Canadian Midwifery Regulators Consortium
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Canadian Versus Other Midwifery Practices

There are some key differences in the way that midwifery is practised in Canada versus the way it is practised in many other parts of the world.

Common Midwifery Practice Outside Canada Canadian Midwifery Practice
High volume: Low volume:
Midwives attend many births over the course of a year. Midwives provide primary care for approximately 40 births and backup care for an additional 20 to 40 births each year.
Low contact: High contact:
Partial contact – just in pregnancy, or just in labour, or just in postpartum. Short appointments – 15 minutes or less A midwife’s care extends throughout a woman’s pregnancy, labour, birth, and the first six weeks postpartum. Midwives provide education and counselling to the women they attend. Appointments tend to be approximately 45 minutes long.
Range of models: One model:
Hospital based shift work or independent community practice With or without continuity of care. Responsibility may be delegated by physicians. Canada has a single, regulated model of care which includes informed choice and continuous on–call care of clients by fully autonomous midwives.
Practice is in hospitals and clinics: Midwives work in community practices:
Attending home births is not common. Midwives attend visits in community clinic settings and do postpartum home visits. Births are attended in private homes, out–of–hospital birth centres, and hospitals, based on women’s choice and health status. Midwives are not employees of hospitals.
Midwives are employees: Midwives in some provinces are self-employed:
No business administration skills are needed. Business administration skills are required. Even with public funding, midwives often run their own practices.
Minimal emphasis on medico-legal issues and risk management. Significant emphasis on medico-legal issues and risk management.
Established profession. New profession.
Integrated profession: Midwifery is still being integrated and can be a controversial profession:
Publicly and professionally, midwifery is seen as the "norm." Midwives must be willing to educate the public about midwifery and deal with the challenges of integrating a new profession into the health care system.
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