TORONTO, Feb. 22 /CNW/ - The Project for an Ontario Women's Evidence-based Report (POWER) study released information earlier today regarding reproductive and gynecological health in the province. Ontario Midwives support the findings of the POWER study and call on the Ontario government to support normal birth by investing in birth centres.

"There is good news in the study," says Katrina Kilroy, President of the Association of Ontario Midwives. "But it also shows high rates of intervention without a clear idea of the risks and benefits in relationship to outcomes. As midwives, we believe this trend needs to be reversed."

One striking message in the report is that there is substantial variation in the type of obstetrical and gynecological care provided related to where women live in the province. Women who live in different regions have different rates of interventions related to childbirth, including access to midwifery care and rate of c-sections.

"Although this study unfortunately did not include data from home births, the data are available and clearly show that out-of-hospital birth is a safe option for women in Ontario. Midwives know that place of birth has a significant impact on supporting excellent health outcomes for both mom and baby," says Kilroy.

Midwives have been providing care in both home and hospital in Ontario since 1994. And now midwives are calling on the Ontario government to give women another choice for where to have their baby: a birth centre.

"Giving healthy women with low-risk pregnancies the choice to move away from hospitals to community-based care in a birth centre is a critical step in supporting and promoting normal birth," says Kilroy.

Jill Parsons is a Toronto mother who had her children with midwives and who supports the call for birth centres.

"I have a lot of friends who have wanted midwifery care and weren't been able to access a midwife," she says. "Birth centres will help midwifery grow and improve women's access to midwifery care."

About Midwifery in Ontario

There are more than 500 registered midwives in Ontario, serving communities in 85 clinics across the province. Midwives have privileges at most Ontario hospitals. Since midwifery became a regulated health profession in 1994, more than 100,000 babies have been born under midwifery care, including more than 23,000 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.

SOURCE Association of Ontario Midwives

For further information:

or to arrange interviews or photos with midwives or with midwifery clients, contact:
Joanna Zuk, Senior Communications Officer
Tel: 416-425-9974 x2261
Cell: 416-704-7452

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Association of Ontario Midwives

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