News / Calgary

Alberta families take to Twitter to support poorly funded midwives

On Friday, the Alberta Association of Midwives will meet with AHS to establish new service agreement.

One woman spent more than three months looking for a midwife. Other women in the province have not been so lucky.

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One woman spent more than three months looking for a midwife. Other women in the province have not been so lucky.

Looking to get a midwife? Join the rat race, according to Misti McFarlane.  

McFarlane, a doula from Edmonton, was among hundreds of Albertan moms and dads who took to social media to let the government know that midwives deserve to be better funded. 

Participants held placards, and one read, “Because my mom was denied an #abmidwife, my birth cost taxpayers at lest $1,200 more than my brother’s. What is $1,200 x 55,000 Alberta-born babies?”

Alberta sees about 55,000 newborns each year. 

Another: “It took me over three months to get a midwife! I was on a wait-list with over 1,000 other Alberta women.”

The MaternityCare Consumers of Alberta Network (MCAN) launched the campaign. 

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McFarlane, vice-president of the organization, has her own midwife story. 

She said when she managed to get a midwife for the birth of her second child, she noticed she was a more capable mom. 

“There were less visits to the emergency room — there was no more anxiety,” she said. “It changed my life.”

Though the government invested $1.8 million for midwifery services in 2015 — meaning for 400 more midwife supported births this year —  McFarlane said more should be done. 

“We are very grateful for the small increase in funding that we did see,” she said.  “However babies are being born every day and women sit on the centralized intake list for their entire pregnancies without ever getting a midwife.”

The group is hoping a new funding model for midwifery is established.

On Friday, the Alberta Association of Midwives (AAM) is meeting with Alberta Health Services to negotiate a new service agreement. 

Nicole Matheseon, president of the AAM, said 3,900 families could get midwifery care if the enough funding is available for 2016. In 2015, 2,775 families received care. 

She said more families could receive midwife care if the government played a larger role. 

Health Minister Sarah Hoffman said the government has made progress on midwifery care, though there’s more need for improvement. 

“Given the tough economic times we are in, we will have to balance the needs in this area with the pressures facing the rest of the system,” she said.