What is it?
Midwives are experts in normal pregnancy, birth and babies and provide complete care, including regular visits, routine tests and bloodwork, information and emotional support. Care starts in early pregnancy until six weeks postpartum.
Midwives support birth in a setting the person chooses, including at the hospital, at a Birthing Home and at your home, on the territory. Birth out of hospital or on territory is assessed for risk of complications and is not always recommended, depending on individual situations.
Midwives believe pregnancy, birth and breastfeeding are normal, natural events. Midwives believe each person possesses within themselves the resources necessary for giving birth and becoming a parent. Midwives support this process with careful monitoring, education and support. If you have a midwife, you do not also need a doctor.
Midwifery Services also have Cree Birth Assistants on the team, people who provide assistance at births, do home visits. They speak Cree and help clients access cultural practices and knowledge.
Who is it for?
Midwives care for healthy, low-risk people. If you are interested in having a midwife, it is worth contacting the services to find out if you are eligible.
You can call Midwifery Services for information at any time and you can meet with a midwife as soon as you are pregnant. You do not need a referral from an Awash doctor or nurse, although they can help you with this request.
Birth on territory with midwives is intended for low-risk clients aiming for a natural birth. Clients who choose, or need, to give birth in Val-d’Or will be cared for by doctors and nurses there, with midwives providing prenatal and postnatal care in Chisasibi.
Clients are encouraged to include their partners, family and friends in their care.
Where is it offered?
Midwifery Services, including birth on territory, are currently offered in Chisasibi for residents of Chisasibi, Wemindji and Whapmagoostui.
Residents from Wemindji and Whapmagoostui receive most of their pre- and post-natal care at home with Awash nurses and doctors, with some consultations with midwives, and go to Chisasibi to give birth with midwives and spend some time in their care after giving birth (postpartum). Clients are not provided lodging while in Chisasibi.
Birth with midwives in Chisasibi takes place at the Chisasibi Hospital, the Chisasibi temporary Birthing Home or at the clients’ home, depending on the client’s choice and clinical situation.
Midwifery Services and Birthing Homes are planned for Mistissini and Waskaganish, which will also service the communities of Waswanipi, Ouje-Bougoumou, Eastmain and Nemaska.
What is it like?
Midwives work closely with doctors and nurses for any medical concerns or emergencies, and also work with the nutritionist, community worker and social worker to provide the best care possible for pregnant people and their families.
You can meet with a midwife as soon as you know that you are pregnant.
During your first visit, you will get to know each other and the midwife will help to assess whether midwifery services is right for you.
Visits are every four weeks until 32 weeks of pregnancy, every two to three weeks between the 32nd and 37th week, and then every week until birth.
Midwives are on call 24/7 for birth and urgent concerns. Midwives work in pairs or small teams so there will almost always be a midwife that you have met who is on call. For instance, you can call your midwife if:
- you experience bleeding, fever, or headaches,
- your water breaks
- you are having contractions
- your baby doesn’t move as usual
- you have any other concerns or questions.
Midwives will be with you throughout your active labour and birth, no matter when it happens. A primary midwife offers support and clinical care throughout labour, birth and for a few hours after the baby is born. A second midwife joins the team for the pushing stage and onwards.
After the baby is born, midwives and Birth Assistants visit you and your newborn in your own home within the first 24 hours after birth and twice again in the first week after birth. They continue to provide care to you and your newborn for six weeks after birth.
How long does it last?
You can meet with a midwife as soon as you know that you are pregnant. From your first visit until 32 weeks into your pregnancy, your midwife will meet with you once a month, with increasingly frequent visits as you get closer to childbirth. The midwife will continue to provide care up to six weeks after the birth of your child.
The length of each individual meeting will vary according to your personal needs.
How can I get this service?
If you are interested in seeing a midwife, contact your local CMC or you can contact Midwifery Services directly.
Where can I learn more?
You can find out more about this service through your local CMC.
You can also get more information on Midwifery practices at these websites:
Ordre des sage-femme du Québec: http://www.osfq.org/?lang=en
Regroupement des sage-femme du Québec (French only): https://www.rsfq.qc.ca/
National Aboriginal Council of Midwives: https://indigenousmidwifery.ca/
Canadian association of midwives: https://canadianmidwives.org/
Université du Québec à Trois- Rivière, programme de formation de pratique sage-femme (french only) : https://oraprdnt.uqtr.uquebec.ca/pls/apex/f?p=106:10:::NO:::