Over the years, we've heard a lot of questions about what midwives do and what using our services means for the prospective parents. And we know that a lot of people hesitate to ask some questions because they think they might sound silly. Rest assured there are no silly questions.
But there are some that get asked a lot. So we've put together as many as we could think of to save you the worry of asking it yourself. So go ahead and check out our list to see whether the answer you're looking for is already here. And if it isn't, feel free to ask it.
Q: How much do midwifery services cost?
A: Our services are free to residents of Ontario, even if you do not have OHIP coverage. Midwives are fully funded to provide services at no cost to every resident of Ontario.
Q: Where can my baby be born?
A: We will discuss your preferred place of birth with you. We offer births at home or at the Ottawa Birth and Wellness Centre for clients who are healthy and whose pregnancies have been normal. We have admitting privileges at the Civic Campus of the Ottawa Hospital and any of our clients may choose to give birth there, as well.
Q: Is it really safe to have my baby outside a hospital?
A: Yes! Extensive research done in Ontario and British Columbia has shown that, even in cases where emergencies occur, there is no difference in safety outcomes for low-risk pregnancies attended by midwives, in or out of hospital. In fact, some outcomes like Caesarean section and need for pain medication are reduced when birth takes place outside the hospital.
Q: Who will I see during my prenatal care? Who will be at my birth?
A: The midwives at the Collective work in a primary call model, meaning that you will be assigned a small team of midwives, with a single “primary” midwife who is responsible for coordinating your care. You will meet each member of your team during your prenatal care, so that you have the opportunity to get to know all of them. This gives you the best chance of being attended in labour by someone you know.
Q: Will I be looked after by students?
A: Most of our midwives are involved with teaching students, because we are committed to the growth of the midwifery profession in Ontario and think our practice is a great place to learn! Depending on the student’s level of training, her role might be hands-on or hands-off, as appropriate. Students are always directly supervised by a registered midwife, and you are always free to decline student participation in your care.
Q: If I want an epidural or need an induction, can I have a midwife?
A: Yes! Midwives in Ottawa practice to the full scope of what the regulations allow, which means we can manage epidurals and oxytocin. Even though midwifery clients tend to need fewer epidurals when compared to the general population, we are experienced and comfortable in supporting clients who choose epidurals for comfort in labour.
Q: What if my baby or I develop complications?
A: If there are health concerns for you or for your baby during pregnancy, labour, birth, or the postpartum period, we will consult with a doctor. Depending on the nature of the issue, that might be your family doctor or a specialist such as an obstetrician or paediatrician. Often, we will work in concert with the doctor to manage your care together. However, we cannot treat medical problems such as high blood pressure and cannot manage the care of an ill newborn. In cases such as those, we transfer care to the doctor. In that circumstance, we are still involved to provide support and advocacy for you and/or your baby, and your care will be returned to us when you and/or your baby is well again.
Q: Can I see both a midwife and a doctor for my routine pregnancy care?
A: No. Midwives are primary care providers, like family doctors and nurse practitioners. To avoid charging the healthcare system twice for the same care, it’s important that you choose one healthcare professional to coordinate your care.
Q: Will I be able to have the same routine tests with a midwife as with a doctor?
A: Yes! Midwives order and interpret the same tests as doctors do in pregnancy, including blood and urine tests, Pap tests, and ultrasounds. We can even do many of them in the clinic, saving you a trip to the lab!
Q: What can I do to get the most benefit from my care?
A: Be an informed participant in your care. Use our lending library if you wish. Write your questions down and bring them to your visits and get the answers. Attend information sessions in your community about maternity services.
Q: What if my midwife is on vacation or off call?
A: Midwives take holidays on a regular basis throughout the year. During each month, the midwives have an on-call/off-call schedule. If your primary midwife is scheduled to be off-call, or is attending another birth, your second midwife will be available to address any concerns you have or attend you in labour. If both your primary and second midwife are unavailable, another midwife on your team will attend you. Midwives sometimes must take off-call time at short notice, such as for professional meetings or personal emergencies. We always try our best to make sure you have a midwife you know available to you.
Q: Are my records kept confidential?
A: Your midwifery records are your property. You may have access to them at any time. If requested, we will provide you with a photocopy at your last visit. Anything you tell us is held in the strictest confidence; we will never share any information you tell us with anyone not directly involved in your care without your permission. This includes family members, including your partner. For this reason, we will not release any information, such as test results, to anyone but you, and if you page us with a concern, we will ask to speak to your directly rather than speaking to someone on your behalf.
Q: I have another question not listed here. What should I do?
A: Ask your midwife at your next appointment! There are no silly questions and we are happy to help with anything that’s on your mind.