Midwifery is a busy, fast paced profession with a deep impact on Alberta families. Find news releases, official statements, and information regarding current midwifery issues.
Photo by Helga Himer
There are new midwives in the medicine Hat Region. Carissa Murry joined the Medicine Hat Midwives Team, and a sister clinic, Prairie Rose Midwifery is opening in Brooks with Cherry Maclagan. They join midwife Terrie Shaw in providing coverage in the region. Hospital privileges have been in place in Medicine Hat since January 2017, and have been extended to the Brooks hospital as well, giving women the option to birth at home or in the hospital with a midwife in attendance. Shaw says about half her clients choose a home birth, and on a personal level she says home births are her favourite: “I love the atmosphere - a spiritual experience.”
Tiffany Boulton, a University of Lethbridge researcher, has received funds from the Parkland Institute to explore the impacts of lack of access to midwifery care. She will interview midwives on the length of their wait lists, who they serve, who they see as underserved, and the challenges faced by midwives, as well as an analysis of local, regional and provincial policy.
We are currently experiencing difficulty with our province-wide Client Management System. Users (clients and administrators) do not currently have access and the CMS is not reliably accepting registrations from potential clients. As a result, the site has been taken down temporarily and those accessing the site will see a notice to this effect.
The Markham Stouffville Hospital in Ontario has opened up a Midwifery Unit, “a midwife-run and operated space that administrators say is the first of its kind in Canada. It is the latest step toward the advancement of midwifery in the country as an autonomous profession.” Ontario and Alberta were the first provinces to legally recognize midwifery in 1994, but access to birth centres is still limited, with long wait lists, and some women wish to, or need to deliver at a hospital but still want a midwife at their birth. Midwife Carol Cameron, says some hospitals still limit the number of midwives that can use their facilties. “It’s time that we did this on our own and cut the strings, if you will,” she said. [Editor’s Note: See this article from 2007 about the midwife-led Shared Care program at the hospital in Stony Plain, Alberta.]
Danielle Voyageur of the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation joined 14 health care providers along with an Alberta Health Services representative at a day-long workshop in Fort McMurray on midwifery services for rural and Indigenous communities in the region. Evelyn George, with the National Aboriginal Council of Midwives, says their goal is to “bring birth back” to Indigenous communities by bringing midwifery to the area, and by empowering First Nation Métis and Inuit people to join the profession. The Wood Buffalo Woman and Baby Care Association says the current practice of taking women away from their communities to birth is more likely to produce trauma than empowerment. AHS says it will work with the Wood Buffalo Woman and Baby Care Association to improve midwifery access in Alberta’s North.
We are pleased to announce that the Board of Directors has unanimously agreed to appoint Pablita Thomas as Interim Chief Executive Officer effective April 1, 2018 based in Calgary and she has graciously accepted the appointment. Lolly de Jonge will remain with us as a Special Advisor to the Board and staff on a part time basis to provide ongoing management services, advice and mentorship.
The NR Program 2018 is now open to Midwives in and out of Alberta, in addition to 4th year students who become qualified this year.
An index of open positions, and job application reference materials can be found in the links below.
(Job details will be closed from view as letters of intent are issued).
Three northern Alberta maternity advocacy groups are calling on Alberta Health Services to fund more midwife positions in the region. The groups say midwifery services are being stretched too thin and that too few communities have access to them.
"We are very underserved," said Jennifer Stephenson, chair of the Fort McMurray-based Wood Buffalo Woman and Baby Care Association.