Midwifery Q&A

Is midwifery care safe?

Is midwifery care legal?

Do I have to pay for midwifery care?

I Am an Alberta Resident, am I guaranteed midwifery care?

Can I have a midwife and a doctor at the same time?

What is the working relationship between midwives and obstetricians?

What experience and training do midwives have?

Can I have a midwife and still give birth in the hospital?

Will I have access to the same tests and prescriptions that I would have had with a doctor?

Does having a midwife mean I can’t have an epidural?

How often do I see my midwife?

What is the difference between a midwife and a doula?

Alberta Midwifery Acronyms?


Is midwifery care safe?

Yes. There is a large body of evidence that supports midwifery care as a safe choice for low-risk healthy women. In fact, researchers found that women and babies did better on average in countries where midwifery was the normal care.

Is midwifery care legal?

Yes, since 1998 midwifery had been regulated in Alberta through the Midwifery Health Disciplines Committee.  As of January 1, 2013, the College of Midwives of Alberta is now the regulatory body.

The title “midwife” is a protected title and its use by anyone other than a Registered Midwife is illegal.

Do I have to pay for midwifery care?

No.  As of April 1, 2009 Alberta Health Services fully funds the course of care for midwifery services.  Registered Midwives do not charge any fees for midwifery care.

I am an Alberta Resident, am I guaranteed access to midwifery care?

No. Midwifery is a highly sought after service and is currently experiencing long wait lists for care, and there is no guarantee care will be provided because of the demand.  Currently, there are approximately 85 Registered Midwives in Alberta.

Can I have a midwife and a doctor at the same time?

No. Midwives are experts in healthy pregnancy, normal births and well babies. Midwives will consult with family doctors, obstetricians, pediatricians or other specialists should the need arise. About six weeks post-partum, your care is transferred back to your family physician who will resume responsibility for the health of you and your new baby.

What is the working relationship between midwives and obstetricians?

Midwives consult with family doctors, obstetricians, pediatricians or and other specialists if situations arise that fall outside the Midwife’s scope of practice. Midwives have clear indications of when to consult and when to transfer care during pregnancy, birth and post-partum as set out by the College of Midwives of Alberta. This information is made available to every woman who chooses a midwife as part of the fundamental principle of midwifery care: informed choice.

What experience and training do midwives have?

All Registered Midwives in Alberta have the equivalent of a Bachelor’s Degree in Midwifery. They have demonstrated a high level of competency as required by the College of Midwives of Alberta through rigorous written, clinical and oral examinations.

Midwives do frequent emergency skills updates as well as CPR and NRP.

Can I have a midwife and still give birth in the hospital?

Yes.  Midwives support a women’s right to choose the place of birth and offer women home, birth centre or hospital births. All Registered Midwives maintain hospital privileges so they can provide comprehensive care in all settings.

Will I have access to the same tests and prescriptions that I would have had with a doctor?

Yes.  Midwives can order all lab and diagnostic testing as well as prescription medications that are relevant to pregnancy.

Does having a midwife mean I can’t have an epidural?

Midwives have a low intervention style of care. This is based on our belief, supported by research, that the physiological process of birth works best without interference. For example, midwives use natural alternatives such as water, position changes and continuous labour support to help cope with pain in labour as opposed to the routine use of drugs and birth technology. Although sometimes necessary, epidurals, drugs, and other medical technology are regarded by midwives as tools rather than routine interventions.

How often do I see my midwife?

Usually visits begin when pregnancy is confirmed and end when the baby is six weeks of age. Visits every three to five weeks for the first and second trimester are typical. By 30 weeks gestation we begin visiting with our clients every two to three weeks and weekly after 36 weeks until the birth. Visits are usually 30 minutes long, allowing the midwives to assess your physical health, allow time for informed decision making, and to determine how well you are doing emotionally and psychologically. Between visits there is a midwife on call 24-hours a day that you may telephone with concerns. In the post-partum period, 2-3 visits are conducted in your home for the first week following the birth. Subsequent visits take place at our clinic until care is transferred back to your family physician, around six weeks after your baby arrives.

What is the difference between a midwife and a doula?

Doulas do not receive medical training, do not provide medical care, and do not deliver babies.  Midwives are trained to provide all necessary medical care related to pregnancy and ensure the health and well-being of you and your baby. A Registered Midwife is the primary care giver.

Doulas work as a part of the team with a midwife, doctor and nurse and provide continuous emotional and physical support to the labouring woman and her partner.  They are a positive addition to the birth team for those couples who desire extra support.

Contact AAM

One Executive Place
1816 Crowchild Trail NW, Suite 700
Calgary, AB T2M 3Y7
Phone: (403) 532-1207
Fax: (403) 220-1389
Website: http://www.alberta-midwives.com
Email: info@alberta-midwives.com

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