Midwifery Services in Alberta, Canada, have expanded following an investment of $18.1 million from the $49 million 2016 budget allocated for midwifery services.
Midwives in Alberta who receive additional training and are authorised by the College of Midwives will be able to prescribe, dispense and administer a wider range of prescription drugs and contraceptives in homes and hospitals.
They will also be able to provide prescribed drugs to induce labour and perform ultrasounds to determine fetal position.
Beforehand, midwives would normally just serve women with low-risk pregnancies during their pregnancy and following childbirth.
The changes to what midwives can provide puts the Canadian province of Alberta in-line with other parts of the country.
Minister of Health, Sarah Hoffman, said: “We want to provide Albertans with easier access to maternal and reproductive health services closer to home. I’m proud to see midwives playing a bigger role in primary health care as well as the journey toward parenthood.”
In a study by the Canadian Institute for Health Information, rural women were 2.5% more likely to be transferred from one hospital to another compared to urban women (0.6%).
Rural women have been increasingly turning to midwife-assisted births to avoid hospital transfers.
In the rural area of Cochrane there is no maternity unit, with Alberta Health Services saying last year there will not be one anytime soon.
Therefore, the expansion of midwifery services and increased roles of midwives will specifically assist women living in rural areas.
President of Midwifery Association of Alberta, Nicole Matheson, said: “We are so excited that this change to regulation will allow midwives to practise to a fuller scope. This will help increase access to primary care in rural, remote and underserved communities.”
According to the Alberta Government, there has been a 30% increase in the number of midwife-assisted births in the province over the last two years.
Source: Cochrane Eagle
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