Frequently Asked Questions

How much does it cost to have a midwife?

Midwifery care is covered by MSP (medical services plan) - so if you have a BC Care Card then it will not cost you anything. The only possible additional cost is for those planning a homebirth and who will need a few supplies to get ready for their birth. Your midwife can answer your questions about what you need - most women spend about $50.

If you do not have a BC Care Card it may be possible to arrange to pay privately for your care. Please contact us to discuss whether this is an option for you.

Can I have a midwife and have my baby in the hospital?

Absolutely. Midwives are trained to catch babies both at home and in the hospital. Your midwife can help you decide which place of birth is right for you.

When should I call to make my first appointment with a midwife?

Contact us as soon as you know you are pregnant. Midwives take on a relatively small number of clients each month to ensure that they are able to provide the personalized care that each woman deserves. However, if you are further along in your pregnancy and are now considering midwifery care please contact us as there is always a possibility that we will be able to take you as a client.

Why do midwives say that they "catch" babies and not say they "deliver" babies?

Women deliver babies - they are the ones doing all of the challenging work of delivering the baby while the midwife is there to ensure the safety of mom and babe, to offer support and guidance, and to catch the baby.

Why do some midwives call themselves registered midwives?

There is an organization in British Columbia called the College if Midwives of British Columbia. Its role is to protect the public's interest as it relates to midwifery care in BC. They create policies and guidelines for midwifery care and they ensure that all midwives registered with them meet their high standards for training and experience. Midwives who are members of this College are called registered midwives. By choosing a registered midwife you can be certain that she has met the College's standards for education and experience. In addition, registered midwives are able to provide care for women and babies at home and in the hospital. They can order the tests that you choose to have and the medications that you may want or need. For more information on the College please visit: http://www.cmbc.bc.ca

What kinds of women choose to have a midwife as their caregiver?

A very wide range of women have appreciated the care that their midwives have given them. We provide personalized care and look forward to meeting you and helping you to have a healthy and fulfilling experience of pregnancy, childbirth and the early weeks of your baby's life.

What is the difference between a midwife and a doula?

Midwives and doulas have different but also overlapping roles. Some women choose to have both a midwife and a doula at their birth. You might also consider having a doula at your birth if your caregiver is a family doctor or obstetrician.

"A doula who accompanies a woman in labor mothers the mother, taking care of her emotional needs throughout childbirth. A doula also provides support and suggestions for partners that can enhance their experiences of birth. A postpartum doula continues that valuable emotional support and guidance, helping a family make a smooth transition into new family dynamics"
            - definition from the Doula Association of North America.

"The midwife is recognized as a responsible and accountable professional who works in partnership with women to give the necessary support, care and advice during pregnancy, labour and the postpartum period, to conduct births on the midwife's own responsibility and to provide care for the newborn and the infant. This care includes preventative measures, the promotion of normal birth, the detection of complications in the mother and child, the accessing of medical care or other appropriate assistance when necessary and the carrying out of emergency measures when necessary."
            - definition from the International Confederation of Midwives

How often do I come for prenatal visits?

You would see your midwife in the clinic every 4-5 weeks until you are 28 weeks pregnant; then every 2-3 weeks until you are 36 weeks pregnant. After 36 weeks you see your midwife every week until you have the baby. The visit schedule is not rigid in order to ensure that you get the personalized care that you need. If you are planning a homebirth your midwife will come to your home for the prenatal visit that occurs around 36 weeks.

How long are prenatal visits?

For most of your pregnancy the visits are 45 minutes long. This gives you and your midwife lots of time to answer questions and to help you prepare for birth and for looking after a newborn. After 36 weeks, when you are coming to see your midwife weekly, the visits are usually 30 minutes. These visits are shorter because you are seeing us so frequently. Women having their second or more baby might not want or need such long visits - please discuss this with your midwife.

Can I have a doctor and a midwife?

If you choose a midwife she will be the one looking after you during your pregnancy, labour and birth, and taking care of you and your baby until six weeks after your baby's birth. You may choose to see your doctor once in the beginning of your pregnancy, and if you have health concerns that are not related to pregnancy (for example bronchitis). If you aren't sure if your concern is related to pregnancy just ask your midwife and she can help you to get the care you need.

