News / Toronto

Midwife shortage can make finding one in the GTA tough

Women in the GTA can face waitlists, and are urged to start the process of finding one as soon as they learn they're pregnant.

Nicole Bennett is a registered midwife and the director of Ryerson University’s Midwifery Education Program.

Eduardo Lima/Metro / Metro Order this photo

Nicole Bennett is a registered midwife and the director of Ryerson University’s Midwifery Education Program.

Less than a week after she learned she was pregnant, Victoria Baranow started calling around to see if any GTA midwives could support her care.

“I did the same thing with daycare,” she said with a laugh.

“I was a little bit nervous because I really wanted that experience as opposed to an obstetrician.”

The 33-year-old only waited about two weeks to get a spot with a Toronto midwife clinic, and had the “more inclusive” care she wanted during the birth of her baby boy.

But not everyone is so lucky.

“I know that in the GTA it’s hard to get a midwife,” said Nicole Bennett, a registered midwife and the director of Ryerson University’s Midwifery Education Program.

“As we grow the demand grows.”

Bennett is happy women are asking for midwifery care, but added it’s unfortunate when they don’t get it.

Due to safety issues, there are restrictions on the maximum number of expectant moms clients can take in at one time.

While “babies have been born by midwives for many, many generations,” in North America midwifery stopped being practiced around 1900 until resurgence in interest in the 1970s and ‘80s, she said.

Midwives have been regulated in Ontario since the early 1990s, Bennett added, and are fully covered by OHIP.

 “We started with I think 60 in our first year of being regulated and now there’s over 900,” she said.

Bennett believes a comprehensive plan from the province on maternity care and increased hospital privileges for midwives would help.

“Graduating more new midwives would hopefully be part of that plan to help the growth,” she added.

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