ns-midwifery

Stephanie Kincade delivered her daughter, Ava, in the IWK Health Centre without the benefit of a midwife. ((CBC))

Three major problems led to the suspension of the midwifery program at the IWK Health Centre in Halifax, according to a report prepared for the provincial Department of Health.

Sixty pregnant women were left without access to a midwife when the program was suspended in December.

The report looked at the IWK's midwifery experience, as well as programs on the South Shore and in the Canso Strait area.

Mothers, midwives and health-care providers were interviewed to prepare the report, which found:

  • A lack of understanding, trust and respect for midwifery. Some people did not support home birth, perceiving it to be unsafe.
  • An insufficient number of midwives.
  • A timeline too short to implement the program.

Until November, Rachel Godwin was one of four midwives working at the IWK. The hospital's program was suspended in December because of a lack of midwives.

"We were overworked," she said Wednesday. "I would say that quite clearly it [the program] was a failure if we don't have midwives working. I feel sad in saying that, though."

'Very much hurried'

Ironically, the lack of midwives is why Godwin's contract was not renewed — she required another midwife to supervise her as she moved into home births.

"I don't think for a second that the IWK management have set this up to fail. Unfortunately, this was all just very much hurried, and everyone had to hit ground running, and no one was prepared," she said.

IWK officials said they needed time to read the report before commenting on it.

Stephanie Kincade wanted midwifery care at home, but ended up delivering her daughter, Ava, in the IWK.

"I wound up having to fight tooth and nail, even during my labour at the hospital, to keep it natural as I could," she said.

Kincade is organizing a rally Thursday at Province House, after a meeting with Health Minister Maureen MacDonald where she will ask that the midwifery program be moved out of the hospital and into the community.

The provincial Midwifery Act took effect in the spring of 2008.