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The Midwives Collective of Toronto has worked as a group practice providing community based midwifery care in Toronto since 1983. We provide midwifery care during pregnancy, labour, birth and the postpartum period. We attend both home and hospital births. All of the midwives in our group have privileges at Mount Sinai Hospital. All collective midwives are registered with the regulatory organization, the College of Midwives of Ontario and are active members of the professional organization, the Association of Ontario Midwives. We have midwives who speak Cantonese, Dutch, English, Farsi, Flemish, French, Mandarin, Slovak and Spanish.
We work closely together as a group, which we think helps us to provide a consistent standard of care, organized back-up, and to reduce burn-out of midwives as on call health care providers. We have weekly meetings which allow regular peer review and information sharing.
We provide continuity of care by working in partnerships which usually include a first on-call midwife, a second on-call midwife and a student midwife. This team usually shares prenatal care, attends the birth and shares postnatal care. A third midwife is assigned to each client to cover overlapping births or time off call.
Choosing midwifery care means you are choosing a distinct style of maternity care, focused on childbirth as a normal healthy process, continuity of care and informed choice. Midwives work as independent, primary caregivers and are funded to provide comprehensive care to clients and their families during pregnancy, birth and the first six weeks postpartum. Our services are an alternate to, not in addition to, medical and nursing care, for normal pregnancy and childbirth. If complications arise, we work in a team with medical and nursing professionals.
We provide prenatal care in our clinic, attend labour and birth at home and in the hospital, and provide early postnatal care in the client’s home and later postnatal care in our clinic. Midwifery care for planned hospital births includes monitoring labour at home, transfer to the hospital late in active labour with first babies and in well established labour for subsequent births, and early discharge (usually within 4 hours after the birth) from the hospital, with postpartum care provided by your midwives at home.
The emphasis in midwifery care is on birth as a normal physiologic process and an important life event and in supporting client’s to make informed choices. As primary caregivers our role is limited to low-risk pregnancy, childbirth and postpartum. Midwives provide a “low intervention” style of care that seeks to avoid the routine use of drugs and technology. Midwives work together with clients and their families and support people to use alternatives to birth technology. One example in the prenatal period is using careful history taking rather than routine ultrasound to establish a client’s expected date of birth. During labour and delivery midwives use position change, hands-on comfort measures and emotional support to reduce the need for pain-relieving drugs. Although the use of technology and drugs is sometimes necessary and is always open to midwifery clients when needed, clients who plan to use birth technology routinely may find medical care a more appropriate choice.