Reason 2: Ottawa midwifery groups and collectives
Doctors are life savers and help us recover when we are sick but a healthy person most of the time tries to avoid hospitals and doctor’s office, so do many women with normal pregnancies in Ottawa. Ottawa has great midwifery groups which provide care to a woman during pregnancy, labor, birth and postpartum.
Appointments at a midwife’s office resemble more a friendly consultation in a cozy room with soft sofas, chairs, toys and books about pregnancy, labor and birth which the clients are welcome to borrow. Appointments last at least 30 minutes or longer, and of course, partners and children are always welcome to join the mom-to-be. Often fathers can listen to the baby’s heart or feel the position of the baby’s head that surely makes them be closer to their partners and babies and understand better the pregnancy and future birth, so they can help the woman to go through birthing with less stress and more love and care.
The following three principles are the basis of the Ontario model of midwifery: choice of birthplace (home or hospital), continuity of care (during pregnancy, labor, birth and first 6 weeks postpartum), and informed choice (I loved it!).
- Informed choice.
I would like to start with this principle as it is the one that attracts me most in midwifery care. I am sure that many people have felt awkward and modest to ask a million questions to the doctor about their treatment. “Doctors know better”, that’s what I have heard when questioning the prescribed treatment to me or my family members.
Well, midwives are great because they always “teach” their clients about pregnancy, labor, and birth, educate the woman about the process and always welcome questions! “The pregnant woman is the primary decision maker. The midwives will provide her with assistance in getting the resources that help to make an informed choice and realize the benefits and risks of possible courses of care” (http://bit.ly/2tvYwmu).
- Choice of birthplace.
The woman can choose to have birth at home or in a hospital.
If home birth is arranged, midwives will come there in any weather condition. They will assist at the birth, clean the room and help the woman to get a warm shower and get dressed, make sure that everybody is safe and happy and leave the family to enjoy their new member.
Hospital births are more common, although there are also very “informal”: the woman decides how she wants things to be arranged in the room and who should be present at birth and what and when should be done to her and her baby. (For example, my curiosity about placenta and how it looks and works, was satisfied by the worth of Discovery Channel lecture from my midwife.) After delivering the baby in a hospital, the woman can either stay there or go home.
- Continuity of care
Either home or hospital birth was arranged, midwives care goes beyond that: they visit the newborn and the mom on day 1, 3, 5 to check how they are doing, and also, provide assistance over the phone 24/7. It gives such a great sense of protection and not being left alone during the first 6 weeks which are most pleasant but can be very challenging for new parents.
The follow-up appointments are arranged in the midwives’ office and happen at the end of the 2nd, 4th and 6th weeks. After that, the woman and the baby are discharged and provided with a public library certificate for a baby book, a bag with the library logo, and some booklets. It can be very sad to leave the midwife who has become so close with your family, so don’t forget to give a friendly visit to her office a couple of months later.
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