February 7, 2020
FORT McMURRAY – Full midwifery services are now available at Fort McMurray’s Northern Lights Regional Health Centre, giving local and area residents increased choice for maternity care.
Earlier this week, a registered midwife joined the hospital’s maternal healthcare team, offering prenatal care to women with low-risk pregnancies. The first midwifery-assisted deliveries will occur in April.
“We know there’s been much interest from the community to bring midwifery services to Fort McMurray and area,” says Tyler Shandro, Minister of Health. “The Government of Alberta and Alberta Health Services are taking steps to improve access to these services in the area and across the province. This is great news for women and families because it means more options for their care – and for the care of new babies in the community.”
“I’m thrilled that our government is following through on our campaign commitment to increase access to services such as midwifery, particularly in northern and rural parts of the province,” adds Laila Goodridge, MLA for Fort McMurray-Lac La Biche. “This was certainly something I heard about while knocking on doors and speaking with constituents, and it’s spectacular to see an increase in access to health services in our constituency.”
Planning is underway to bring additional registered midwives to Fort McMurray and other areas in AHS North Zone. More families will have the option of choosing a registered midwife as their care provider, as well as a planned birth location either close to home, at home or at the hospital.
“AHS remains focused on increasing the number of midwives working with AHS across the province, particularly in Indigenous, underserved and rural areas,” says AHS President and CEO Dr. Verna Yiu. “We have made significant strides in improving access to midwifery services in recent years and we will continue the momentum.”
Registered midwives provide a full spectrum of maternal and newborn care, from prenatal to labour and delivery, until six weeks post-partum.
“Bringing midwifery services to Fort McMurray and area will support informed choice for patients and families when it comes to care provider and birthplace,” says Danica Sharp, AHS Director of Provincial Midwifery Services.
About 2,600 babies are delivered annually by AHS staff at the Northern Lights Regional Health Centre.
There are nearly 150 other registered midwives across the province who provide services through AHS. About 3,500 Alberta families used midwifery services over the past year, an increase of approximately 50 per cent since 2014/15. Registered midwives in Alberta are regulated by the College of Midwives of Alberta.
Alberta Health Services is the provincial health authority responsible for planning and delivering health supports and services for more than four million adults and children living in Alberta. Its mission is to provide a patient-focused, quality health system that is accessible and sustainable for all Albertans.