Midwives to Offer More Services Closer to Home

More parents and their newborns will have access to maternal and reproductive health services in their communities thanks to an expansion of midwifery services in Alberta.

Minister Hoffman chatting with new mom Salima Versi about the expanded scope of practice for midwives in Alberta.

The Government of Alberta has expanded midwives’ scope of practice, allowing them to use their knowledge and skills to the fullest extent. This brings the scope of practice for Alberta midwives in line with many other provinces and territories.

“We want to provide Albertans with easier access to maternal and reproductive health services closer to home. Expanding midwives’ scope of practice and maximizing their skills enables us to offer more essential services to families in their communities. I’m proud to see midwives playing a bigger role in primary health care as well as the journey toward parenthood.”

~Sarah Hoffman, Minister of Health

“This is a recognition of the important role midwives play in maternal and newborn care in our province. AHS is continuing to work with Alberta communities, providers and midwives to expand this service in communities across Alberta.”

~Dr. Verna Yiu, president and CEO, Alberta Health Services

Midwives who complete additional training and are authorized by the College of Midwives of Alberta can now prescribe, dispense and administer a broader range of prescription drugs, contraceptives and contraceptive devices and, in a hospital, benzodiazepines and narcotics. They can also prescribe and administer vaccines, insert intrauterine contraceptive devices, provide prescription drugs to induce labour and use ultrasounds to determine fetal position.

“This means a new era in professional status for Alberta’s registered midwives. This change will allow midwives to make fuller use of their knowledge and skills in the provision of high-quality, cost-effective maternity care for Alberta’s child-bearing families, and increase access to primary care in rural, remote and underserved communities.”

~Cassondra Evans, president, College of Midwives of Alberta

The expanded scope of practice will also help women in rural and remote communities access maternal health services.

“We are so excited that this change to regulation will allow midwives to practise to a fuller scope. This will help increase access to primary care in rural, remote and underserved communities.”

~Nicole Matheson, president, Midwifery Association of Alberta

For women with low-risk pregnancies, midwifery is a safe option for maternity services. Research has shown that women who give birth with the assistance of a midwife tend to have shorter hospital stays, are more likely to breastfeed and require fewer medical interventions, such as caesarean sections.

“My midwife is one of the most experienced, professional and compassionate care providers I have ever worked with. She was with me every step of the way through two very different birthing experiences, providing evidence-based information, support and guidance, ensuring that I always felt heard and respected as I made decisions. I am thrilled that she and other midwives will be able to provide more services to women and families, allowing for Albertans to benefit from the wealth of knowledge and experience they bring to their areas of health care.”

~Salima Versi, midwifery client

Quick facts

  • Midwives serve individuals with low-risk pregnancies. Care starts during pregnancy and continues after birth.
  • As part of Budget 2016, an additional $11 million was allocated for midwifery services over three years, for a total of $49 million:
    • 2016-2017: $14.6 million
    • 2017-2018: $16.3 million
    • 2018-2019: $18.1 million
  • In the last two years, funding increases have resulted in year-over-year growth of 400 midwife-assisted births – a 30 per cent increase in the number of midwife-assisted births in Alberta.
  • There are 133 midwives practising in Alberta.