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Lay midwife?

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
What is a lay midwife? I am in Canada and midwives are covered by OHIP. I couldn't afford to pay anyone and I think you have to pay lay midwives, right? Also I don't even know if they exist in Canada (Ontario). This is so very stressful for me as I think I might be pregnant (can't test for another week!). I don't want to do this unassisted but I will do that before I go to a hospital and to an OB. I have been told that a VBAC will exclude me from a homebirth, or maybe any birth, with a CNM. I don't know what to do!

PS We do live about 4 minutes from a hospital.
post #2 of 9

I'm not sure if we have lay midwives in Canada. I know there are midwives who've had all their formal training and then did not register. They are called private birth attendants because they cannot call themselves midwives while unregistered. There are a few in Ontario, but I haven't heard very good things about one woman in particular.

Most midwives in Ontario will do vbac homebirths. The attitudes vary among each midwifery practice. I live in Durham region (east of Toronto) and the group here does vbac at home. They are not allowed to take on vba2c's woman, though. I had these midwives for my second birth, a planned homebirth vbac, and then had another cesarean. They really let me down at that birth and now won't even take me because of my twice cut uterus.

There is a vbac midwife in Toronto who will take almost any woman that wants a normal birth badly enough. Try the midwives in your area first to see what their philosophy is on vbac. Most will take clients with only one previous c/s, but if you hear words like "trial of labour" or "no homebirth allowed' then run for your life!
post #3 of 9
I really hate the term lay midwife because it lumps a lot of different skill levels together depending on the laws of the area the midwife is practicing in. Lay midwifes can range from some lady who decided oone morning that she wanted catch babies and read a book on the subject and then declared herself a midwife to the woman who has studied for years,apprenticed for years, has attended hundreds of births. recieved advanced training from midwifery schools, chiropractors and other alternative health care providers, and at some point in thier took and passed the exams to become a Certified Professional Midwife but in all that has never become a Certified NURSE Midwife and is therefore still in the catagory of Lay midwife and generally frowned upon by people in the medical field and thought of as ignorant. So if you do decide on using some widwife who isn't a CNM check her referances and certification and her membership in MANA (Midwives Alliance of North America).

I am so happy for you Heavenly. I am praying for you and sending warm tiny little baby thoughts your way
post #4 of 9
I also live in Canada, but in the Yukon. I am privledged to have a good friend who is a lay midwife. As midwifery is not covered by health care in the Yukon I do pay for this service, but happily. By paying from my own pocket I maintain complete control over my pre-natal, birth, and postnatal care. My partner and I often laugh that we are paying so much money to have someone not intervene.
It is definitely worth exploring who is available in the Toronto area. Ask lot's of questions and don't feel pressured to make a commitment to someone.
Good Luck
post #5 of 9
Every midwife I've ever had has had a sliding scale, including the lay midwife who assisted with our last homebirth. Insurance has never covered our midwives, but many midwives have both sliding scales and payment plans - look into it!
post #6 of 9
i had a lay midwife, but she has years of experience, has delivered about a thousand babies and is a certified professional midwife. here in new mexico lay midwives are liscensed. hilary did get her rn, but it wasn't all that necessary. she's awesome. knowledge is power, the more you know the better you can tell if your prospective midwife knows what they should know. plenty of md's are incompetent idiots.
post #7 of 9
We call them traditional midwives here in Australia. The best one available is a French Canadian lady and I know she practiced for many years in Quebec although it technically was not legal. She's extremely skilled and knowledgable, probably the best midwife in the state, and has just been banned from practicing bc she's not a RN. I hope the situation is a little rosier over there (I'm an ex-pat Canadian myself).
Anyway, it really depends on the individual midwife so you need to get the opinions of previous clients and also meet her to see if you're compatible. We've found it definitely to be worth the money to pay a private midwife even if we do struggle a bit for awhile. It's about $2000 here and I've never met a rich family in the home birth circuit.
post #8 of 9
Not to sound like a nudge...

a lay midwife usually has no "formal" schooling. They may be intensely experienced or people who just "decided" to be a midwife one day. They may have gobs of experience or none.

a CPM is a midwife who may have been a lay midwife (aka Direct Entry Midwife, or DEM), or who may be a CNM (Certified Nurse Midwife) who has chosen to take exams through NARM (North American Registry of Midwives) which document her didactic and practical education.

I am a DEM who has a premed degree in Biology, took a holistic birth assistant program, then did a two year apprenticeship including a 9 week internship at a *very* busy practice in Texas. I have taken continuing ed credits, and have been certified in NNR. I don't have the $1400 it will cost me to test for my CPM even though I'd like to take it to prove to myself that I can.

Accredidation doesn't make a good midwife. Please consider all aspects of a midwife before you choose her (or him!) Ask lots of questions. Don't be afraid to get the answers you need.

take care,
post #9 of 9
Also ask to speak to some others who have used her if you haven't already.
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