British Columbia

Prince Rupert has no midwives — but one advocacy group is pushing to change that

Northern B.C has the lowest number of babies delivered with the help of a midwife compared to other regions in the province and one advocate is trying to change that.

Midwives are particularly important to fill the ‘gap in postpartum care,’ says founder of group

'We do see that there's a gap in that postpartum care in Prince Rupert and a lot of women do struggle in that phase,' says Jessica Hawryshyn. (Khumthong/Shutterstock )

Northern B.C has the lowest number of babies delivered with the help of a midwife compared to other regions in the province and one advocate is trying to change that.

Jessica Hawryshyn​ lives in Prince Rupert where there isn't a single registered midwife.

"A lot of women would just like to have more choice in their maternity care," said Hawryshyn​, who recently founded a group called Prince Rupert Advocates for Midwifery.

She pointed to the relationship that develops between a midwife and patient as one of the key benefits that appeals to women.

"That relationship starts when you're pregnant and continues on through your prenatal care, your labour and delivery, and is also really important in postpartum care," she told Carolina de Ryk, the host of CBC's Daybreak North.

Postpartum care is particularly key, she emphasized.

"We do see that there's a gap in that postpartum care in Prince Rupert and a lot of women do struggle in that phase," she said.

"That first six weeks after your baby is born is really challenging for a lot of women."

Other areas around the region, like Haida Gwaii, Smithers, Telkwa and Robson Valley are also starting to bring on more midwives. (Martha Irvine/Associated Press)

Chance to voice concerns 

Hawryshyn​ said she founded the group to push the issue, and she met earlier this week with North Coast MLA Jennifer Rice.

"It was an opportunity to voice some of the concerns and some of the ideas around how to move forward — it was almost like a brainstorming session," Hawryshyn​ said.

Other areas around the region, such as Haida Gwaii, Smithers, Telkwa and Robson Valley, are starting to bring on more midwives.

"It might take some time — you see in other communities that it can take years," she said.

There's no timeline set in Prince Rupert yet but conversations are underway with physicians and politicians alike.  

"In general, there's a spirit of of, you know, willingness to work together," Hawryshyn​ said.

"We really just want to get the discussion started and start understanding what type of concerns there might be about bringing midwifery to Prince Rupert."

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