Local Moms-To-Be Have More Choice With New Midwifery Services : B93.3 FM : Lethbridge's #1 Hit Music Station : Lethbridge News, Alberta
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Local Moms-To-Be Have More Choice With New Midwifery Services


CARDSTON:  They are health professionals who have been regulated in the province since 1998 but, there hasn't been any mid-wives offering services near Lethbridge during that time. The situation changed last October when a trio of mid-wives, from Birth Partnership Midwifery Services, set up shop in Cardston.


Eve Verdon, Rebecca Lessard and Terri Demers are all RM's, or Registered Midwives. They operate a satellite office of Birth Partnership Midwives out of Calgary, which has several teams and the Cardston team is one of them.


The Cardston team is able to serve prospective mothers in a one hour radius from Cardston, which encompasses Pincher Creek, Lethbridge, Fort Macleod, Raymond, and Magrath. They can also serve mothers from other areas, who are willing to use a birthing room that the team has in their Cardston clinic.


Why Cardston? That's where their families decided they wanted to live. Since they began last October, the ladies have attended about 15 home births


The three ladies are what is known as "Direct Entry" entry into the profession. They all have bachelor degree educations in midwifery from the U-S and then completed "bridging" components which allowed them to practice in Canada. Terri and Eve completed their bridging training at Ryerson University and Rebecca completed hers in Quebec. It is also possible to become a Registered Nurse and then take widwifery training as a specialization.


As for why they entered this field, Rebecca Lessard explained, "I was made aware that women needed and wanted choices in child birth and wanted to have choices in their care, and that they want to feel empowered when they give birth and not just feel like they're being told what to do and there's no options". Rebecca also said, "I really want to see women come away from the experience strong and enjoying having gone through that process".


When a woman approaches the Cardston group for midwifery services, they can expect a very close relationship with the midwives. Eve Verdon runs down the services, "We offer prenatal care, so we do the same schedules an O.B. (obstetrician) would do, which is a visit a month for the first 28-weeks, and then its every two weeks until 36-weeks, and then its every week - we follow the woman throughout her labour and birth and then we are her, and the baby's, primary care provider - postpartum, to six weeks".


Terri Demers, says they rigorously screen women interested in having a midwife deliver their baby, to make sure the mom is a good candidate, "Its our job to make sure that as the pregnancy is progressing, that it continues to remain in a low risk category and if it stretches outside of that category, we do refer to obstetricians and change our role to a supportive care provider".


For birth and labour, the mother's care occurs at home. Right now the three-midwives have hospital privileges in Calgary but have yet to receive the same privileges in the zone they currently serve.


Rebecca notes, "Four years ago, the province of Alberta decided how midwifery would look throughout the entire province and so, the most appropriate response for every individual zone, is to see how best and how quickly they can implement that plan".


Eve added, "Currently, it's a priority, I think, for Alberta Health Services to get midwifery into the rural areas. Right now, the majority of midwifery is available in Calgary, second is Edmonton, and then there are some services sprouting up in Red Deer as well but, besides that, we're the most rural".


In June, Alberta Health signed a new agreement to fund midwifery services to the end of March, 2015.


For those who wonder about the safety of midwifery and home births, Eve says there is research data to back their profession, "There have been several very good studies done in recent years reflecting the safety of home births. There are three components for safety - one is that there is a trained attendant; two, is that they have good access to emergent care, meaning good transportation times and people to transport and number three; that the woman is low risk." She went on to say, "If they find that those three components are present in a scenario, women are equally as safe at home as in the hospital and their baby's out come is the same, in fact, the out-comes for mothers are better at home - less morbidity".


Expectant moms who may be interested in the services of a mid-wife can contact the ladies on-line. You will have to fill out an in-take form. More information on Cardston Birth Partnership Midwifery Services can be found here:




General information on midwifery can be found on the Government of Alberta web site:



Posted on Friday, July 05, 2013 at 4/16/2014 1:04:48 PM
Source: Dori Modney (@Dori_Modney on Twitter) -- Country 95 News - Photos credit to Birth Partnrship web-site - Left: Eve Verdon, Centre: Rebecca Lessard, Right: Terri Demers
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