The only children's hospital in the Maritimes is once again supporting mothers who want to give birth at home.
The IWK Health Centre suspended its midwifery program in 2010 after an independent report found professional and personal conflicts within the program. The hospital also grappled with a staff shortage.
The program resumed on Monday.
Erin Bleasdale joined the IWK in August after practicing midwifery in Ontario
She lights up talking about the intimate experience.
“Home births are magical. There's just a calm and a peace to them that's quite enjoyable,” she said.
Bleasdale is part of a team of five midwives. That’s enough to cover home births 24 hours a day in the Halifax area.
“Once our staffing complement was within reason — that it could be sustainable — that's when we were able to start up again,” said Jocelyn Vine, vice-president of patient care at the IWK.
Having kids put on hold
Jackie Kellestine, co-chair of the Midwifery Coalition of Nova Scotia, said some families have delayed having children in anticipation of this moment.
“These women that this was important to, if they’re thinking about having a baby and wanted to have a home birth, they were waiting. People have been waiting for this to return,” she said.
Kellestine said the fight to maintain midwifery in Nova Scotia is not over.
She said there's an urgent need for the province to expand midwifery coverage in rural areas where it doesn't exist, including in the Annapolis Valley and Cape Breton.