Frequently Asked Questions

There is a large and growing body of evidence that supports midwifery care as a safe choice for low-risk healthy people. Before regulated midwifery was introduced in Alberta, data was gathered from New Zealand, Australia, the UK, and Holland where regulated midwifery is widely practiced in order to justify its introduction as a health discipline in Alberta. Interestingly, researchers found that parents and babies often fared better in countries where midwifery was the standard of care. In Canada, ongoing midwifery research continues to show that midwives provide safe and excellent care.

FACT: in studies where midwifery care was compared to physician-led care for low-risk birthing people,  midwifery clients experienced lower rates of forceps and, vacuum extractions, caesarean sections, episiotomies, infections and babies born requiring resuscitation, in studies where midwifery was compared to physician-led care for low-risk women.

Registered Midwives practicing in Alberta have various education backgrounds. Some were trained through apprenticeship training models, some were educated in other countries such as England, The States and Australia, and others attended university based education programs in Canada. Midwives have up-to-date certification in emergency skills for both mothers and newborns. Regardless of how they are trained, all registered Midwives have been assessed and met the stringent criteria set out by the Midwifery Health Disciplines committee in order to practice in Alberta.

If you choose midwifery care, you can feel confident that you’ll have a highly skilled professional caring for you, your partner, and your growing family throughout your pregnancy, birth, and postpartum

Absolutely. Midwives support your choice of birthplace, be that home, hospital or birth center. Midwives in Calgary are members of the CHR Department of Family Medicine and have admitting privileges at hospitals, just as physicians do. They can provide complete childbirth care for you and your baby in the hospital setting. Your midwife can help you decide which place of birth is right for you.

Midwives are primary care providers, which means that you do not need a referral to begin care with a midwife and you do not need to see a doctor during your pregnancy for pregnancy-related care. Your midwives will provide all of your prenatal care as well as order all recommended labs and ultrasounds. If you should require medical care unrelated to your pregnancy, then you would see your family doctor for that (for example: if you had bronchitis). Of course, if you’re unsure who you should see, you can always check with your midwife.

Midwifery care is an insured service in Alberta! If you have Alberta Health Care coverage, there is no cost for midwifery services.

Your midwives may recommend having specific supplies on hand in preparation for your labour and birth that would necessitate a small out-of-pocket expense. Most clients spend $50 or less.

We don’t keep a first come, first served waitlist in the traditional sense so you won’t have a “place in line”, so to speak. Should care not be offered to you immediately, we do keep your application in our waiting pool. Occasionally, spots do open up and if that’s the case, a midwife will contact you directly at that time and your care and records will be transferred to us.

There are many reasons why a spot may open up. When we’re looking to fill a spot, we’ll be considering everything from your estimated due date, location within the city, planned place of birth, etc to ensure we’re maintaining a balanced client load. This way, we can provide exceptional care to all of our clients.

In the meantime, we recommend you seek alternate prenatal care if you haven’t found a midwife within a few weeks, as there are time-sensitive screenings available in your first trimester that you’ll need to see a care provider to discuss.

The best person to discuss whether you’re an appropriate candidate for midwifery care or not with is a midwife. They know their scope of practice best and can offer individualized recommendations for your care depending on your unique situation.

Some common reasons that folks may be told they’re not appropriate for midwifery care when they are is being over 35 years old, planning a VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean), or being in a larger body.

While it is possible that an OB consult or shared care may be recommended for your pregnancy and birth, the only way to know for sure is to discuss your health and medical history with a midwife.

Complete an Application Form as soon as you have a positive home pregnancy test! If we have a spot available for your estimated due date, your midwife will schedule an initial phone visit with you to discuss the midwifery model of care. They will also answer any questions you may have, and take your health history to ensure you’re an appropriate candidate for midwifery care.

If you choose to accept care with your midwife, your first in-person appointment will be booked between 8-10 weeks pregnant. Midwives take on a relatively small number of clients each month to ensure that we’re able to provide the personalized care that you deserve.

Please be aware that midwifery services in Calgary are in high demand and not everyone who applies for care will receive it. It is It’s very common for midwifery spots to fill quite quickly. This is why it’s important to apply as soon as possible.

