Growing importance of midwives worth celebrating

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International Day of the Midwife 2014

An awareness campaign during the International Day of the Midwife on May 5 is hoping to raise the profile of the roll of midwives in healthcare.

Saskatchewan boasts only 15 funded midwifery positions in the entire province and are employed in less than half of the Regional Health Authorities across Saskatchewan. In the Southwest, a midwife position has only be in existence for fewer than five years, so information is still getting out about the importance and benefits of midwives.

"Midwiffery care is very woman-centred care. They only take on low risk women who are pregnant," explained Amy Casson from Trusted Instincts Birth Services, who serves as a Birth Doula, Postpartum Doula, Childbirth Educator.

Women also benefit from hour long appointment which are very comprehensive and allow for a real exchange of ideas.

"You get lots of information that helps you in your decision making, and it is very helpful to have that. And you can get feedback from them and bounce ideas off them."

"Also, the hour long appointments help to really build a relationship with your midwife so that she can provide a personalized birthing experience for her clients. It also helps with increased trust between client and midwife and helps the birthing mom to feel comfortable while in labour and giving birth."

Midwives are able to order tests and assessments including ultrasounds during pregnancy and diagnostic tests for newborns. They are also able to prescribe and administer many common

drugs that are used during pregnancy, birth, and throughout the postpartum period.

The Midwives Association of Saskatchewan website highlights a long series of benefits, noting that midwifes provide a high standard of care for mothers, babies and families and midwives can be an important part of maternity care.

"Midwives collaborate with other professionals to ensure their clients receive the best possible care when the needs of the client exceed the scope of practice of the midwife. Collaborative care involves the cooperation of various professionals in the provision of care. In situations where transfer of care to a physician is required, the midwife is expected to continue providing supportive care after transfer and will resume primary care if appropriate. Collaboration with other health care providers occurs with informed client choice," Casson said.

As part of their awareness efforts, a series of local women provided their perspectives on the benefits of midwives.

Story submitted from Ashley Peterson

When I was accepted into the midwifery program in 2010, it was still fairly new to the area. I heard about the program through a friend, and my mind was instantly set on experiencing midwifery to its fullest - but I had no idea how much value and impact this would have on my family. When I went for the initial consultation with Maud, her calm and profound nature instantly captivated me. This was my first pregnancy and I had a lot of anxieties, but Maud instantly put me at ease. At the end of the meeting, I was surprised that she actually had to ask if I wished to enrol into the program - I mean, who wouldn’t?!

Over the course of the next few months, I shared my stories and excitement of the midwifery program with family, friends, and co-workers. During these conversations, I was generally asked questions like “oh, you’re doing a water birth in your living room?”,  “you won’t be allowed any pain relief”, “are you sure this is safe?”, and “how much does that cost?” – which, kind of infuriated me. How could people be so ignorant to what this amazing woman offers to women. Needless to say, since the first time I met Maud, I have been trying to shape the minds of many people, and to squash the myths of midwifery one at a time!

Since the midwifery program was first rolled out with Cypress Health Region Maud and her team have grown the program leaps and bounds. The stories of the amazing experiences have swept across the entire southwest and the midwives have done an exceptional job of endearing themselves in the hearts of so many. The personal nature of Midwifery empowers women to appreciate and care for their bodies during prenatal stages, be educated about labor and delivery, and make strong, confident  decisions in the delivery room.

As a first time mother Maud gave me the knowledge, confidence and support I needed to endure a long, painful labour. Much to my dismay, I ended up going for an emergency C-section 36 hours after my labor was induced due to bleeding. Maud stayed right by my side as the anesthesiologist prepared me for the surgery, she held my hand in the OR, and was the person who introduced me to my beautiful baby girl while I laid on the operating table. Even though my birthing experience was the complete opposite of what I hoped, it was still truly amazing and Maud made sure I knew that the delivery of my baby was nothing short of a miracle.

