost of health and dean of the faculty of medicine, welcomes the support of this incredible program by the provincial government, saying:
The faculty of medicine is grateful that the Province has expanded funding for its midwifery program. The doubling of enrollment and the hiring of additional faculty will enable more women and their families, particularly in B.C.’s under-served communities, to obtain expert care before and during their deliveries, and will allow for research to make midwifery even more effective in the future. Credit
Credit, Midwives Association of BC, College of Midwives of British Columbia