Midwives deliver funding request

Midwives in Saskatchewan want their profession to be legalized and funded as is the case in some other provinces.

Midwives in Saskatchewan want their profession to be regulated and fully funded by the province to improve the accessibility of their service.

Saskatchewan has four midwives serving the whole province who bill patients directly for their services.

"There just really is a lack of political will for funding midwifery," said Sonya Duffee, who specializes in home births. "We do not have it funded and regulated and as a result, it is not accessible to all."

Saskatchewan passed a midwifery act in 1999 but it was never proclaimed.

The province, which lacks standards regulating who can practise midwifery, is currently trying to decide whether to formalize regulations and pay for the service.

"More of the issue is trying to find a place where they can best complement the team of health-care professionals," said Lawrence Krahn of Saskatchewan Health in Regina.

Duffee, who delivered Brooklyn Artavia two weeks ago for $1,800, says she transfers expectant mothers to the hospital if the birth is complicated.

Funding and regulation of midwifery differs across the country. In Ontario, Quebec, Manitoba and British Columbia, provincial governments pay for midwives. In Alberta, midwives are regulated but not funded.

Midwives in Atlantic Canada lack both funding and regulation.

Meanwhile, Brooklyn's mother, Pamela Artavia, says her healthy infant has never been seen by a doctor and she's sold on the importance of the practice.

"Midwifery is definitely something all women should have available to them," she said.