Midwives view pregnancy and childbirth as a profound time in a person’s life, with a variety of personal and cultural meanings. They see themselves as partners in their clients’ care and recognize clients as the primary decision-makers. Ontario’s midwifery model of care is based on three principles: continuity of care; informed choice and choice of birthplace.
Continuity of Care
Midwives provide complete care throughout pregnancy, labour, birth, and the first six weeks following birth. This basket of services -- referred to as a "course of care"-- provides continuity, optimizing your safety and comfort. A team of up to four midwives will be responsible for your care throughout pregnancy. Two midwives in that team will typically attend your birth, though there are some communities where this isn't the case, so ask your midwife. Clients can contact their midwives 24 hours a day, 7 days a week with urgent concerns.
Midwives support clients to make informed decisions about their care. For example, when discussing the option of having genetic screening, ultrasound or other routine tests, your midwife will talk with you about what the test looks for, how it is performed, possible advantages and disadvantages, and any risks involved.
Choice of Birthplace
Choosing where to give birth is one of the decisions that your midwife will support you to make. Midwifery clients may decide to give birth safely at home, in hospital or in one of Ontario’s three midwifery-led birth centres. Midwives are the only health-care professionals who are specifically trained to attend out-of-hospital births. Midwives also attend births in hospitals. They are able to admit and discharge clients and access hospital resources needed by clients, including a consultation from a physician if there is a concern or complication.
Access additional resources, policy statements and research that can help informed choice discussions.