Midwives in New Brunswick are still waiting for the province to live up to its promise to regulate their industry.
Legislation was introduced last June to include midwifery in the health-care system, and midwives were promised it would become law in the fall. The government postponed the date to this spring, and it now appears in won't be until next year at least that midwifery will have some provincial guidelines.
Kate Nicholl — a midwife who got her training in the U.K. and is currently going through the process of becoming registered to practise in Ontario — said until the new law is in place, anyone can claim to be a midwife and that's not fair to women who want one.
"If we go to the dentist or we go to the doctor, they're qualified to perform that profession," Nicholl told CBC News on Monday. "And we need assurance from the [provincial] Health Department that midwives are providing that as well."
Nicholl said when the midwifery act is finally proclaimed in New Brunswick, she and other midwives will become employees of the Regional Health Authorities and their services will be publicly funded.
Frieda Burdett, a co-founder of the organization Birth Matters, said her group has been lobbying for such recognition and protection.
"Giving birth through the regular medical system is fine for many women," Burdett said Monday, "but some need the more personal touch provided by midwives.
"If there's not a good fit between you, women can feel a sense of trauma — there can be a negative interactions, they can be overwhelmed by the experience. And that can lead to subsequent mental health problems."