CUPE Joins With Manitoba Association of Midwives to Launch Awareness Campaign

Midwives Really Deliver Campaign Will Draw Attention to Midwife Shortages in Manitoba

WINNIPEG – Manitoba Midwives represented by CUPE Local 2348 are launching an awareness campaign to draw attention to the challenges facing the midwifery program in Manitoba.

Midwives and their clients will be featured prominently on Winnipeg Transit buses standing alongside the slogan “Manitoba Midwives Really Deliver”.

“Manitoba midwives are proud of the service we provide to expecting Manitoba families,” said Manitoba Association of Midwives President Megan Wilton, “however the fact that there are so few midwives in Manitoba means that the majority of families who would like a midwife to attend their birth are not able to access our services.  So, today we’re calling on the Manitoba government to do more to address midwife recruitment and retention.”

Demand for midwives is growing across Canada, resulting in a high number of families being denied midwifery services in all provinces. However, recent reports indicate that Manitoba may lead the country in refusal of service as a recent WRHA report says that 75% of pregnant women seeking the care of a midwife are turned away.

“We feel that there are three compelling reasons why the Manitoba government should address the midwifery shortage: higher levels of satisfaction with midwife-led primary care, cost effectiveness and that strong midwifery services will help ease the burden on the health care system allowing specialists to focus on other health care needs,” said CUPE National Representative Sheree Capar.

According to the Canadian Maternity Experiences Survey conducted by the Public Health Agency of Canada (2006), midwives scored higher than all other maternity practitioners in all categories of care.

Increasing evidence also suggests that there are considerable cost-savings associated with care provided by midwives compared to that provided by physicians and other practitioners. Some examples include lower rates of obstetrical interventions such as inductions, instrument-assisted births and Cesareans. This trend leads to decreased length of hospital stay, reducing the demand on overburdened hospital resources while preserving healthy outcomes for women and babies.

“I was unable to access midwifery care in my first pregnancy, despite contacting all the practices in the city”, said new mother Erin Bockstael, “so I was delighted and grateful to work with midwives at the new midwifery-led birth centre in my second pregnancy.”

June 12 marks the 12th anniversary of the Proclamation of the Midwifery Act, the law that recognizes  publicly funded and regulated midwifery in Manitoba.