What is a Midwife?
According to the Association of Ontario Midwives, “midwives are health-care professionals who provide government-funded expert primary care to pregnant people and their newborns. Through pregnancy, labour, birth and the first six weeks after birth, you will be cared for by a small group of midwives. This continuity of care means that you are likely to know the midwife who delivers your baby.”
The practice of midwifery is based on three core principles:
- Continuity of care
- Informed choice
- Choice of birthplace
Midwives work in a variety of settings including birth centres, hospitals and homes.
Midwives work with a wide variety of clients, and must be prepared to tailor their practice to the personal and cultural needs of the clients they serve.
It is very important to remember that midwives may work highly-irregular hours, given that births happen 24/7, 365 days a year.
There has also been a resurgence in the practice of Indigenous Midwifery. According to the National Council of Aboriginal Midwives, Indigenous midwifery is: “a care is a pathway that supports the regeneration of strong Indigenous families by bringing birth closer to home—by restoring the emphasis on birth as normal, rather than approaching it as an illness in need of treatment. Indigenous midwifery honours Indigenous peoples, languages, oral cultures, and traditions. Indigenous midwives uphold birth as a deeply profound and sacred event. Indigenous midwives play a key role in building healthy and safe Indigenous communities, in rural and urban areas.”
- The average Midwife salary in Canada is $93,152 per year or $47.77 per hour
- Entry level positions start at $56,266 per year
- Most experienced workers make up to $158,358 per year.
Schooling Entry Requirements
Entry into midwifery university programs in Ontario is highly-competitive. According to Ryerson University, many successful applicants enter the program after completing prior post-secondary education.
Minimum requirements vary by institution, but most schools require a high school diploma that includes the following courses with a minimum average of 70-75%:
- Grade 12 English
- One Grade 12 social studies course
- Grade 12 Chemistry
- Grade 12 Biology
It is important to note that many universities have Indigenous application streams, and Indigenous students are suggested to reach out to Indigenous student services to learn more.
Midwifery studies involve a four-year university degree in health sciences.
Training is also available through Six Nations Health Services: http://www.snhs.ca/midBackground.htm
There are three universities in Ontario that offer a four-year health sciences degree in midwifery:
- Laurentian University
- Ryerson University
- McMaster University
College of Midwives of Ontario. To make an initial application, you must:
- Have a degree in midwifery
- Have attended at least 60 births, of which meet a variety of criteria
- Complete a qualifying exam
- Have proof of a variety of certifications including CPR and neonatal resuscitation
- Complete a course about laws and regulations governing the practice
- Demonstrate good character
- Have professional liability insurance
- A clean vulnerable sector police check
College members must meet many requirements to uphold their membership, including continued practice and continuing education.
Midwives may also pursue membership with the National Council of Aboriginal Midwives.