Midwives deliver quality care for women and babies; value for Ontarians

TORONTO, March 6, 2013 /CNW/ - Ontario midwives and their clients set up an expo at Queen's Park today to highlight the quality care midwives bring to women and newborns and the value of midwifery care to the health care system as a whole.

The c-section rate among midwifery clients in Ontario is 15% compared with the provincial rate of 28%. The Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care estimates that avoiding a c-section saves the health care system more than $1500, mostly in hospital costs. If the provincial c-section average was the same as the midwifery rate of 15%, this would save the Ontario health care system $29 million per year.

Lisa Weston, the president of the Association of Ontario Midwives (AOM), says the c-section rates for women in midwifery care are less than half the provincial average because midwives take a low intervention approach to birth.

"Midwives are skilled at managing and supporting normal birth. Our approach is evidence-based. We use technology judiciously - meaning that when care is managed by a midwife, intervention rates are low and outcomes are excellent. An approach that supports normal birth allows us to give women quality care and allows us to use precious health care resources efficiently," says Weston.

One of the ways midwives achieve low c-section rates is by supporting women who are planning a vaginal birth after c-section, also known as VBAC. Not that long ago in maternity care, the saying was "once a caesarean, always a caesarean", but research shows that VBAC is a safe choice for the majority of women who have had a previous c-section.

"Midwives discuss the risks and benefits of VBAC with each individual client," explains Weston. "As primary care providers, midwives help women evaluate what birth plan is best for them and support them to avoid unnecessary c-sections, if possible."

Ontario's midwives are leaders in maternal and newborn health and their approach to care delivers both value and quality. Midwives have a strong vision that contributes to building a sustainable and responsive health care system in the province

About Midwifery in Ontario
There are more than 600 registered midwives in Ontario, serving communities in 97 clinics across the province. Midwives have privileges at most Ontario hospitals. Since midwifery became a regulated health profession in 1994, almost 150,000 babies have been born under midwifery care, including more than 35,000 births at home.

A midwife is a registered health care professional who provides primary care to women with low-risk pregnancies. Midwives provide care throughout pregnancy, labour and birth and provide care to both mother and baby during the first six weeks following the birth.

The Association of Ontario Midwives is the professional organization representing midwives and the profession of midwifery in Ontario. For more information about AOM, visit our website at www.ontariomidwives.ca. You can also follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Image with caption: "Midwives provide primary care that leads to quality outcomes for moms and babies and brings value to Ontario's health care system as a whole. (CNW Group/Association of Ontario Midwives)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20130306_C2593_PHOTO_EN_24316.jpg

Image with caption: "Minister of Health and Long-term Care Deb Matthews, right, holds three-month-old Hugh Kim as she stands next to Association of Ontario Midwives President Lisa Weston, left, before speaking at the association's educational exhibit at Queen's Park in Toronto on Wednesday, March 6, 2013. MPPs had the opportunity to learn about the quality care provided to women and babies in Ontario. (Photo by : Michelle Siu) (CNW Group/Association of Ontario Midwives)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20130306_C2593_PHOTO_EN_24347.jpg

Image with caption: "Midwife Manavi Handa holds a doppler to political staffer Lisa McDonald's belly as fellow staffer Don Jackson listens to the fetal heartbeat at the association's educational exhibit at Queen's Park in Toronto on Wednesday, March 6, 2013. MPPs had the opportunity to learn about the quality care provided to women and babies in Ontario. (Photo by : Michelle Siu) (CNW Group/Association of Ontario Midwives)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20130306_C2593_PHOTO_EN_24348.jpg

SOURCE: Association of Ontario Midwives

For further information:

For further information or to arrange an interview or photos with a midwife or client, please contact:

Joanna Zuk, Communications Manager
Association of Ontario Midwives
Cell: 416-704-7452
joanna.zuk@aom.on.ca

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Association of Ontario Midwives

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