What is a midwife?

Midwives are experienced primary health care professionals. We are experts in normal, low risk pregnancy, birth and newborn care. We promote a natural approach to childbirth, focusing on prevention of complications, answering questions, and accessing medical technology as needed. If complications arise, we work with other health care providers, such as doctors, dieticians and complementary therapists.

Midwives offer you the choice to give birth at home or in the hospital. We provide care in both settings.

Midwifery has a long history of helping pregnant women have safe and healthy births. In Ontario, midwifery has been regulated since 1994. We are all registered with the College of Midwives of Ontario, a regulatory body which sets professional standards and ensures the quality and safety of midwifery services.

Do I have to pay for midwifery care in Ontario?

No! Midwifery Care is paid for by the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care so there is no cost to clients with OHIP. For those clients without OHIP, the midwifery services are still free, however you may encounter charges for necessary lab fees, ultrasound costs and for the hospital stay if you are planning a hospital birth, but nothing further.

Choosing Midwifery Care…

The Quinte Midwives is a practice of midwives who provide care to the greater Quinte region. With Belleville as our central point, our catchment area includes Prince Edward County to the south, east to Napanee, west to Colborne and north to Madoc.

We provide respectful, compassionate care to you with consideration for your unique life situation. We welcome everyone.

We aim to develop a comfortable and trusting relationship with you. We encourage the involvement of your partner, children and/or other support people in your pregnancy and birthing experience.

For more information please visit our Midwifery Care page.

Can I have a midwife and a doctor?

You can have either a doctor or a midwife for your pregnancy, birth and newborn care. Midwives, obstetricians and family physicians are all considered primary caregivers. A primary caregiver takes sole responsibility for your care. Having two caregivers is viewed as a duplication of health care services. If a health care concern arises beyond the scope of midwifery care, your midwife would consult with the appropriate health care professional. Occasionally, this may result in a transfer of care to an obstetrician, or for your baby to a pediatrician. If your care is transferred, your midwife remains with you in a supportive role. However, a majority of low risk women remain under the sole care of a midwife.

Do I need a referral to make an appointment with a midwife ?

No! If you wish to use the services of a midwife, you need only contact us (see below) and once accepted into care, your midwife will be your primary care provider. This means that you do not need to see your doctor at the same time as you are under midwifery care, as this would be a duplication of services. If a referral becomes necessary due to a high risk health concern, then your midwife will discuss this with you and consult accordingly.

When Should I Contact Quinte Midwives to Set-up Care?

As the demand for midwives is greater than the number of midwives available, it is best to contact us as soon as you find out you are pregnant.  Sometimes we can accommodate women later in pregnancy too, so contact us to see if a spot is available.  You will also have the option to go on our wait list if a spot is not currently available.  To contact us, use the ‘Interested in Care?’ tab on the website or call the office. We do not require confirmation of your pregnancy by blood test or a doctor’s referral.

Can I have a hospital birth with midwives?

Yes, absolutely. One of the benefits of midwifery care is deciding, with the advice from your midwife, where you would like to give birth, home or hospital. Registered midwives hold privileges in many hospitals across Ontario.

The Quinte Midwives have hospital privileges at Quinte Health Care – Belleville General and Northumberland Hills Hospital.

How often do I see a midwife?

Midwives work collaboratively to provide the 24-hour care so women receive care from a small number of partnered midwives. Visits to a midwifery clinic occur on a regular basis, during which time your midwife provides clinical examinations, blood and urine tests, counseling and education and can order an ultrasound. The initial appointment occurs around 11 weeks and lasts for approximately one and a half hours allowing enough time for information sharing and questions. Prenatal appointments after that follow the standard obstetric care model, once a month for the first 28 weeks, every two weeks until 36 weeks and then once a week until your baby is born. Postpartum care for you and your baby continues for six weeks after birth. The midwife will visit your home or in hospital within 24 hours of the baby’s birth and will offer home visits as needed within the first week postpartum to support and assist you with infant feeding, newborn health and care and to monitor your health and well being. Visits will then continue in the clinic until the final visit at six weeks.

Can I have pain medication with midwives?

This is your choice and your midwife will explore your options for pain medication with you further when you meet her if this is something you are interested in. Again, with the recommendations from your midwife, the choices are yours!

What is the difference between a midwife and a doula?

A midwife is a trained primary caregiver who provides care to women throughout their low risk pregnancy, labour and birth, and provides care to both mother and baby during the first six weeks following the birth. Like a doula, she too provides emotional and physical support to labouring women and their partners, but also can tend to the low risk medical needs of healthy pregnant women. A midwife is held accountable by the College of Midwives of Ontario, whose job it is to ensure midwives provide safe and appropriate care.

A birth doula is a trained labour support person who provides emotional and physical support to a labouring woman and her partner. While she is not a medical professional, she can offer a wide range of comfort measures during labour from massage to aromatherapy as well as continuous reassurance and coping techniques. A doula does not order medical tests, does not perform vaginal exams, and does not provide clinical advice nor clinically manage any situation which may arise. Doula support is not covered by O.H.I.P.

How do I become a midwife?

Midwife qualify for registration with the College of Midwives of Ontario either by graduating from the Ontario Midwifery Education Program, a four year university degree program, at McMaster, Ryerson or Laurentian Universities or the International Midwifery Pre-registration Program offered through Ryerson University’s continuing education division. Midwives must then complete their New Registrant year with an established practice, after which they are then considered to be a General Registrant and can practice where they wish. For more information please visit www.cmo.on.ca.