In a nutshell your midwife:
- Is a member of the College of Midwives of BC
- Is a member of the Midwives Association of BC
- Practices midwifery according to the Standards of Practice of the College of Midwives of BC
- Provides learning opportunities for UBC midwifery students
- Has admitting privileges at your local hospital (the new Comox Valley Hospital in Courtenay)
- Orders lab tests and ultrasounds as necessary
- Prescribes and administers pharmaceuticals appropriate to your care and the College of Midwives of BC Standards.
- Collaboration with physicians and other health care professionals
- Assists clients in accessing appropriate community resources.
- Provides you with a call system in which there is always a midwife available for you to page with your urgent concerns 24 hours a day 7 days a week.
What can you expect from us as your midwives?
Midwives are guardians of normal birth. A registered midwife is specialized in normal pregnancy and childbirth. We view birth as a holistic experience– addressing prenatal, birth and postpartum care on a physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual level.
Your prenatal appointments are scheduled every 4 to 5 weeks until you’re 28 weeks pregnant, then every 2-3 weeks until 36 weeks. At 36 weeks, your appointments will be every 1-2 weeks until the birth of your baby. Each visit is part education, part discussion and part physical assessment.
Education is paramount to midwifery in that it is incorporated in one of the major tenets of the profession: Informed choice. What this means is that not only are you and your family the primary decision makers in your care, but that it’s our job to facilitate that through our partnership with you. By sharing the most recent research with you, informing you of the community and our College standards and finally offering our clinical insights, we can help you make decisions that are meaningful to you.
The discussion aspect of the appointment is that we allow time to answer your questions and concerns. Furthermore because birth is a holistic experience affecting multiple layers of your life we like to know what’s going on in your life. We’re trained to recognize potential and actual clinical problems and will take great care in discussing any with you before referring you to the appropriate consulting physician (usually an obstetrician) as mandated by the College of Midwives of British Columbia.
The physical assessment in each visit includes blood pressure, listening to your baby’s heartbeat, measuring it’s growth, testing your urine and can include weight checks as well. You can expect to be offered all the routine blood tests and ultrasounds along with an informed choice discussion of each.
Birth is a powerful, unique and precious event in the life of a woman and her family. We offer comprehensive care to help you transition through this normal physiological event. You can expect us to be with you from the onset of active labor, to catch (you deliver the baby) your baby, and to be with you for at least two hours following the delivery as we help you with breastfeeding and do our initial assessments
We offer care in the home or hospital setting. We will support your choice of birth place through ongoing discussions and reading material given prenatally. Whether you choose the hospital setting or a home birth we want you to make a decision based on information and comfort and not fear. Current research consistently concludes that planned homebirth, attended by a qualified caregiver, is as safe as a hospital setting for healthy clients with healthy pregnancies.
During your labor you can expect us to: listen to your baby’s heart rate, take your vital signs and do vaginal exams to access the progress of your labour. We will support you through massage, kind words of encouragement, position changes, use of water, and other complementary therapies that you’re comfortable with. We will be managing your care and will be informing you on an ongoing basis of our care plan for you. You can expect to have your baby put onto your chest immediately after birth and to have uninterrupted time with him or her for breastfeeding and bonding.
Should the unlikely event of a problem arise we will act immediately through our own clinical skills and by consulting the appropriate health care professional as deemed by the College of Midwives of BC.
The birth is over and now the real adventure begins. We recognize the immediate postpartum to be a beautiful, stressful and exciting time in a family’s life. Therefore we offer home visits for the first week after your baby is born. You can expect us every other day or as needed starting from day one until day seven. We are available to you through our pagers 24 hours a day 7 days a week to go over parenting concerns and issues to do with your newborns health. Following the first week you’ll visit us in the clinic at 2 weeks, 4 weeks and 6 weeks, when you’ll be discharged from care.
During these visits you can expect assessments of the physical wellness of yourself and your baby as well as breastfeeding help, emotional support and opportunities to share some of your parenting questions and concerns.
How is Midwifery Paid for?
Midwifery Care is covered under BC Medical insurance. This is the insurance that is provided with your BC Care card. Please bring your Care Card to your first appointment as we will need your personal health number.