Many women automatically choose to receive their care and deliver their babies with an OB-GYN simply because doctor-assisted births have been common practice. However, there has recently been a resurgence in the popularity of midwifery, with midwives attending close to 400,000 births in Canada last year. In 2019, midwife involved births accounted for 25% of babies born in BC.
To make the most informed choice regarding your pregnancy care, it is important to research your options thoroughly, but for those who are considering a midwifery clinic in Vancouver, here are some of the positive benefits patients and professionals have reported from choosing a midwife.
Midwives are experts at providing care to women experiencing a low-risk pregnancy. They offer complete prenatal care services, including all the same bloodwork, diagnostic tests, and screenings that you would receive with a family doctor or OB-GYN. However, midwives believe in patient-centric care, where the mother is given freedom and control over their pregnancy care, labour, delivery, and postpartum care.
Appointment times are typically longer and less formal, enabling clients to engage in open, meaningful discussion about their pregnancy, birth plans, and any other related questions.
Midwives in Vancouver typically work in small teams of 2-4, either independently or through a midwifery clinic. Throughout your care, you will meet and interact with all the midwives on the team, and each will know the details of your pregnancy, birth plan, and delivery choices. On the day, there will be no surprises. Midwives provide 24-hour care; one of the midwives you have been working with over the past nine months will be there with you each step of the way through labour, delivery, and will be ready to assist postpartum.
Midwives are the only healthcare providers who can assist with home birth. While 70% of midwife deliveries occur in a hospital, a midwifery clinic offers its client the flexibility to choose a home or hospital birth.
If you have planned for a natural birth, have decided against pain medication, and prefer to avoid surgical intervention unless it medically necessary, a midwife will advocate for you throughout labour and delivery.
According to a report from the Midwives Association of British Columbia, midwife involved births resulted in 42% fewer c-sections, reduced medical interventions, and improved health outcomes.
Mothers who chose a midwife as their primary care provider have higher rates of successful breastfeeding. Compared to women who received care from an OB-GYN, women receiving care from a midwife were twice as likely to breastfeed for at least six months and three times as likely to continue beyond six months.
Overall, women who chose a midwifery clinic were more satisfied with their care than women who received care from an OB-GYN. In one survey, women who received care from a midwife were 71% more likely to report having a ‘very positive’ experience than those who obtained care from other healthcare providers.
At the end of the day, there is no right or wrong choice as to where you receive pregnancy care. All professionals working in prenatal care, labour, delivery, and postpartum care are highly trained professionals, and all will do their best to ensure a healthy pregnancy and delivery.
More women are turning to midwives, not because other care providers are bad, but because they prefer to work with a pregnancy partner who will listen, respectfully provide support in a non-threatening environment, and advocate for their wishes.