Why I Chose a Midwife

I had my first appointment with my primary midwife, M1, on Tuesday.

While I was scheduled in for a couple ultrasounds and some full spectrum blood work, nothing actually medical happened at the appointment. We (MFH, M1, and I) all talked. We talked about what what midwifery is, we talked birth place options, and we talked about all the ultrasounds/tests I’d be getting in about four weeks.

And you know what the crazy thing is? All the talking totally calmed me down. I was given the option to get blood work done that day, or do it all at once during the 11th/12th week test. I decided to wait. If anyone had asked me if I would wait to find out ANYTHING concrete about the Spawn even the day before, I would have said yes, absolutely, ASAP please. But after talking to M1 I really didn’t have that same panicked energy.

Really, that’s part of the reason why I wanted a midwife in the first place…

About a year ago I started researching hospitals in Toronto. Interestingly, the closest one to me is Toronto East General which is one of only three WHO Baby Friendly hospitals in Ontario. They have a bunch of information in their site, which a knowledge whore like myself certainly enjoyed.

One of the most interesting things I found were my choices in who would actually help me give birth. They gave me three options: I could just keep my family doctor; I could find an ob/gyn; or I could have a midwife. All were covered by OHIP, which is basically a polite way of saying I don’t have to pay for any of it.

So why a midwife?


Well, the first thing I noticed was woman after woman – birth story after birth story – one thing seemed fairly obvious. Most of the people who had midwifes really felt like things went well. Even if an emergency came up, or their birth plan ended up flying out the window, they still felt in control and basically positive.

I liked the fact that appointments averaged around 45 minutes, and wait times were almost nonexistent. I loved the idea that the two midwives assigned to me (M1 and M2) would be the people at my birth. I also really dug the idea that there was a bit more focus on the woman as a whole, rather than the serious of tests she needed to take in an orderly amount of time.

I think what really did it for me in the end, though, was the statistics. If I gave birth with a midwife, I was less likely to have a C-section. I was less likely to be assisted in the birth with forceps or a vacuum. I was more likely to breastfeed without issues. (Not going to lie, finding out that I could use pain relief with a midwife if needed also tilted everything in my favor.)

In Canada midwifes are gaining ground in popularity. So much so that I was warned repeatedly that I would likely end up on a wait list, rather than under the care of a midwife. Thankfully, I called in time and they got me right in.

Is a midwife right for you? Could be. Take some time to look around, for sure, but this is a nice place to start: Myths of midwifery.


2 thoughts on “Why I Chose a Midwife

  1. Congrats on the good appointment! I have an OBGYN but will also have a doula with me this time around. They also allow women to birth with lower c-section rates. It is wonderful that the “old ways” of doing things is coming back. I wish you the best during your pregnancy!

  2. Being English, this fascinates me because everyone has a midwife here – unless there is something wrong or a history of problems in pregnancy, in which case you are officially under a consultant, but in reality you still mainly see a MW through the pregnancy.

    The difference here is you see who is available, largely. Women tend to see a community midwife throughout the pregnancy – there may be just one assigned to her local doctor’s surgery – or they may be a team. That is who we book in with (which is when we get bloods taken to check for HIV, iron levels, rhesus positive / negative etc etc – but oddly, pregnancy is never actually tested for…) and then we also see her at 16 weeks, 25 weeks, 28 weeks (for first pregnancies), 31 weeks, 34 weeks (for first pregnancies), and then at 36, 38 and 40 weeks. At 12 weeks and 20 weeks we have scans – the 12 week scan is the first real confirmation of being pregnant, for most women in the UK. They do nuchal measurements and, if requested, blood tests to help highlight risks of various chromosomal abnormalities. At 20 weeks there is an anomaly scan, looking primarily at the anatomical structures of the whole of the baby’s body.

    So it is perfectly normal for many women to get to full term without ever seeing a doctor. Then if she chooses to have a hospital birth (as most do), they suddenly meet a whole different team of hospital midwives, doctors, consultants, anaesthetics etc etc.

    Ick, no thank you. I am holding out for a homebirth, which means the 2 MWs who attend me will be from the community team who I see for all of my other appointments. There is a tendency in the UK (and I suspect in most places) that ‘policy’ takes precedence over what women want, and many are told they are ‘not allowed’ to do X, Y and Z. They then usually end up planning a hospital birth, and typically this leads of a ‘cascade of intervention’ – like you, I do like some statistics 😉 and looking at the % of intervention and complications in hospitals Vs midwife-led-units and homebirths makes for quite persuasive reading.


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