Canadian Association of Midwives

November 09, 2005 13:53 ET


14 Governments Need to Provide Certainty, Consistency and Coordination Attention: Health/Medical Editor, Lifestyle Editor, News Editor, Government/Political Affairs Editor HALIFAX, NOVA SCOTIA--(CCNMatthews - Nov. 9, 2005) - Canada's 500 midwives are poised to help address Canada's burgeoning obstetrical care crisis, according to the president of the national organization representing them.

However, if expectant mothers and their families are to benefit fully from midwives' potential, Canada's 14 senior levels of government must coordinate the recognition, regulation and public funding of the profession, Kelly Klick, president of Canadian Association of Midwives (CAM), told the midwives' annual national convention today in her welcoming address.

"Over the past 10 years or more, Canada has suffered an ongoing, continual and significant decline in the number of family doctors and obstetricians offering maternity care," Ms. Klick said. "Everyone knows that there is an obstetrical care crisis looming ever larger in this country and it is clear that the federal, provincial and territorial governments are looking at midwifery to help address it. As a profession, midwives are in a position where we can offer more care to more women enjoying normal, uncomplicated pregnancies and births, leaving general practitioners and obstetricians free to care for more complicated pregnancies, but the governments have to play their parts, too.

"Midwives work right across Canada; if pregnant women and their families are to enjoy fully the benefits of midwifery, we need governments at all levels to ensure that the profession is recognized, regulated, integrated and publicly funded similarly in all jurisdictions. Each provincial and territorial government must foster and grow midwifery to meet their own needs, conditions and circumstances while at the same time providing midwives with professional consistency and certainty across the country."

The CAM president called on all 14 governments to coordinate their midwifery programs to ensure equitable access to midwifery to women in all provinces and territories and the profession's portability.

The CAM is meeting in Halifax November 9,10 and 11 to explore collaborative models of care among themselves, doctors, nurses and other maternity care providers. They are also looking at ways to overcome obstacles to sustainability and integration.

The needs of the mother and her baby are at the centre of the midwifery model of care. Midwives provide comprehensive maternity care to women having low risk pregnancies, based on the recognition that pregnancy is a natural, healthy process. Midwives build a trust relationship with their clients, work with them to make informed choices about their care, and are accessible around-the-clock. Women value the relationship they build with their midwife, which allows the midwife to provide individualized and responsive care.

Most of the care that midwives provide is in the community, creating significant savings for the health care system. This results in a high rate of client satisfaction, and significantly reduces the demand for hospital services. By being on-call around-the-clock for their clients, midwives reduce emergency room visits. As well, on average, one in four clients give birth at home. For women who give birth in hospital, recent studies shows that midwifery results in shorter hospital stays including significantly higher early hospital discharge rates, lower re-admission rates, and a lower obstetrical intervention rate for procedures such as Caesarian-sections. Investing in midwifery is the most practical way to ensure that expectant mothers and babies get the quality care they need in their own communities.

The Canadian Association of Midwives is the national organization representing midwives and the profession of midwifery in Canada. Our role is to unite, promote, support and strengthen the profession of midwifery.
/For further information: Elana Johnson, CAM, 519-857-5694/ IN: HEALTH, POLITICS

Contact Information

  • Elana Johnson, Canadian Association of Midwives
    Primary Phone: 519-857-5694