Expecting mothers in Ontario are getting some support from the government.
On Monday (July 8), the province announced investments towards expanding access to midwifery services across the province.
Christine Elliott, the Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, was joined by Mike Harris, the MPP for Kitchener-Conestoga, at St. Jacobs Midwives in Kitchener to announce that the government is investing an additional $28 million to expand midwifery services in Ontario.
Midwives offer a choice in birth settings, including home, hospital or midwifery-led birth centres in Toronto and Ottawa.
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The province says midwifery care results in fewer medical and surgical interventions, higher breastfeeding rates and shorter hospital stays.
The investment will help up to 3,400 more families access additional choices in primary care during pregnancy, birth and postpartum.
Ontario is also working on expanding the scope of practice for midwives to allow them to prescribe more medications to clients, that will provide better choices and convenience for families and reduce the time that patients wait for medications and therapies.
“Our government is protecting what matters most by ensuring families across Ontario have more choices when it comes to delivering their babies,” said Elliott. “This additional funding will mean more expecting families across Ontario will be able to access quality care from a midwife during pregnancy, labour and birth, as well as six weeks of support once their baby is born. Our investment in midwifery services is part of our government’s commitment to focus health care dollars where they will have the most impact and do the most good for Ontarians — on frontline care.”
The new investments will also:
- Support up to 90 new midwifery graduates entering the field.
- Increase access to culturally appropriate midwifery care by expanding Indigenous midwifery programs.
- Ensure midwifery practice groups can update their technology to continue providing quality services.
- Commit to ongoing funding for a Mount Sinai Academic Family Health Team pilot program to ensure their patients can receive ongoing midwifery care.
“Investing in midwifery is smart and moves us closer on the path of health reform that seeks to provide quality, cost-effective care that delivers excellent outcomes,” said Elizabeth Brandeis, the President of the Association of Ontario Midwives. “Midwifery is an excellent example of the care that supports seamless transitions between community and hospital, is available 24/7, and provides care that places the patient at the centre.”
With the addition of the government’s new investments, Ontario is providing $178 million for midwifery services this year, supporting up to 35,000 families.