A midwife is a trained health professional who assists and cares for women during pregnancy, labor, and delivery. They help you stay healthy during your pregnancy and, if no complications arise, deliver your baby with minimal assistance. Midwives also look after you and your baby in the weeks after the birth.
Midwife in Ontario
According to the Regulated Health Professions Act (RHPA), the College of Midwives of Ontario (CMO) regulates midwifery. The CMO ensures that midwives offer competent and ethical care to pregnant women and new-borns. The CMO is responsible for registering midwives, guaranteeing midwifery services, creating standards, and investigating and responding to any midwifery-related issues. The protected title of a registered midwife, or RM, is available to midwives who registered with CMO.
Because of a clause in the Midwifery Act, Aboriginal midwives in First Nations communities in Ontario are allowed to offer care without being registered with the CMO. This provision states that an Aboriginal person who provides traditional midwifery services may call herself an “Aboriginal midwife” and claim to be qualified to practice as an Aboriginal midwife in Ontario. In places where Aboriginal midwives provide services, the community and the band council, rather than the CMO, are accountable for the public’s safety.
All midwives in Ontario have completed comprehensive midwifery education programs. They become experts in uncomplicated birth and emergency procedures by studying health, social, and biological sciences in the classroom, completing clinical placements under the guidance of experienced midwives. Also, as a secondary and primary care provider, attending births and providing prenatal and postpartum care in midwifery clinics and clients’ homes.
In this province, there are four educational paths to becoming a midwife:
- The Midwifery Education Program is a four-year program that leads to a Bachelor of Health Sciences (BHSc) in midwifery and gets offered at Laurentian, McMaster, and Ryerson universities.
- Tsi Non:we Ionnakeratstha Ona:grahsta’, the Maternal and Child Centre on Six Nations of the Grand River territory, offers a four-year education program for Indigenous midwives.
- Ryerson University’s International Midwifery Pre-Registration Program (IMPP) is a bridge program that prepares experienced, globally educated midwives to practice in Ontario.
- The Midwifery Post-Baccalaureate Program for Health Professionals (PBHP) is an accelerated track of the Midwifery Education Program that accepts applicants with baccalaureate degrees in a health profession and considerable maternity care experience.
What is the role of a midwife?
It takes more than just delivering babies to be a midwife. A midwife is usually the woman’s first contact during pregnancy, labor, and the early postpartum period. She is in charge of delivering treatment and assisting women in making informed decisions regarding their health care.
The midwife has a wide range of responsibilities. Midwives do clinical examinations, provide health and parent education, and support to women and their families throughout the childbearing process to assist their transition to their new position as parents. The midwife also collaborates with other health and social care agencies to meet the needs of specific women, such as young adults, socially excluded women, disabled women, and women of various ethnic backgrounds.