All midwifery services are covered under the B.C. Medical Services Plan (MSP). They are funded by the Ministry of Health Services.
Due to the all-encompassing nature of midwifery care, midwives are limited in the number of women they can provide services for. It is a good idea to book an appointment as soon as possible to ensure a space is available. Your initial appointment should take place before the twelfth week of pregnancy. Birthing partners are encouraged to attend and siblings are welcome.
Your first visit with your midwife includes a comprehensive medical history, a physical assessment and nutritional and lifestyle counselling. It also gives you and your midwife time to get to know one another and an opportunity to address your questions and concerns.
Subsequent visits take place according to the standard antenatal schedule: every 4 weeks until 30 weeks, every 2 weeks until 36 weeks and then weekly until the baby is born. At each visit, clients weigh themselves and test their urine. The midwife will take their blood pressure and (from about twelve weeks on) assess baby's growth, heartbeat, movement and position, and interpret and discuss lab test results. These visits allow ample time to discuss the planning of your labour and birth and address your concerns.
Midwives specialize in providing guidance and care to healthy pregnant women with low-risk pregnancies. In the event a complication develops that is beyond the regulated scope of practice, your midwife will refer you to a obstetric physician or other specialist.
Labour and Birth
At the beginning of active labour your midwife will come to your home to check your progress, monitor the baby's vital signs, and determine when to leave for a hospital birth. Many women choose to leave the hospital hours after birth so they can enjoy getting acquainted with their new arrival in the comfort of their own home.
Home birth is an option in the Sooke area, given that your pregnancy is low-risk and has progressed normally. In the rare event a complication should arise, midwives are medically trained and equipped to deal with emergency situations. If a transfer to hospital is necessary, Victoria General Hospital is the catchment hospital for the Sooke area.
Midwifery care generally continues for six weeks after your baby is born.Your midwife will visit you at your home several times during the first couple of weeks to make sure that the you and the baby are thriving and doing well, assist with things such as breastfeeding and bathing and, of course, enjoy visiting with you and the baby. The baby will be weighed weekly to ensure he or she is gaining sufficient weight. The midwife may also also take a blood sample from the baby to test for certain metabolic and endocrinal disorders and administer a dose of Vitamin K, as recommended by the Canadian Paediatric Society. Later on, visits usually take place back at the clinic. After six weeks, your midwife will transfer the care of you and your newborn back to your family physician.