I had a little bit of a 'crazy lady' moment as I was certain I had already posted here about my support for midwives and their cause to bring birth centres to Ontario, but I looked and couldn't find that post. Turns out I had posted it on my other blog, Life on the Bay. No worries, because I am back to post about it again and show my support!
I have posted before about how with my first pregnancy I started out with OB care but soon wised up and switched to midwifery care at 29wks, and have never looked back since. NOT that I don't believe obstetricians aren't important, in fact in many cases they are absolutely necessary, but for my uncomplicated pregnancies and births, using midwives was the better choice for better care. Even during my planned cesarean with my first son, our midwife was present to take care of the baby after he was born, and midwives attended to our postpartum care. I have had nothing but positive experiences with our midwives so far (from 3 different practices in Ontario) and consider them an invaluable resource which is too often taken for granted.
Obstetricians are experts in complicated birth situations, but the midwives are the experts in birth. Choosing a midwife for your uncomplicated pregnancy and birth means you are making the best possible choice in prenatal and post partum care, for you and your baby.
In many parts of the world, especially in Europe, midwives take care of most of the births that happen in those countries. In fact it is quite the opposite of how it is here in Canada. Here when you are pregnant, you get referred to a doctor and have to seek out midwifery care. In many other countries outside of North America, you start with a midwife and are only referred to a doctor if the need arises. Countries who use midwives for all uncomplicated births often show lower statistics for medical interventions, surgical births, and even maternal and baby deaths.
Midwifery in Ontario is growing and gaining support. From a sheet I received from my current midwives, produced by the College of Midwives of Ontario, "The number of births attended by midwives in Ontario has been increasing each year since regulation. Last year approximately 10% of all births in the province were attended by midwives. Approximately 20% of midwife attended births take place at home." As you can see midwifery in this province is gaining momentum, and good thing too! You can check out their website linked above and on the side of my blog for more information.
I feel so fortunate to live in a province where midwifery is funded, supported, and easily accessible, and where women are given choices in how they would like to birth. Many woman in other parts of the world do not have easy access to midwives and often have to pay and fight for a normal birth or else be under the mercy of harsh hospital and doctor policies, and heavily overused medical intervention.
Ontario Midwives are currently working to try and bring birth centres to Ontario. I think this would be an absolutely amazing thing if it were to happen. I would no doubt choose to give birth in a birth centre if it were an option. To help bring awareness for the need for birth centres in Ontario, the midwives have made this lovely video which you can view here. To create this video they asked women who have given birth in Ontario to submit pictures of them during pregnancy, and/or pictures of them with their midwives. I was happy to participate and sent in two photos. You can see a photo of me during my second pregnancy at 17 seconds into the video, and one of me and our wonderful midwife Marlene Sagada from Riverdale Midwives in Toronto, the same day I gave birth to our second son at 1 minute and 10 seconds in.
Read more about how you can help support midwives and bring birth centres to Ontario here.
I doubt I will ever get the chance to give birth in a birth centre unless there will be one built before July! But I hope that more women in the future will choose midwives for their care, and will have the opportunity to birth in a birth centre here in Ontario.
More compelling information about how mothers in any country can benefit from a midwifery model of care can be found in Ina May's Guide to Childbirth, which I have already mentioned before. If you are interested in learning more about how midwives are good for birth, please read that book, and if you'd like to learn more about midwifery care in Ontario and how you can support it, please check out any of the links I've posted above.