In Ontario, Registered Midwives are health care professionals who provide free, expert care throughout pregnancy, labour and birth, and for the first six weeks following delivery (referred to as postpartum and newborn care). Midwifery practice in Ontario is regulated by the College of Midwives of Ontario. To learn more about what makes midwifery care unique and what it can offer you, please see our ‘Midwifery Care’ section.
No - midwifery care is funded for all residents of Ontario by the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care (MOHLTC).
You do not need to have OHIP or other private health insurance to access midwifery care. Midwifery care is available to all residents of Ontario regardless of insurance status. However, as with all other health care services, additional costs to cover routine laboratory work, ultrasounds, consultations, and hospital fees may apply. Please speak with your midwife about ways we can help to reduce these additional costs through specialized funding arrangements.
No - you do not need a doctor referral to request a midwife. We encourage individuals to contact our clinic as soon as possible once they find out they are pregnant in order to determine if we have available spots.
Not typically - Registered Midwives are primary care providers, meaning that for clients choosing midwifery care they will only see their midwives for routine prenatal care, during labour and birth, and for the first six weeks of postpartum and newborn care. Your family doctor will still stay involved in your health for all other non-pregnancy related concerns.
We typically book your initial appointment around 8-12 weeks of pregnancy. Some clients will see their family doctor prior to their first appointment with us in order to confirm the pregnancy and complete some initial blood work and laboratory tests - but it is not necessary as we will order all of this at your first appointment.
No - midwives support choice of birthplace, meaning you can chose to give birth where you feel most comfortable. At CMOH we attend clients choosing home birth or hospital birth at one of two obstetrical hospitals: McMaster University Medical Centre (Hamilton Health Sciences) or St Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton. To learn more about choosing home or hospital birth in Hamilton, please see our Choice of Birthplace section.
Yes - midwives have the ability to order a variety of common medical and laboratory tests specific to pregnancy including: obstetric ultrasound, blood and urine tests, prenatal screening tests (including genetic screening), PAP screening in accordance with the Ontario Cervical Screening program, sexually transmitted infection (STI) screening, vaginal cultures or swabs. At CMOH we offer onsite laboratory services (excluding ultrasound) for most screens/tests. Midwives are also able to initiate referrals throughout pregnancy as required, including: physician consultation, community support services, and mental health services.
Yes - midwives can order most routine medications encountered in pregnancy, labour and birth, and postpartum and newborn care. If there are medications that you need that we are not able to prescribe, we will discuss this with you and arrange a consultation with a physician as necessary in order to obtain the medication.
During your care, if a health concern arises that is beyond the scope of midwifery practice, your midwife will arrange for a consultation with an appropriate health care professional. Occasionally this may result in a transfer of your care to an obstetrician, or a paediatrician for your newborn. If your care is transferred, your midwife will stay in a supportive role and resume your care when it is safe and reasonable to do so.
Yes - we encourage you to bring partners, children, or other friends and family members to your clinic appointments as often as you like. We recognize that this is your pregnancy and you should be able to choose who you share that experience with. If you are planning a home birth you can involve as many people as can fit it your house! If you are planning a hospital birth, typically only two support people (in addition to your midwives) are allowed in the birth room. Be sure to check with your midwives about current hospital policies around number of support people you can have with you as they have been known to change depending on current security or infection control concerns.
At CMOH we are a teaching practice and are committed to supporting placements for clinical learners. We recognize that our clients and their families have an important role in supporting the teaching of new midwives and we encourage you to consider welcoming a midwifery student to be a part of your care. Midwifery students complete two major placements with midwifery practices: Normal Childbearing (16 weeks) and Senior Year (total of 36 weeks). Students typically follow one midwife, or team of midwives, and are involved in all aspects of clinical care. As students progress through the program, they can be expected to perform most clinical tasks independently under the supervision of a Registered Midwife. This includes scheduled clinic appointments, community or hospital assessments, labour and birth support, postpartum and newborn care, and returning phone calls/pages. Most clients find that having a student involved in their care enhances their experience, and they come to see the student as an integral part of their team. For more information about having a student involved in your care, please see our handout on Students at CMOH under our Resource section.
In our community, there are midwives at all midwife-attended births. One midwife is there with you for the duration of your labour and our aim is that this midwife will be from your team - although this is not always possible due to various factors. When your midwife assesses that the birth is getting close, a second midwife will be called to attend. It is likely that this individual will be one of our on call team members available at the time. If your midwife has a student they will also plan to be at your birth. If you are planning a home birth, you are welcome to invite as many people as you can fit into your house! If you are planning a hospital birth, typically only two support people (in addition to your midwives) are allowed in the delivery room. Be sure to check with your midwives about current hospital policies around number of support people you can have with you as they have been known to change depending on current security or infection control concerns.
Yes - at CMOH we are a full scope midwifery practice which means that we are able to support clients choosing an epidural as part of their birth plan. A client requesting an epidural for pain management in labour is not an indication for a transfer of care in our community. An epidural as a pain management option is only available to clients choosing to have a hospital birth.
At CMOH we are a full scope midwifery practice which means that we are able to continue to manage labours in hospital that require oxytocin in order to either induce or augment an established labour. If at any point your midwife has concerns about you or your baby, they will consult with an on call physician to provide assistance. If your care is transferred to a physician for any reason, your midwife will stay with you to provide supportive care and resume care as soon as it is safe and reasonable to do so.
Most of our clinic appointments are scheduled at our main clinic location at 365 Main Street West. In addition or our main clinic site, we are partnered with a number of community health centres and community-based services, and are able to offer scheduled visits at multiple locations in within the City of Hamilton. When you call to request a midwife, our staff will help you to figure out what location works best for you.
Your first prenatal appointment with your midwifery team is typically scheduled for 8-12 weeks of pregnancy. Subsequent appointments are typically scheduled once a month until 28 weeks, every two weeks until 36 weeks, weekly until you give birth. In the six weeks following your birth, you will have approximately 6-8 midwifery appointments for routine postpartum and newborn care. These appointments are typically done in your home during the first week, and then in the clinic starting at two weeks.
There is metered parking available on the surrounding streets and Locke Street shopping district, including some free hourly parking, all located just a short walk from our clinic. Please do not park in the lot adjacent to our building - this is a shared lot and is reserved for our on call midwives/staff and neighbouring business associates.
Short answer - whenever you need us! We ask you to page us any time you have an urgent question or concern that is unable to wait until a scheduled clinic appointment. At your first visit, your midwife will review how our paging system works and how to contact your midwifery team 24/7.
Midwives qualify for registration in Ontario either by graduating from the Ontario Midwifery Education Programme (four year Bachelor of Health Science in Midwifery), or by successfully completing the International Midwifery Pre-registration Programme offered throughout the continuing education division at Ryerson University in Toronto, Ontario.