Midwifery FAQs

When should I call to get a midwife?
You can call at any point during your pregnancy. Many factors influence availability, such as midwife holidays, and spots are filled on a first come first served basis. If we are unable to accommodate your due date, we will offer space on our wait list. If you are not immediately offered a spot with our clinic, one may become available later and we will contact you.

Occasionally vacancies are also available later in pregnancy. Do not hesitate to call regardless of your due date, or previous care provider.

Can I have a midwife and a doctor?
No, you cannot have a physician and midwife as your primary health care providers. Midwives, obstetricians and family physicians are all considered primary health care providers in Ontario. To have two primary health care providers is a duplication of health care services.

If your pregnancy requires guidance from a specialist, your midwife will arrange the consultation with the appropriate health care provider. In most cases, your midwife will remain as the primary health care provider. Occasionally, a transfer of care to another primary health care provider may be more appropriate.

What is the difference between a doula and a midwife?
A birth doula is a trained labour support person who provides emotional and physical support to a laboring person. While they are not medical professionals, they can offer a wide range of comfort measures. You would find and pay your doula yourself. Doula services are not covered by the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care. If you are considering having a doula at your birth, talk about it with your midwife.

How are midwives trained and regulated?
Registered midwives complete a four-year undergraduate university degree through the Ontario Midwifery Education Program offered at Ryerson University, Laurentian University or McMaster University.

If a midwife’s education and training is from outside of Canada, they will complete the International Midwifery Pre-Registration Program, offered through Ryerson University.

The College of Midwives of Ontario licenses midwives upon completion of their training. Newly registered midwives are required to complete a mentorship year with an experienced midwife

Do I have to pay for a midwife? What if I don’t have OHIP?
No, you will not have to pay for a midwife. Midwifery funding is made possible through the Ministry of Health and Long Term care. People without OHIP may also receive midwifery care without charge. However, routine tests and screens or hospital births will not be covered for uninsured women.

Are there any reasons why I can’t have a midwife?
Yes. People with certain pre-existing medical conditions fall outside the midwifery scope of care and will need to be followed by an obstetrician, such as insulin dependent diabetes. Midwives will complete a full medical history at your booking visit and discuss whether midwifery care is an appropriate option for you.

What happens if there are complications during my pregnancy?
Sometimes complications arise in pregnancy. When care falls outside of the scope of midwives, we will offer you a consultation with an obstetrician to receive recommendations about how your care should proceed. Rarely, clinical situations are no longer considered low risk and therefore your care falls outside the midwifery scope of practice. In these situations, your midwife will suggest a transfer of care to an obstetrician.

Do I need to see a doctor after I have my baby?
No, you do not need to see a doctor after your birth. Midwives are trained to follow women and babies with normal vaginal or cesarean deliveries until six weeks postpartum.

Your baby will be required to see a pediatrician or a family doctor at eight weeks old. At your final visit with your midwives, a letter will be provided for your baby’s next health care provider with the details of your birth and how your baby has progressed.

When a baby or mothers medical situation falls outside the midwifery scope of care, a transfer of care to another health care provider, such as an obstetrician or a pediatrician, may be required. If this occurs, your midwife will discuss this with you in detail.

Will there be a doctor at my birth?
A doctor will not be in attendance at your birth unless a transfer of care has taken place or the clinical situation requires a pediatrician to be present to look after the baby at birth.

Midwives practice within the standards, guidelines and risk-screening protocols of the College of Midwives of Ontario. We maintain current neonatal resuscitation, CPR, and Emergency Skills certification to safely manage normal, low risk births.

Who will be at my birth?
Usually, a midwife on your primary team and a midwife on your back up team and/or senior student will attend your birth, whether at home or hospital. In some cases, your midwife and an obstetrician will attend your birth if the situation requires it.

Sometimes, a pediatrician and/or a respiratory therapist may also be in attendance.

Very rarely births occur at the same time. If this happens and your primary midwife cannot attend you in labour, your back up team will be called. When these unique circumstances occur, we do our best to maintain continuity of care.

What does ‘early discharge’ mean?
Midwives routinely offer discharge home from the hospital within three hours of the birth. This is a suitable option after normal, spontaneous vaginal deliveries without complications.

Midwives are able to offer early discharge because we visit you at home within 24 hours of the birth to check you and your baby’s wellbeing, assist you with breastfeeding and offer you advice in the comfort of your own home.

Will a midwife run the same tests and order the same ultrasounds that a doctor would?
Yes. Midwives offer the same standard of care that you would receive if you were under the care of a family doctor or an obstetrician. Midwives will discuss each test and ultrasound they offer so you are fully informed and can make a decision about the care that best suits you and your family. Midwives also adhere to the same schedule of appointments you would receive under the care of a family doctor or obstetrician.

Where can I have my baby?
Midwives are trained to conduct birth at home or in the hospital. If you choose to have a hospital birth, the midwives at Midwife Alliance hold privileges at St. Joseph’s Health Centre on the Queensway. SJHC – Family Birthing Centre

Midwives carry equipment to conduct home births for  low risk pregnancies. If you are interested or curious about home birth, your midwives are happy to discuss home birth with you at your prenatal appointments.

Our midwives also hold privileges at the Toronto Birth Centre.

Midwifery in Ontario

Professional Organizations

Association of Ontario Midwives

College of Midwives

Canadian Pediatric Society

Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists