What is a midwife?
Midwives are health-care professionals who provide free, expert primary care to pregnant people and their newborns. Through pregnancy, labour, birth and the first six weeks after birth, you will be cared for by a small group of midwives. This continuity of care means that you are likely to know the midwife who delivers your baby.
Why would I want a midwife?
If you are low-risk, want involvement in decision-making, and would benefit from supportive care then midwifery is the right choice for you. Some of the reasons women choose midwives are because they like getting to know their care providers; having supportive care during labour; and having help with breastfeeding after the birth. If you’re not sure if midwifery care is right for you, you can still fill in an intake form and go to your initial visit. You can discuss with your midwife whether or not this is the right choice for you.
Can I have a midwife and a doctor?
You can choose to have a midwife or a doctor, not both. As midwives are experts in low-risk pregnancy and birth, midwifery clients will not see a physician unless there are concerns or complications. If complications arise, midwives can consult with physicians or, if necessary, transfer a client’s care to a physician. If care is transferred, midwives continue to support their clients and resume primary care when it is possible.
Do I have to give birth at home?
Hawthorne Midwives have privileges at Milton District Hospital so our clients can choose to give birth at home or at MDH. Your midwife will be happy to discuss both options with you to see which is right for you.
Can I have an epidural?
Yes. You have the same access to pain relief options as any hospital patient. An anesthetist will do the epidural and your midwife will monitor it for the duration of your labour.
Are midwives as safe as doctors?
Yes. Midwives are trained health professionals who maintain privileges at hospitals just like doctors. Midwives are experts in pregnancy, birth and postpartum care. We have clear guidelines that say when to consult with doctors and when to transfer care. By working together with the whole healthcare team, midwives provide safe care.
Do I have to pay for a midwife?
Midwives are part of the Ontario health-care system and their services are completely funded by the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care. Ontario residents who are not currently covered by OHIP can still receive midwifery care with no charge.
How will I reach you when labour starts?
Your midwife will give you the number to reach her at your initial appointment. There will be midwives staffing the phone 24/7.
When should I call to come into care?
You should call to come into care as soon as you know you are pregnant. You don’t need to see your doctor before you come into care.
How do I get a midwife?
You can fill in the intake form on our website. We will get back to you as soon as we can to let you know if we have a spot for you.
What will my appointment look like with my midwife?
Your visit with your midwife will normally be about 30 minutes. This will give you lots of time to talk and get to know your midwives. Your midwives will discuss tests and procedures and as well as work with you to come up with the right plans for your labour and delivery. Prenatal visits are usually once a month for the first 28 weeks, every two weeks until 36 weeks and then once a week until your baby is born. On average, you’ll see your midwife approximately 12 times before you go into labour.
What does my midwife do during labour?
Your midwife will talk with you about when to page in labour. When you call your midwife might offer to come to your home to assess you or, if you are planning a hospital birth, meet you at the hospital. Once you are in active labour your midwife will stay with you whether at home or hospital. Your midwife will manage the clinical side of the birth as well as provide labour support. Once you are ready to have the baby a second midwife will attend so there is one midwife for you and one for your baby.
What happens after the baby is born?
Your midwives will stay with you for approximately 2 hours. During that time they will assist with breastfeeding and do the newborn exam.
Over the next week or so your midwives will visit you at home to make sure you and your baby are doing well and assist with breastfeeding. Then you will typically see your midwives in the clinic at 2,4, and 6 weeks of your newborn’s age.
Can I have a midwife if I’ve had a c-section?
Yes. You will discuss with your midwives the plan for your next delivery – whether to try a vaginal birth after c-section (VBAC) or plan for an elective c-section. But having had a c-section does not mean you can’t have a midwife.
Can I have a midwife if I had fertility treatment?
Yes. Sometimes people who have gone through fertility feel like they are high-risk. But if you don’t have any underlying health conditions such as high blood-pressure or diabetes your midwife can still manage your pregnancy, labour and birth.
What happens if something happens during the pregnancy to move me from 'low risk' to 'high risk'? Do I lose my supports?
Midwives have clear guidelines that tell us when to involve an obstetrician in your care. That begins with a consultation, and if necessary, a transfer of care. This might happen in pregnancy (for example if your blood pressure goes up and you need medication) or during labour (for example if you require a forceps delivery). In both situations the midwife would continue to be involved in a supportive capacity and resume care when appropriate.