March 5, 2011

011 Midwifery [11 May 2009]

Yesterday was Mother's Day so midwifery seemed an appropriate topic this week. The Midwife Act of Saskatchewan was proclaimed into law a year ago in March 2008 providing for funding of midwifery services by provincial health insurance. So far all Saskatchewan midwives operate out of the major cities but hopefully services will soon be available in rural areas like Rosetown.

Midwifery provides care throughout pregnancy, labour and birth and for 6 weeks following birth. Midwives are licensed to use certain drugs that may be required during birth. The birth can be planned for home, birthing centre, or hospital setting.

The philosphy of midwifery is that birth is a natural process which usually only requires support rather than intervention. Midwives encourage informed decision making and respect the beliefs and values of the woman and her family.

The safety of midwifery is well established with studies showing that the practice of midwifery reduces morbidity (injury to mother and baby) and mortality rates for low risk pregnancies. Rate of satisfaction by the moms is also much higher for midwife attended births.

My wife and I had a variety of positive experiences with midwives with the birth of our children: midwife facilitated prenatal class; midwife attended home birth; and midwife assisted hospital birth. More recently, our daughter had a pleasant (her description) experience with the midwife attended hospital birth of our first grandchild; she especially appreciated the post-natal support.

There is a rapidly growing demand for midwifery services in Saskatchewan so any woman looking for a medical career should consider becoming a midwife. Colleges in Ontario, BC, and Manitoba offer 4-year degree courses; another is planned for Calgary. For more information contact the Saskatchewan College of Midwives ( and the Midwives Association of Saskatchewan ( 

This article is intended for educational purposes only; for medical advice consult your licensed health practitioner.

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