The Department of Health's commitment to have eight publicly funded midwives working in New Brunswick has fallen a year behind schedule because the government has missed many of its own deadlines, according to a group.
The legislative assembly passed the Midwifery Act in 2008 but other than a report filed by the advisory committee set up to review the legislation, there has been no movement to actually get midwives into the health system and helping pregnant women.
Lindsey Reinhart, the president of Birth Matters, a midwifery organization in New Brunswick, said something must be done so midwives are finally practising in the province.
"We hear from a lot of women [and] women are really desperate for this care right now," Reinhart said.
"And it's really encouraging the government's committed to regulating and funding midwifery here but they're taking their time and missing deadlines."
The Department of Health says that until a Midwifery Council of New Brunswick, which will act as a self-regulating body, is set up and the regulations are completed, no midwives will be hired.
For now, women in New Brunswick who want a midwife still have to go out of province, and pay for the service themselves.
Midwives offer women constant care for during their pregnancy, childbirth and postpartum in hospitals, birthing centres and at their homes.
A new study by the Canadian Medical Association Journal released on Aug. 31 found that giving birth at home with a registered midwife can be as safe as a hospital birth for the infant and the mom.
Waiting for midwife
Susan Dobson, who is originally from the United Kingdom, is pregnant with her third child. She's always had midwives to help during her pregnancy. Until she moved to New Brunswick, she had never seen an obstetrician.
So she was disappointed to learn that in New Brunswick midwives aren't an option yet despite legislation that has already opened the door to their existence.
"I didn't even realize it was outside the norm until we got here because of course it was the norm to me," she said.