Hey Ladies, unsure of what a Midwife is and how they can support your pregnancy? We’ve asked our friend and registered Midwife from Burlington and Area Midwives Lucia D’Amore, to share with us her knowledge of Midwifery care.
Midwives in Canada
Most provinces in Canada have regulated and funded midwifery as a maternity care option for women. Check with your College or Association of Midwives to find out what the structure of midwifery is where you live!
Midwifery in Ontario
Since December 1993, midwives have been covered under legislation that sets out the provisions for many health care professionals in Ontario. All members of Burlington & Area Midwives are registered by the College of Midwives of Ontario, who set the standards and educational requirements. All aspects of midwifery care are publicly funded under the Ontario Ministry of Health.
Adequate prenatal care is required for all women preparing for birth and is a safeguard for your health and your unborn baby. If offers you the opportunity to learn about the changes in your body as your pregnancy advances. Most often care begins with an initial interview approximately 1 hour in length. This allows us time to discuss your plans, and answer any questions you may have. It also provides us with the opportunity to explain some of the specific details about our practice and fully ensure that you understand midwifery care and your role. You are not obliged to choose our services after this visit and may take your time in determining whether midwifery care is right for you. During the next few visits, we will do a general health history, physical exam, and obtain needed lab assessments such as blood values. Most appointments are 30-45 minutes in length. This allows us ample time to discuss any ongoing concerns you may have as well as conduct the clinical provisions such as blood pressure, weight gain, nutritional status, fetal growth and fetal heart rate. If you have seen a family physician or another midwife for part of your prenatal care it is very important that we receive copies of your health records.
Our midwives maintain regular office hours during their clinic days and each full time midwife conducts 1-2 clinics per week. The remainder of the midwife’s time is taken up conducting births, and with pre and postpartum home visits. It is your right under Ontario law to take time off from work to attend prenatal appointments.
Midwives provide total care to women who experience healthy, normal pregnancies. If you develop obstetric problems or have a medical condition, your and your midwife will determine the appropriate source for ongoing care and consultations. The standards set out by the College of Midwives of Ontario include specific conditions of mother and infant for which midwives much seek a medical referral.
Labour and Birth
We attend births in a variety of settings. Currently our midwives have privileges at Joseph Brant Hospital. If you are planning a home birth a list of supplies that you need will be provided. In the last month of your pregnancy we will visit you in your home. This gives us the opportunity to make specific suggestions regarding where you might be most comfortable to labour and/or birth. We also provide care to women wishing to experience water birth.
In our practice we work within a full scope of practice, meaning that as midwives when required we can manage epidurals and inductions of labour. We have good working relationships with the obstetric physicians and nursing staff in our community. When medically necessary we transfer your care to an obstetrician and can provide supportive care. When consulting we work as a collegial team.
During labour, the midwife will monitor labour contractions, check the dilation of the cervix, blood pressure and the fetal heart rate, assist with breathing techniques and positioning, deliver the baby and placenta, suture when necessary, examine the newborn infant, and check all aspects of your condition after the birth. One midwife is with you during active labour and a second midwife will be called as the labour advances. Midwives provide skilled support during labour and make suggestions for pain relief. However, we cannot replace the important support provided by your partner, close friends or other family members.
After the birth, whether in hospital or at home, we will monitor the condition of both you and your baby for the first hours. If you give birth in hospital and all is well you may choose to go home within 3-4 hours or stay in the hospital. The arrangements are flexible are will be organized to meet your needs. We will visit you during the postpartum period to check on you and your baby, answer questions, and assist with infant feeding and baby care. Usually these visits take place on the 1st, 3rd, 5th and between the 7th and 10th day. Thereafter, clinic visits will be arranged as needed. The final visit, most commonly around 6 weeks postpartum, includes a complete physical assessment. A final letter summarizing your pregnancy, birth and postpartum period will be sent to your family doctor at the end of care.
Parent’s Roles and Responsibilities
We believe that you and your family are active participants in your care and we expect that you will be responsible for you and your baby’s health. You should eat a balanced diet, participate in prenatal care and get adequate rest and exercise. We believe that as parents you should acquire knowledge about pregnancy, birth and child care. We are available to answer questions, but cannot be the only source of your learning about the many important aspects of childbearing. You are welcome to borrow books, articles, videos and pamphlets from our lending library. We also welcome contributions of resources that you find particularly useful. We encourage you to bring your questions or concerns to your visits; making a written list is often helpful. In order for us to be effective caregivers, it is important that you keep us informed or problems or situations that may affect your care.
Giving birth with midwives, whether at home or in hospital, means accepting your responsibility as on ongoing decision maker during your care. We can provide you with information about the risks and benefits of procedures and possible complications that may arise, as well as our ability to manage them. We encourage you to have a full and complete discussion with us about these issues.
We have organized ourselves to work in smaller groups of 2 or 3 midwives. Legislation requires two midwives to be present at every birth, therefore, during your pregnancy we alternate your visits between your primary and back-up midwives. The individual midwives bring many years of experience to the practice. We share a respect for childbearing women and the variety of meanings that childbirth has for families. Your midwives will be pleased to discuss their individual education and background with you.
Midwives are available by pager at all times for urgent problems and for labour and birth. All of the midwives and our students use a common answering service that is staffed 24 hours a day. If your question is non-urgent or concerns a clinic appointment please call the office during business hours.
Midwifery is based on you as the primary decision maker. We provide information so that you can make informed choices. We believe in continuity of care and knowing your care provider. We support choice of birth place, either home or hospital and believe in appropriate use of technology.
We hope that this information has helped you to understand our care and to think of additional questions you may have. We urge you to consider this information carefully before making your final decision about choosing midwifery care.
Lucia D’Amore, RM is a founding member and co-director at Burlington & Area Midwives, and a clinical professor (adjunct) at McMaster University. Lucia has been practicing midwifery for over 15 years in the Burlington community. She is an active community member and proud mother of two girls. In her off time she can be found cheering the kids on at the soccer field!
Burlington & Area Midwives was established in 2006, from it’s sister practice Community Midwives of Halton. Burlington & Area Midwives is a large practice of 14 registered midwives, with two locations in the east and west ends of Burlington.
In case you missed it… Lucia sat down with our very own Tanya for a Facebook Live chat to talk all about midwifery care and how to choose a prenatal care giver. Check out the video below!
Today, Tanya is joined by Lucia D'Amore, midwife from Burlington & Area Midwives to talk all about midwifery care and how to choose a prenatal care giver. Join in the conversation to ask Lucia and Tanya your questions about working with a midwife.
Posted by Snuggle Bugz – Canada's Baby Store on Wednesday, November 8, 2017