Yes. Midwives are registered with and regulated by the BC College of Nurses & Midwives (BCCNM) according to the BC Health Professions Act, the Midwives Regulation and the BCCNM Bylaws. Midwives have been regulated and legally recognized as autonomous health care practitioners in BC since 1998.
Yes, the BC Ministry of Health covers the cost of midwifery services for all BC residents with a valid Care card or BC Services Card through the BC Medical Services Plan (MSP).
The BC Medical Services Plan covers only one primary care provider for the duration of your pregnancy and birth, to six weeks following delivery for healthy pregnancies. The choice of caregiver during your pregnancy is up to you.
Midwives are experts in healthy pregnancy and normal birth and consult with family doctors and other specialists such as obstetricians as the need arises. Six weeks after delivery, when your midwifery care is completed, you will be transferred back to your family doctor or nurse practitioner who will resume responsibility for the health of you and your new baby.
Families who do not have a family doctor or nurse practitioner are responsible for making arrangements for their ongoing primary care after their final midwifery appointment. We recognize that there is a local shortage of family physicians and nurse practitioners and we can provide you with information on where to seek care for your family.
If you are not covered by MSP, mention this on your intake form and we can discuss the option of paying for your care privately.
If you are wanting midwifery care, fill out our Intake Form as soon as you know you are pregnant. Midwifery practices fill up quickly due to the high demand and limited practitioners. Nonetheless, you can fill out an intake form at anytime in your pregnancy as space may become available.
If you started your pregnancy in the care of a doctor or nurse practitioner and would like to transfer to a midwife, it is possible provided we have an available spot.
At First Light, limited spots are reserved for folks who may benefit significantly from midwifery care. If you are applying late in pregnancy, please consider letting us know how accessing midwifery care may reduce or alleviate barriers to culturally-appropriate, gender-affirming and/or safe health care for you and your family.
Midwives, family physicians and nurse practitioners all provide a relatively similar frequency of visits for routine pregnancy care. The length of individual visits in pregnancy is often longer with midwives. Longer visits allow for physical, emotional and social health assessments and allow time for informed decision making and the development of a trusting relationship between clients and their care providers. In order to support the new family following delivery, we provide more frequent visits in the first two weeks, many of which occur at our clients’ homes.
Midwives often work in groups of two or three, but may also work as solo providers or in interdisciplinary teams with other care providers such as doctors or nurses. In small group practices, most clients will have met all of the midwives in the group by the time their labour begins.
Clients accepted into care will be assigned to one of two experienced midwives (First Light Midwifery's Ace Porter or midwife Rosalynd Curry). Both midwives work in a supported solo model. In this model, one midwife provides the majority of a client’s care, fostering safety, continuity, meaningful relationships and an individualized approach to care. However, as our midwives provide some coverage for one another (the ‘supported’ in ‘supported solo’), you may occasionally receive some care with the other midwife.
Midwives consult with family doctors, obstetricians, pediatricians and other specialists as the need arises. A transfer of care could arise under urgent scenarios. Unless a complication arises early in pregnancy midwives often remain involved in a supportive role, with care sometimes transferred back to the midwife once the complication has subsided.
In the community and at Royal Inland Hospital, we are blessed to work alongside an absolutely amazing team of skilled and caring practitioners from a variety of disciplines. We have excellent working relationships with our Obstetrician colleagues and, when the need arises, we value their expertise and involvement in our clients’ care.
As one of the first midwives in Kamloops to complete the Surgical Assist training, Ace Porter has really enjoyed working closely with her Obstetrician colleagues as a Surgical Assistant at Cesarean sections since 2019.
Yes, Registered Midwives offer a complete panel of prenatal laboratory tests, genetic screening and diagnosis options, ultrasound imaging and many other tests and procedures for clients and newborns. A midwife's scope of practice includes the use of many medications that may be indicated in pregnancy, during labour—including emergency situations or pain medication—and following birth. If medication or testing is required outside of this scope of practice, midwives consult with and refer to doctors as indicated for that aspect of our client’s care.
Yes, this is possible depending on your personal circumstances. During your initial visit, your midwife should be able to give you an idea of whether the care you need is covered by their scope of practice.
Should complications arise while in a midwife's care at any time, the midwife will follow provincial guidelines that will help inform the decision to consult with or transfer care to the appropriate doctor or other specialist. Individual hospitals also often have policies on when consultation or transfer may take place.
Typically, indications for consultation or transfer of care will be discussed with you prior to initiation and you will have an opportunity to discuss your preferences and ask questions.
Yes, midwives offer choice of birthplace to healthy, low-risk clients based on the principles of informed decision making. On average, 70% of births attended by midwives in BC occur in hospitals. This number varies by practice and community.
Clients are supported to birth where they feel most comfortable, whether at home or in hospital. It is important that this choice, like others during midwifery care, is an informed decision. Midwives enjoy sharing information about home and hospital delivery as they help clients prepare for birth at their chosen location. Historically, 30-50% of clients at First Light Midwifery plan their births at home. For those planning to labour and birth in their own home, their midwife will provide a 36-37 week home visit. While those planning hospital birth, can visit Labour and Delivery at Royal Inland Hospital prior to labour in order to get familiar with the space.
For more information on home birth in BC, you can read the BCCNM Place of Birth Handbook.
Midwives offer a range of natural and pharmaceutical pain relief options, including access to epidurals. It is paramount in midwifery care that clients have access to the information necessary to make informed decisions about the use of pain relief options. These options are discussed during prenatal visits as well as during prenatal classes.
Midwives have a 42% lower cesarean section rate than the provincial average. However, in certain circumstances a cesarean birth may be recommended as a safer option than a vaginal birth. In most situations, midwives are involved in your decision making, and will usually be present during a cesarean birth and provide care for a healthy baby afterwards.
If you are a client of Ace Porter, she has additional training as a Surgical Assistant and, at the discretion of the surgeon, will often assist at her clients’ cesarean sections.
During pregnancy, clients continue to see their nurse practitioner, family doctor or specialist physician for health issues unrelated to pregnancy. (For example, clients taking medications for mental health support continue to have that care provided by their family doctor, nurse practitioner and/or psychiatrist as appropriate.)
Doulas do not provide medical care and do not catch babies. Midwives are trained to provide all the necessary medical care throughout low risk pregnancy and birth and to monitor the health and well-being of you and your baby following your birth.
Doulas work alongside midwives as a part of the team providing continuous emotional and physical support and are a positive addition to the birth team for clients who want extra support.
For more information about doulas, please visit the BC Doula Services Association. If you or your partner are Aboriginal, you qualify for a free doula through the BC Association of Aboriginal Friendship Centres.