Facts About Midwives – FAQ

Do I have to pay for a midwife?

No. Midwives have been covered by the Ontario Ministry of Health since 1994. While it is true that a generation ago, women paid midwives from their own pockets, any woman who is a resident of Ontario is now eligible for free midwifery care.

Do I need a referral from my doctor?

No. Once you know you are pregnant, you can refer yourself to a midwife. To get started, simply fill out our online form or call the office if you have any questions.

Do I still see my doctor if I have a midwife?

Midwives ensure that you get all of the care you need during your pregnancy. You will have regular prenatal appointments with your midwife and will not see doctors unless your midwife has a concern.

However, you should still see doctors for health concerns that are not related to your pregnancy and you should continue to receive regular dental checkups. It is important to tell all of your care providers that you are pregnant.

Does having a midwife mean I need to have a home birth?

No. Midwives deliver babies in both home and hospital settings. We encourage all of our clients to look at the research on home and hospital births and decide what is right for you. Midwives are also experts in helping you create a birth plan that is right for you and your baby, whether it is in a home or hospital setting.

About 75% of our clients deliver their babies at Grand River Hospital in Kitchener. We have privileges there which means that we can admit a woman in labour, take care of her during the birth, take care of her and her baby immediately after and send the mother and baby home. We can do all of this without doctors or nurses, unless there is a medical reason we ask for their assistance.

About 25% of our clients deliver their babies at home. Midwives have all of the necessary skills, equipment and medications to manage care for your birth and your new baby at home. This is a safe and research based option for healthy women with healthy pregnancies.

Can I still get an epidural in labour if I have a midwife?

Yes. Although it is possible to get an epidural, women who request a midwife generally are interested in natural childbirth.

Undeniably, women work hard during labour. Most women, especially those expecting their first baby, are anxious about what labour will feel like and if they will be able to cope. We encourage women to cope with a variety of techniques including positioning, mobility, mental distraction, breathing techniques, being in the bath and encouragement.

However, if you need an epidural, you can have one. At Grand River Hospital, we must transfer care to the obstetrician on call when a woman has an epidural. A nurse will then be assigned to care for the mother and the obstetrician will deliver the baby. Your midwife will remain with you in a supportive role during labour and will be responsible for the baby’s care once he is born.

What happens if there is an emergency during the birth?

Midwives are trained for all obstetric emergencies, including neonatal resuscitation and CPR. For home births, midwives carry resuscitation equipment, oxygen, suction, IV equipment and medications. Although emergencies are very rare, we are trained to respond to them and we work with other health care providers to get the appropriate care for mother and baby. If you have specific questions, your midwives will be happy to answer them during your visits.

What if I need stitches?

Midwives are trained and competent in repairing tears and episiotomies. We also carry all necessary equipment to do such repairs at home if you choose to give birth there.

Some people say that I should have a doctor for this pregnancy because…they are safer or… this is my first baby or… I am going to be a single mom or… I am older than 35 or… I had a miscarriage last year… or I’m too far along in my pregnancy and they never have room…

We have heard all of these reasons, and many more. If you want a midwife, you can fill out our application form and we will see if midwifery care is a suitable option for you.

Midwives are trained to identify conditions that require pregnant women to see specialists, and we make appropriate referrals. When a pregnancy is more complicated and involves specialists, many midwifery clients appreciate that they are receiving great care from a doctor, and they also have their midwife for support.

Many people find that the relationship they develop with their midwife is very reassuring. During your regular prenatal appointments, your midwife will answer your questions and spend time talking with you about your thoughts and wishes. In addition, midwives come to your home for the first week after your baby is born. Many women are reassured to have regular visits from their midwife when first caring for their newborn and there is always a midwife available for urgent concerns.

How are Registered Midwives trained and regulated?

The Ontario Midwifery Education Program is a four year honours bachelor degree which includes both strong academic and clinical foundations. Midwives who have been trained in other countries are assessed and tested to prove that they meet Ontario standards before they are allowed to practice. “Registered Midwife” is a title protected by the College of Midwives of Ontario to protect consumer safety and maintain standards of care. A person using the title is registered and in good standing with the College.

How do I get a midwife?

If you are interested in midwifery care, please fill out an application or email or call us if you have any questions. We take as many clients as we can safely provide care for. Genesis Midwives is a growing practice and as more midwives join us, we offer more pregnant women midwifery care. Even if we do not have a spot available immediately, we may have one for you soon.