What is a Midwife?

Midwife means “with woman”. A midwife is a specialist in normal pregnancy and birth. She works with other caregivers to provide families and their babies the best possible care during the childbearing year. In Alberta and around the world, midwives have excellent outcomes.

What is a midwife?

What kind of training do midwives have?
All Registered Midwives in Alberta have the equivalent of a Bachelor’s Degree in Midwifery. They demonstrate  a high level of competency as required by the Midwifery Health Disciplines Committee through rigorous written, clinical and oral examinations. Yearly certification is required in CPR (Cardiopulmonary Resusitation), Neonatal Resuscitation, Emergency Skills and a variety of other workshops. – AAM site

Midwives are trained specialists who care for pregnant people throughout pregnancy and childbirth. More than 80% of babies worldwide are born into the caring, skillful hands of a midwife. The College of Midwives of Alberta is the regulatory body charged with ensuring the delivery of quality midwifery services.

College of Midwives of Alberta

Is midwifery care safe?
There is a large body of evidence that supports midwifery care as a safe choice for low-risk healthy clients. In fact, researchers found that clients and babies did better on average in countries where midwifery was the norm.

FACT: Midwifery clients experienced lower rates of forceps, vacuum extractions, cesarean sections, episiotomies, infections and babies born requiring resuscitation, in studies where midwifery was compared to physician led care.’- AAM site

Can I birth in a hospital with a Midwife?

Yes. Registered Midwives in Alberta maintain hospital privileges so they can provide comprehensive care in all settings. Midwives support a families’ right to choose the place of birth and offer in-hospital or out-of-hospital births. Some midwives will attend births in free standing birth centres or even in a hotel. Clients should discuss their birth plan with their midwife.

What does it cost to have midwifery care?
Midwifery care in Alberta has been fully funded by Alberta Health Services since April 2009. You can expect to spend approximately $75 on supplies to get ready for the birth if you choose a home birth. If you would like a waterbirth at home or hospital then a single use waterbirth kit and use of pool will cost approximately $100.

How often do I see my midwife?
Midwives typically welcome clients into care between 8-10wks, when they have an initial appointment. They are then seen every 4 wks until 30wks of pregnancy, then every 2wks until 40wks of pregnancy. They are then offered weekly visits until 41wks of pregnancy. Then every 2-3 days after this. When labour progresses the midwife goes to the client’s home to assess progress and remains with the woman through active labour and delivery, either in the woman’s home, or in the hospital. Typically 3-4hrs after the birth if the client and baby are stable, the woman will be discharged home by the midwife from the hospital. If the birth occurred at home, the midwife will leave at this point. In the post-partum period, 2-3 visits are conducted in your home for the first week following the birth. In some cases, more visits are required (ie breastfeeding). Subsequent visits at 2 and 6 weeks take place at our clinic until care is transferred back to your family physician, around six weeks after your baby arrives.. The client has access to her midwife 24hrs/7days a week throughout her care. Appointments are anywhere from 30-60 minutes in length.

What if I live outside Rocky House?
We primarily provide care to women in the Rocky Mountain House area. If you live outside of this area we may be able to offer you care, depending on availability. However, we only attend home births within a 1 hour radius of Rocky Mountain House. If you are from outside of this area and would like care with West Country Midwives then you must attend all prenatal appointments at our clinic in Rocky Mountain House and travel to Rocky Mountain House Healthcare Center  for birth or find a suitable arrangement outside of the hospital in this community.  We also ask that if you travel here for the birth, that you be willing to stay in the area for 3-5 days so we can provide complete postpartum care.

How do I access care?
Please fill out our patient intake form on our contact page and we will contact you if we are able to accept you into care. Please continue to receive care with your primary provider until you hear from us.

Do I need to see a doctor?
Clients under midwifery care do not see an Obstetrician or family physician in addition to their midwife for pregnancy related care. Midwives are able to consult with these providers when necessary and/or medically indicated. – AAM site

What is the difference between a doula and a midwife?
Midwives are trained to provide all necessary medical care and ensure the health and well-being of you and your baby. Doulas do not provide medical care, and do not deliver babies. Doulas work as a part of the team, with a midwife, doctor and nurse. Doulas provide continuous emotional and physical support to the labouring woman and her partner, and are a positive addition to the birth team for those couples who desire this support. – AAM site

Why should I have a doula?
See following links:

What is a Doula?



Can I have an epidural or other pain medications if I have a midwife?
Midwives have a low intervention style of care. This is based on our belief, supported by research, that the physiological process of birth works best without interference. For example, midwives use natural alternatives such as water, position changes and continuous labour support to help cope with pain in labour as opposed to the routine use of drugs and birth technology. Although sometimes necessary, epidurals, drugs, and other medical technology are regarded by midwives as tools rather than routine interventions. – AAM site