TORONTO, March 20, 2012 /CNW/ - Ontario's 550 registered midwives support the announcement made this morning by Premier McGuinty and Minister Deb Matthews to develop two freestanding, midwifery-led birth centres.
"This pilot project is a great start and sends a clear message to Ontarians that their government supports normal birth. Birth centres will help make midwifery more accessible and help more women and their families realize their goal of a normal and healthy childbirth," says Katrina Kilroy, midwife and president of the Association of Ontario Midwives (AOM).
More than 10,000 supporters sent the Liberal government messages advocating for midwifery-led birth centres, and hundreds of others used Facebook and Twitter to promote the benefits of birth centres on the AOM's Social Media Day of Action, February 29. "There was a groundswell of support for birth centres, and thousands of families across the province all share in the success of securing pilot project funding," says Kilroy. "Many communities are interested in having access to a birth centre and will be following developments closely."
Midwifery-led birth centres are an innovative solution that will curb costs while promoting excellent outcomes and keep birth in the community. Giving birth is the main reason Ontario women are hospitalized, yet there is no medical reason to be hospitalized for a healthy labour and delivery. "Birth centres will provide an excellent option for women with healthy pregnancies," says Kilroy. Research has shown that a planned out-of-hospital birth is as safe as a hospital birth for healthy women.
"Midwives welcome this opportunity to lead an innovative, safe and cost-effective option for community-based care. We hope birth centres will provide a unique setting for interprofessional learning and we will continue to work closely with physicians and nurses to foster opportunities for ongoing collaboration," says Kilroy.
The Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists of Canada (SOGC) reacted positively to the announcement. "The SOGC is supportive of offering women a choice of birth settings when appropriate and we support interprofessional collaboration with midwives," says Dr. Vyta Senikas, Acting Executive Vice-President, SOGC.
The birth centre model has been proven to work in the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand and many other countries. Closer to home, in Quebec, there is a well-established system of midwifery-led 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 further information:
or to set up interviews with midwives, please contact:
Jill-Marie Burke, Communications Officer
Juana Berinstein, Director of Policy and Communications