Ontario midwives urge Premier McGuinty to honour his commitment to piloting birth centres

TORONTO, Feb. 27, 2012 /CNW/ - Ontario women are optimistic the groundswell of support for birth centres will persuade the Liberal government to include funding for birth centre pilot projects in the 2012 budget.

In light of the recently-released Drummond Report, Katrina Kilroy, midwife and president of the Association of Ontario Midwives (AOM) says establishing birth centres in the province makes more sense than ever. The report suggests a transformation to a patient-centered system with a greater emphasis on diverting care from hospitals to community settings, and practitioners working to their full scope. "Investment in normal birth, including properly supporting midwives in practice, the growth of midwifery and the establishment of midwifery-led birth centers would lead to significant cost savings in the future," says Kilroy.

"Thousands of families across the province have told us that they want and need birth centres. Now midwives want to send a clear message to the Premier that establishing free-standing birth centres will not only provide an important community-based option for pregnant women, but will be a safe and effective way to cut costs by keeping healthy women and babies out of the hospital," says Kilroy.

During the provincial election campaign in September 2011, Premier McGuinty sent a letter to the AOM to express his support for birth centres. "Ontario Liberals will continue to work with the midwifery community to expand access to midwifery services," wrote the Premier. "That is why we support piloting birth centres in Ontario and are open to exploring the possibilities for this model."

To date, 8,000 supporters have sent Premier McGuinty postcards advocating for birth centres, and hundreds of others have used Facebook to promote the benefits of birth centres. Midwives and supporters anticipate having 10,000 postcards signed by International Women's Day on March 8 and will be holding a Social Media Day of Action on Wednesday, February 29 to continue to raise awareness. In addition to sending e-postcards, because this is a leap year, birth centre supporters will be using Facebook and Twitter to encourage the Premier to "Take a leap for birth centres."

About Midwifery in Ontario
There are more than 550 registered midwives in Ontario, serving communities in 90 clinics across the province. Midwives have privileges at most Ontario hospitals. Since midwifery became a regulated health profession in 1994, almost 130,000 babies have been born under midwifery care, including almost 30,000 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.aom.on.ca You can also follow us on Facebook and Twitter (Facebook.com/OntarioMidwives; Twitter.com/OntarioMidwives).

Image with caption: "Ontario midwives want to bring birth centres to the province, like this one in Blainville, Quebec. (CNW Group/Association of Ontario Midwives)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20120227_C7500_PHOTO_EN_10456.jpg

SOURCE Association of Ontario Midwives

For further information:

or to set up interviews with midwives, please contact:

Jill-Marie Burke, Acting Communications Officer
Tel: 416-425-9974 x2257

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Association of Ontario Midwives

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