Ontario Midwives to Deliver 1,200 More Babies

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TORONTO, Aug. 22 /CNW/ - The Association of Ontario Midwives (AOM) welcomes today's announcement by the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care and the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities to invest in midwifery care. As a result of today's investment, each year there will be an additional 1,200 women, and newborns, who will be able to access midwifery care.

"Government clearly understands that Ontario needs more midwives now," says Kelly Stadelbauer, AOM Executive Director. "The expansion of midwifery is a significant step in addressing the overwhelming need for midwives across the province. Last year, while 10,000 pregnant women were able to access midwifery care, 6000 additional pregnant women seeking midwifery care could not be accommodated due to the current shortage of practitioners."

Currently, there are over 400 registered midwives in the province, delivering approximately 8% of births. Midwives provide primary care in low-risk situations, which account for approximately 80% of all pregnancies. As a result of this announcement, the Midwifery Education Program will be able to boost their admission number from 60 to 90 students.

"The expansion of midwifery is a clear and welcomed sign that government values the contributions of midwifery to the well-being of women and babies," says Lisa Weston, AOM Vice President. "The midwifery model, based on health promotion, leads to a low rate of complications and interventions, short hospital stays and a low rate of hospital readmissions. Not only is this beneficial for women and babies, but it also means cost savings to the health system."

In addition to the current shortage of midwives, a maternity care crisis has been threatening Ontario. Recent expert reports (including the Ontario Maternity Care Expert Panel) show that in five years from now 10,000 pregnant women in Ontario will not have any maternity care provider at all.

"Today's announcement is a good first step. Investing in midwifery is the right thing to do. Midwives have a central role in addressing the looming maternity care crisis. We are experts in pregnancy and birth. It's all we do. It's what we know. We look forward to continuing to work with government to ensure that all pregnant women in Ontario have excellent care and that all newborns have the best possible start in life," says Ms. Weston.

The Association of Ontario Midwives represents Registered Midwives and promotes the profession of midwifery in Ontario.

For further information: Juana Berinstein, Director of Policy and Communication, Office: (416) 425-9974 or 1 (866) 418-3773, Mobile: (416) 371-1468