Most frequent questions and answers
Midwives are highly skilled and educated professionals specializing in low-risk maternity care. Registered Midwives hold a Bachelor of Midwifery degree (or its equivalent), and are qualified to order laboratory tests, ultrasounds, and prescribe medications in relation to pregnancy and childbirth. In order to practice in Alberta, a midwife must be registered with the College of Midwives of Alberta (CMA) which is the provincial regulatory body for the profession. The CMA conducts an extensive review of qualifications, written and practical examinations, before a midwife can become registered. All Registered Midwives must regularly complete continuing education requirements as set by the CMA. Currently, this includes regular recertification of CPR, Obstetrical Emergency Skills, and Neonatal Resuscitation

There is a large body of evidence that supports midwifery care as a safe choice for low-risk healthy women. Midwifery is a trusted and respected profession in many countries around the world. In fact, researchers found that mothers and babies did better on average in countries where midwifery was the norm. A 2009 study led by researchers from the University of British Columbia found that midwifery care resulted in lower rates of forceps and vacuum deliveries, caesarean sections, episiotomies, infections and babies requiring resuscitation, when compared with women in the same risk group delivering with physician-led care. Midwives are primary health care providers and are considered the experts in normal pregnancy, birth and the postpartum period. They spend considerable time with their clients during prenatal appointments, and are with them throughout all stages of maternity care. Midwives support physiologic birth and often report low rates of medical intervention.

Alberta Health Services funds midwifery services for people with Alberta Health Care (AHC) coverage. However, the demand for midwifery services in Alberta currently exceeds public funding. This means that although you need not pay out-of-pocket for midwifery care, not everyone who applies for a midwife is able to obtain one via the public health care system. Some midwives will provide service for private pay if clients do not have AHC. Clients who are interested in private pay are advised to inquire with us directly. If you are choosing to buy a waterbirth pool, herbs, oils, aromatherapy or homeopathy, these expenses will need to be paid out of pocket, and costs will vary. If cost is ever prohibitive, your midwifery team can work with you to ensure you have all you need at your home birth without creating financial strain.
Each midwife in Grande Prairie working full time can take up to 40 clients/ year. The demand for midwifery services is quite high in the Grande Prairie area which means that at this time we cannot offer a space in care to everyone who applies. If you apply for care, we will do a consultation over the phone with you. Our consultation visit is an opportunity to speak with one of our midwives, ask questions, and discuss your expectations and preferences for your pregnancy, birth and postpartum care. It is also an opportunity for our midwives to assess if you are a candidate for low risk care. A consultation does not guarantee a spot with our team. However, we do carry a waitlist for those clients who cannot be offered a spot with us right away.
Midwives typically welcome clients into care between 8-10 weeks gestation, when they have an initial appointment/ consultation. They are then seen every 4-5 weeks until 28 weeks of pregnancy, then every 2-3 weeks until 36 weeks of pregnancy. Thereafter, they are offered weekly visits until 41 weeks, then every 2-3 days after that until the baby arrives. The client has access to her midwife (or midwifery team) 24 hours/7 days a week throughout her care for any urgent issues. When labour begins, the midwife may assess the client at home, in the clinic, or in the hospital. Once labour is confirmed and progressing, the midwife will remain with the client through active labour and birth either at home, or in the Hospital. The midwife will generally stay with the client after the birth for 3-4 hours to ensure they are both healthy and stable. If baby is born in hospital you will have the option of staying for 24 hours, or for early discharge at 3-4 hours after the birth if you and baby are healthy and stable. We ask that you are not alone for at least 24 hours after your birth. If the birth occurred at home, the midwife will stay until we are certain mom and baby are stable, usually 3-4 hours. Post partum visits at home by the midwife are usually done on Days 1, 3 and 5 unless further visits are required. The mother and baby will generally go to the clinic at 2, 4 and 6 weeks post partum when the care is completed.
We currently provide care to families all over the Peace country area, with many families travelling for care. However, in order for us to provide the best possible care to all our clients we need to limit the distance we can travel out of town for births and home visits. We offer home birth to client’s living within 30 minutes of the hospital in Grande Prairie. We offer full postpartum home visits to clients within 1 hour of the city limits, and a reduced postpartum visit schedule for clients living beyond 1.5 hours away. If you are planning an out of hospital birth with us and are from beyond 30 minutes from hospital, you will need to make your own arrangements to birth within our service area and be prepared to stay for 1-3 days postpartum. This is to ensure you are getting the best possible care we can offer you and your new baby. All of these details can be discussed with your midwife if you have any questions.
Throughout your pregnancy you will not need to see a physician routinely for pregnancy care or concerns. However, there may be times that seeing a physician is necessary. This would include times where there are health concerns unrelated to pregnancy. If you do need to see your physician please keep your midwives updated. If you develop complications in pregnancy, we will provide a referral to an obstetrician if necessary.
Midwives support the client’s right to choose their place of birth and offer in-hospital, or out-of-hospital births within 30 minutes of the Hospital. You will begin discussing your birth plans with your midwife fairly early in care. Many families do not know early in pregnancy where they ultimately want to give birth, this is a highly person decision and one that can only be made by you (or the baby). We are always happy to have an ongoing discussion with you about choice of birth-place as your pregnancy progresses. For an informative video on homebirth please watch the following https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qkSu07b8syc
In hospital, we can administer nitrous oxide (laughing gas), narcotic pain management, and request epidurals. If medications are part of your birth, your midwives will work with you to make sure you have a thorough understanding of your options.
A Registered Midwife, like a physician, is a primary care provider. Midwives are educated and trained to provide all necessary medical care related to pregnancy, birth, and post partum. Doulas provide continuous emotional and physical support to the labouring client and their family. They are a welcome addition to the birth team for families who desire extra support. Doulas do not receive medical training, do not provide medical care, and do not deliver babies.
Your support team may include your partner, other family members, friends or children. It is up to you. If you are planning a homebirth, midwives are required to have either two midwives, or a midwife and a Registered Nurse ( RN), or specially trained second attendant present.
We can guide you along the way, but the journey is yours.

You can apply any time for midwifery care during your pregnancy by adding your details to the province-wide registry. We can only take a limited number of clients, so applying early in your pregnancy is preferable.
Midwives care is for individuals with low-risk pregnancies. Individuals who have previously experienced caesarian section may receive midwifery care. To be eligible to receive publicly funded midwifery services you must have either an Alberta Personal Health Care Number, an RCMP Health Care Number, or a Canadian Military Health Care Number before the birth of your baby. If you have not been accepted into care with us by the time you reach 12 weeks of gestation, we advise seeking prenatal care with a physician. Please note that you can be accepted into midwifery care at any point during pregnancy and that your care can be transferred to a midwife if you are already seeing a physician.