Home births return to the Halifax area

The only children's hospital in the Maritimes is once again supporting mothers who want to give birth at home.

Midwifery advocates celebrate IWK's decision

A new mother holds her newborn Wilder Smith as the midwife assists. The IWK's midwifery program was suspended in 2010 after an independent report found professional and personal conflicts within the program. (Kevin Smith/Associated Press)

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.

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.