Northwest Territories MLAs were met outside the legislature on Monday by parents protesting the government's decision to suspend the midwifery program in Yellowknife.

The only midwife in the N.W.T. capital has recently taken a leave of absence, so the territorial government says it has suspended the program as it considers whether to develop a territory-wide midwifery service.

As a result, there are no midwifery services outside of Fort Smith, N.W.T., at least for the rest of this year.

A group of Yellowknife parents and their children gathered outside the legislature building in Yellowknife on Monday afternoon, calling on MLAs to pressure the government into restoring the Yellowknife program.

"A lot of people don't have parents or grandparents to kind of help guide them through the process," Emma Pike, a parent who took part in Monday's protest, told CBC News.

$100K review

Pike said her midwife was "kind of a surrogate mom in a way, as well as being a health professional."

"I just can't imagine going through that process without a midwife," she said.

Health Minister Michael Miltenberger said the government's review of birthing services will look at how best to provide those services to women across the N.W.T., especially in smaller communities.

But the review, which will cost $100,000, comes with no guarantee that there will be money for more midwives, prompting some MLAs to ask why the government is denying some families a midwife while it spends money on studies.

"I'm worried … that this is just going to end up in another report on a shelf as opposed to an action plan," Yellowknife Great Slave MLA Glen Abernethy said inside the legislature.