More than 100 supporters of midwifery rallied outside Province House in Charlottetown Saturday. They were campaigning for the province to include midwives and doulas in the Island's health care services.
Advocates say few midwives are willing to work in P.E.I. because it's unregulated, so many expectant mothers have to look off-island for personalized at-home care.
"Giving birth at home with a midwife is what I consider to be normal, especially for a healthy, low-risk birth," said Laine Brehaug, an expectant mother.
People at the rally were calling on the provincial government to licence and pay for midwifery services. They said P.E.I. is the only province that has not committed to regulating the practice.
Nova Scotia regulated the service in 2009, while New Brunswick is in the process of setting up its regulation system.
Sherri MacWilliams, co-chair of the Birthing Options Research Network, said midwifery could save money for the province.
"There are known cost savings because there are fewer interventions, birth can take place in a variety of settings — be it home, a birthing centre or a hospital. The costs of births attended by midwives are lower," she said.
P.E.I. is currently reviewing whether it will regulate midwives and doulas.
"Obviously as you make a decision to add new services, you have to look at the overall impact, particularily in this day and age with the pressures of health budgets — the fiscal impact," said Health Minister Doug Currie.
Currie gave no timeline for when the review may be complete.