How many midwives would look after me?

There are two teams of midwives at Bloom. The first team is made up of three midwives. Their clients meet and get to know all three of these midwives during their prenatal care. The midwife who is on call when a client goes in to labour will be the midwife who cares for her and catches her baby. Clients and their babies are looked after by all three of these midwives after their births. The second "team" is made up of one midwife. She provides all the prenatal care for her clients, attends their births, and looks after them and their babies after the birth. Her clients meet a midwife from the other team towards the end of their pregnancy. This midwife will be her back up midwife in case her primary midwife is ill or is on holiday

Can my partner and/or my other children come to my prenatal visits?

Of course. This decision is yours to make. We welcome your whole family and we appreciate meeting your partner and answering his or her questions. We love to include children in your prenatal care - they can help the midwife listen to the baby's heart and measure your belly as it grows. We also have plenty of books and toys for them to play with.

I am considering having my other child/children at my birth - is this a good idea?

It can be a great experience for children to be at the births of their siblings. It is a good idea to prepare them for birth - the look of it, the sounds. In addition, we strongly recommend that you have someone at your birth whose role it is to look after your child/children. This way someone (who is not you or your partner) can make sure that they eat and nap if needed. This also gives your child/children the option to come and go from where you are in labour/birthing, and gives you the option for some time away from them if desired. We recommend that this role is not taken on by your partner in order for you to have your partner's support and attention. However, if your partner is the best person for the role of looking after the child/children, then we suggest that you invite another family member, friend or doula to support you.

Can I have the option of using medications for pain relief if I have midwifery care?

Yes. This is your birth and we truly want it to be an experience that you leave feeling listened to, well supported, and proud of your achievement - regardless of how it unfolds. We encourage you to remain open to different options as birth is a journey that cannot entirely be predicted nor controlled. Midwives are experts in normal birth and possess skills and experience to assist women to birth their babies with minimal intervention and without the use of medications. Your midwife can answer your questions about the ways to help you with your labour and birth ranging from the use of heat and water to narcotics and epidurals.

Who looks after me and the baby after the birth?

Your midwife continues to look after both you and your baby after the birth until your little one is 6 weeks old. At this time your family doctor or naturopath resumes your care and your babies. If your baby needs extra care then a pediatrician will look after him or her.

Your midwife will see you very frequently in the first week after your birth to help you with breastfeeding and to ensure that both you and the baby are healthy and happy. These visits happen in the hospital (if that's where you are) or at home. After the first week you will visit with your midwife when your baby is 2 weeks old, 4 weeks old and 6 weeks old. These visits happen in the clinic.

What kind of training do registered midwives have?

Registered Midwives practicing in BC have various education backgrounds. Some were trained through apprenticeship training models, some were educated in other countries such as England and Australia, and others attended university based education programs in Canada. In BC, the University of British Columbia has a four year Midwifery training Bachelor program in the Faculty of Medicine. Midwives have up-to-date certification in emergency skills for both mothers and newborns

Regardless of how they are trained, all registered Midwives have met the stringent criteria set out by the College of Midwives of BC in order to practice in BC. As a pregnant woman you can feel confident that you will have a highly skilled professional caring for you.

What happens if I develop complications with my pregnancy or during my labour?

Midwives are skilled at caring for healthy women and their babies. They are also skilled at identifying concerns as they arise. If your midwife is concerned she will discuss this with you and then arrange for you to be seen by another medical professional, most likely an obstetrician, or for your baby to be seen by a pediatrician. The same is true during labour and birth. If a concern develops during this process your midwife will arrange for an obstetrician to meet you and to provide their assistance. In most cases, even if you or your baby needs the help of other medical professionals, your midwives will continue to be involved in your care. For more detailed information on reasons that your midwives may recommend that you meet with other professionals please visit: www.cmbc.bc.ca/pdf.shtml?Indications-for-Discussion-Consultation-and-Transfer-of-Care