Maud visited my family in the hospital the day after the surgery – even before the surgeon made it back to check on me! Maud told me how strong I was and to call her if I had any questions about the baby. After I was discharged, she also made two house calls to check up on my healing, helped to establish nursing and came equipped with tips and tricks on how to care for a newborn. I’m sorry, but this is absolutely unheard of in the medical industry!

If there is somebody out there reading this, who has considered midwifery but isn’t quite sure, please do not hesitate. This program will completely change your outlook on childbirth and it could possibly change the entire course of your prenatal care and birth plan for the better.

Story submitted from Kalaane Lemyre

The midwives supported and respected me as a woman and new mother. I felt very capable to give birth naturally, as women have done it since the beginning of times! When I felt weaker they encouraged me to stay faithful to my choices. I have a beautiful healthy baby boy and I recovered nicely, feeling stronger and more confident than before. Thank you to the three of you!

Story submitted from Kendra Dyrland

Maud made the birth of my children enjoyable.  I felt empowered, loved and supported through both of my pregnancies and deliveries. I can not say enough amazing things about my experience with the midwifery program.

Story submitted from Jennelle Carlier

I always knew I wanted the birth of my children to be as natural as possible and was extremely excited to learn of the then newly instated midwifery program in the health region!

My first child, Aspen, came early and I was sent outside of the health region for the birth. The midwife could not come with me. I had no advocate for what I wanted and the process was stressful, with medical intervention pushed on me by hospital staff.

With my second pregnancy, I was once again with the wonderful midwife, Maud and student midwife Joanna. I was well looked after. The midwives had worked hard to get approval and funding for a birthing tub at the hospital and Sage was the first baby to be born under water in the Cypress Health Region! Maud and Joanna kept me grounded and focused, the birth was not only intervention free, but the beautiful experience I always wanted (okay, as beautiful as that pain can be). I will always be grateful to those wonderful women who treated me with the respect an expecting/new mother deserves. I was always well informed by them so as to make decisions that were best for me and my pregnancy. And with their knowledge and experience, knew I was getting the best care available.

Maud is still coming by to monitor our progress at home appointments and our whole family is always looking forward to seeing her bright smile.

Story submitted from Jennifer Akre

I absolutely loved my experience with my midwife (Maud). My little boy will be a year old in July.  

Giving birth to my son with a midwife changed my outlook on birth from painful to magical. I found all my appointment very personal and trustworthy. Being a new mom you have so many question and worries they help put my mind at ease at all time. She was always there when I needed anything.

My deliver was long and hard back pain and I wanted to do it all natural and she was on board for everything I wanted in my birth plan. She never left my side and she was there to tell me off when I need as I am a very stubborn person. I loved how she check up on me at the house and made it so welcoming and helpful.

I loved how she connected not just with me but with my family as well. They have never experienced a midwife before ad they said it was amazing how they so such great work.

My son was born July 11/13 8lb 1oz 21in long and healthy.

I will be having a midwife for all my children and hopefully have then water birth and at home.

Story submitted by Patricia Dyrland

We delivered our second baby with Maud and have nothing but wonderful things to say. She gets to know you, genuinely cares about you and provides you with a wealth of knowledge. Our birth was a little out of 'the ordinary' and we would not have had the positive experience and results we did without all of her care, compassion, thoughts and encouraging words. We will be delivering out next baby under her care!

Story submitted by Amy Casson

Arian was my midwife for my third pregnancy. I loved having the care of a midwife and I feel it really helped in my decision making. Longer appointment times and the amount of information that you have a chance to go through can really help in making informed decisions. I feel that this helps a woman feel good about all decisions made, even if her labour and birth turn out differently than planned. I really loved the postpartum care that Cameron and I received as well. Having the midwives come out to do aftercare is really a blessing. A newly postpartum mother should really be resting and healing up from the birth, so not having to get other children as well as myself dressed and drive in was definitely a benefit.

Organizations: Midwives Association of Saskatchewan

Geographic location: Saskatchewan

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