Registered Midwives are health professionals who provide expert primary care for healthy low-risk pregnant clients and their babies throughout pregnancy, birth and the first six weeks postpartum. Registered Midwives in Nova Scotia are integrated into the provincial health system and work collaboratively with physicians, nurses and other health professionals to provide the best possible maternity and newborn care.
Because the demand for midwifery care is high, it is best to contact a midwife as soon as you find out you’re pregnant. It’s also beneficial to start prenatal care early in your pregnancy. You can make an appointment to see a midwife without a referral.
You can choose either a midwife or a doctor for primary maternity care. When you have a midwife, she is your primary care provider during pregnancy, birth and the postpartum, and you will not need to see a doctor unless there’s a medical reason to consult.
Midwifery services are available at three provincial sites:
Midwifery education in Canada is a four-year university degree program that includes extensive clinical experience along with academic studies. Midwives who have trained in other countries must complete a Canadian assessment and bridging program to qualify for registration. Registered Midwives are regulated and licensed by the Midwifery Regulatory Council of Nova Scotia (MRCNS). Midwifery has been regulated in Nova Scotia since 2009. Nova Scotia currently does not have a midwifery education program.
If a health concern or complication arises during pregnancy, birth or afterward, a midwife will consult or refer to a physician as needed (see Indications for Consultation or Transfer of Care set by the MRCNS). The midwife will continue to provide support and appropriate primary care for the client and their baby (for example, after a caesarean section). Midwives are trained to identify early signs of complications, manage emergencies and ensure that the clients receive necessary care.
Doulas offer emotional and physical support to women in labour. Doulas are not trained to provide medical or midwifery care, or deliver babies. For women who want extra support, a doula can be a positive addition to the birth team. Doula services are not offered by the provincial health care system or covered by MSI.Share
Approximately 375 breast surgeries will be performed annually at the IWK, with approximately 3,000 visits to the Breast Health Clinic.