If you've just found out you're pregnant, congratulations! When you find out you're pregnant and you'd like to have a midwife provide your care, you don't need to see a doctor for a referral. You can directly call a midwifery clinic in your area. There is no charge to have a midwife, as the costs of care are covered by the provincial health-care system.
The number of midwives has been growing steadily over the years, so there are now many communities where you don't need to get on a waiting list to have a midwife. However, it is still wise to call local clinics as soon as you get pregnant. There are still some communities where the demand for midwifery is so high that it's tough to get in. If in doubt, call! If there are several clinics in your area, call them all to ask about availability. It's okay to have your name on the waiting list at more than one clinic. If you are on a waiting list for midwifery care, you should seek care from another provider, such as your family doctor or an obstetrician, in the meantime.
When you do get in to see your midwife, you may have lots of questions about your pregnancy, your baby, or your body. One of the many aspects of midwifery care that clients appreciate is the thorough and informative appointments they have with their midwives. On average, appointments last 30 to 45 minutes. Prenatal appointments take place once a month for the first 28 weeks of pregnancy; every two weeks until the 36th week; and then once a week until the baby is born. Most clients will see their midwife 11 to 12 times before they go into labour.
During regularly scheduled visits to the midwifery clinic, midwives provide physical assessments, prenatal education, informed choice discussions and decision support. Physical examinations include taking clients’ blood pressure, urine testing, measuring growth and listening to the fetal heart rate. Appointments typically take place in the midwives’ clinic, but clients will typically be offered a home visit around 36 weeks. If you are planning a home birth, during the 36-week visit the midwife will become familiar with your home setting. Your family members and/or the people who make up your support system, as defined by you, are encouraged and welcome to attend appointments with you as often as they like.
Midwifery students will likely be involved with your pregnancy care and may attend your birth; however, your midwife will always have the primary responsibility for your care. Midwifery is a growing profession and most midwives are teaching and supervising students while providing care. Your midwife will always ask if you are comfortable having students participate in your care.