What is Midwifery


What is a Midwife?


The midwife sees pregnancy and childbirth as normal states for the healthy mother. The midwife provides continuity of care throughout the pregnancy, birth and postpartum period. She carefully watches and guides, assisting the family to give birth, respecting their choices and values.


By definition accepted by the International Confederation of Midwives and the World Health Organization, and endorsed by health planning groups in Ontario, a midwife is:

A person who, having been regularly admitted to a midwifery education program, duly recognized in the country in which it is located, has successfully completed the prescribed course of studies in midwifery and has acquired the requisite qualifications to be registered and/or legally licensed to practice midwifery. She must be able to give the necessary supervision, care and advice to women during pregnancy, labour and the postpartum period, to conduct deliveries on her own responsibility and to care for the newborn infant. This care includes preventative measures, the detection of abnormal conditions in mother and child, the procurement of medical assistance and the execution of emergency measures in the absence of medical help. She has an important task in health counselling and education, not only for the patients, but also within the family and community. The work should involve antenatal education and preparation for parenthood and extends to certain areas of gynaecology, family planning and child care. She may practice in hospitals, clinics, health units, domiciliary conditions, or in any other service.


As of January 1, 1994, the practice of midwifery in Ontario has been covered in legislation that regulates several health professions in the province. Midwives are required to be registered with the College of Midwives of Ontario, which sets standards for practice and education. All aspects of midwifery care are fully funded for Ontario residents through the Ministry of Health.

The Ontario model of midwifery is based on three principles:



Scope of the Practice


Midwifery Act, 1994
" The practice of midwifery is the assessment and monitoring of women during pregnancy, labour and the post-partum period and of their newborn babies, the provision of care during normal pregnancy, labour and post-partum period and the conducting of spontaneous normal vaginal deliveries."