Doulas do not provide clinical care, and do not deliver babies. Midwives are trained to provide all necessary clinical care and ensure the health and well-being of you and your baby. Doulas work as a part of the team, with a midwife or doctor and nurse. Doulas provide continuous emotional and physical support to the labouring person and their partner, and are a positive addition to the birth team for those families who desire extra support.

For more information on the benefits and evidence for doulas please read Evidence Based Birth’s Evidence On: Doulas.

“A doula is a special companion who supports you during pregnancy, labor, and birth (Morton & Clift 2014). Doulas are trained to provide continuous, one-on-one care, physical support, and emotional support during labor. They may also provide information and support to families before or during birth, and into the postpartum period. There are many different types of doulas, along with many different types of training, certifications, traditional practices, and perspectives on doula care.”
-Definition from Evidence Based Birth.

“The midwife is recognised as a responsible and accountable professional, who works in partnership with women to give the necessary support, care and advice during pregnancy, labour and the postpartum period, to conduct births on the midwife’s own responsibility and to provide care for the newborn and infant. This care includes preventative measures, the promotion of normal birth, the detection of complications in mother and child, the accessing of medical care or other appropriate assistance and the carrying out of emergency measures. The midwife has an important task in health counselling and education, not only for the women and gender diverse people they serve, but also within families and communities. This work should involve antenatal education and preparation for parenthood and may extend to sexual and reproductive health care, and care for infants and young children. A midwife may practise in any setting including the home, community, hospital, clinic or health unit.”
-Definition from the International Confederation of Midwives

You’ll see your midwife in the clinic every 4-5 weeks until you are 28 weeks pregnant; then every 2-3 weeks until you are 38 weeks pregnant. After 38 weeks you’ll your midwife every week until your baby is born. TThe recommended visit schedule is intended to be flexible to ensure that you get the personalized care that you need.

If you’re planning a homebirth your midwife will come to your home your 36 week visit.

Most of your visits are 30 minutes. This gives you and your midwife the time and space needed to
build a mutually trusting and respectful relationship, as well as ensure all of your questions are answered as you prepare for birth and becoming a parent.

Some of your visits will be 45-90 minutes in length to allow for more discussion (for example: your initial in-person visit, your 36 week birth prep visit, and your six week postpartum visit).

Definitely! This decision is yours to make. We welcome your family and we appreciate meeting your partner and answering their questions. We enjoy including children in your prenatal care – they often love to help the midwife listen to the baby’s heart and measure your belly as it grows.

Being at the birth of a sibling can be a wonderful experience for children. It’s a good idea to prepare them for the sights and sounds of birth. We have a number of books and videos on this topic that you’re welcome to borrow from our lending library.

We strongly recommend that at there is someone at the birth whose designated role it is to look after your child(ren). This way there is someone (besides you or your partner) can make sure that their needs are met. This also gives your child(ren) the freedom to come and go from where you’re labouring/birthing, and giving you the option for some privacy if desired.

We recommend that this role is not taken on by your partner in order for you to have your partner’s support and attention. However, if your partner is the best person for the role of looking after your child(ren), then we suggest that you invite another family member, friend or doula to support you.

Most people who choose midwives share a common goal of unmedicated childbirth. Midwives are experts in normal birth and possess skills and experience to assist you in birthing your baby with minimal intervention and without the use of medications. Your midwife can offer suggestions, recommendations, and additional resources on unmedicated pain relief options for labour to help you prepare.

That being said, there are instances where pain medications may be medically indicated and/or may be preferred or desired, depending on how your labour is unfolding. As midwives, we support and respect your right to informed choice around pain relief in labour. If you plan to use medication/epidural for labour and birth, your needs may be better met with traditional medical care.

Your midwife continues to care for both you and your baby after your birth until your baby is six weeks old. After six weeks postpartum, your care is transferred back to your family doctor or other primary care provider. If your baby needs extra care then we’ll refer you to a paediatrician for assessment and/or ongoing care.

Your midwife will see you frequently in the first week after your birth to help you with breastfeeding and to ensure that both you and your baby are healthy and thriving. These visits usually take place at your home, but may happen in hospital if you’ve been admitted for additional care. After the first week you’ll have an additional 2-3 visits in clinic before your care wraps up.

  • Aurora Midwifery