The Current State Of Midwifery

2040 Words9 Pages
With the fastest growing population in Canada, Alberta is facing increased pressure on its healthcare system, especially in maternal health services. This is illustrated by the over 50,000 babies born annually and the strain placed on the system which is only compounded by a shortage of physicians (Alberta Health Services, 2014). As a result, the province is seeking ways to improve access for families to primary care providers for maternal health services. This policy analysis will explore the current state of midwifery, the key barriers that have prevented its acceptance and growth and provide recommendations towards a sustainable system for maternal services in Alberta. Midwives have been involved with the birthing process for centuries…show more content…
Where legislation in Canada exists, midwives can provide all required prenatal, intrapartum and postnatal care for low-risk childbearing women. They work in collaboration with other health professionals and consult or refer specialists such as an obstetrician when appropriate (Canadian Association of Midwives, 2014). One of the most important aspects of midwifery is that outcomes and care for mother and infants are equivalent under a midwife when compared to a family physician or obstetrician. A defining feature of midwives is that they provide services at a significantly lower cost of approximately $4,600 per course of care in Alberta. With an obstetrician’s average cost per course of care at $5,700, savings of over $1,100 per course are realized (O 'Brien, 2010). Also, a course of care by a midwife provides more frequent and longer visiting times at prenatal and postnatal visits. This results in more time for education and promotion of population and public health indicators such prenatal nutrition and breastfeeding. Registered midwives in Alberta are currently contracted for $36 million over three years to provide midwifery services to approximately 4% of infants born in the province (Alberta Association of Midwives, 2014). Unfortunately, midwifery is not universally accessible throughout Alberta. The majority of midwives are located in urban centres such as Calgary and Edmonton while consumer groups such as the Maternity Care Consumers of
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