Midwives from across the country met at a conference in St. John's this week.

One of the reasons they came to the city was to send a message to the provincial government.

Delegates say midwives are too scarce in Newfoundland and Labrador, and they want the government to change that.

"It needs to be done now," said Karene Tweedie, who is president of the Association of Midwives of Newfoundland and Labrador.

"It has been put off and off and off so many times," she said. "We have a lot of women coming from out of the province, and even women within the province, who are asking for midwifery care."

One St. John's mother said she would have enlisted a midwife to help deliver her child, had that been a viable alternative.

"I was really frustrated by the lack of options I had in terms of midwives," said Sarah Turpin, as she watched over her daughter Rowan.

Turpin was unable to find a midwife, since there are so few in the area.

But even if she had, she says the $3,000 price tag would have put that possibility out of her reach.

Turpin believes babies and mothers across the province deserve better.

"It just makes so much more sense to me to have someone in your community that you can go to for your prenatal care," she continued, "and to have that option of staying at home or staying at the hospital."


Health Minister Susan Sullivan said the province is looking into drafting regulations for midwives. CBC

Midwives met with provincial Minister of Health Susan Sullivan earlier this week to make the case for improving services here.

Sullivan says the department has hired two experienced midwives to figure out how to make the service more available in the province.

"[We're] looking at where we are in Newfoundland and Labrador," said Sullivan, adding the province is assessing what groundwork needs to be done, particularly in terms of regulation. Midwives say the government is saying all the right things, but are now calling on it to act.

They say midwives need money to get services up and running, and to launch a professional regulatory body in the province.