Finding a Primary Care Provider For Your Pregnancy
In the Greater Victoria area, your prenatal and postpartum care can be provided in pregnancy by either a Registered Midwife or a Family Physician who provides perinatal care. They will provide care through your pregnancy and attend your labour and birth. You cannot have both a midwife and a maternity doctor. If you birth in the hospital, often you will have Labour & Delivery Nurses or Postpartum Nurses also involved in your care. Specific to the Victoria area, Obstetricians (OBs) or Maternal Fetal Medicine (MFM) are specialists and do not provide routine perinatal care. You will only see them if a need arises in your pregnancy; for example if there are specific pregnancy variations (multiple birth for example) or complications or concerns that may occur in your routine prenatal care (gestational diabetes, planning a caesarean section, or hoping for a vaginal delivery after a previous c-section, for example). This will occur whether you have a family physician or a midwife providing your care.
It is important that you reach out to your chosen primary care provider for routine prenatal care as soon as possible to ensure space within their clinic. Many providers have a limitation on how many people they will provide care for each month. There is a shortage of care providers on Vancouver Island and we encourage you to be proactive in finding a care provider that suits your needs! Please reach out to us if you have any questions or concerns and we can assist you in finding a care provider to meet your needs.
Midwives are medically trained in healthy pregnancy, birth, and postpartum care. They can provide MSP-funded care from the time you find out you are pregnant until 6-8 weeks after birth. Midwives complete either a four-year direct-entry degree, or a multi-year international bridging program, which covers specialist care for low-risk pregnancy and birth, and up to 6 weeks postpartum for care of parent and baby.
Midwives have a specific and limited scope of practice which means when families have additional issues such as pre-existing hypertension, Type 1 diabetes, seizure disorders, heart or kidney disease, midwives can either share care with a family physician or an obstetrician, or they transfer care to a family physician.
The midwifery model is unique in that it often offers longer appointments, the option of out-of-hospital birth for low-risk people, and home visits in the first few weeks postpartum to check on parent and baby and to assist with things like breast/chestfeeding.
Midwives can work solo or they can work as a part of a group providing shared care for a community of clients. These groups generally tend to be smaller than physician groups.
Indigenous midwives and Indigenous midwifery respond to the TRC Call To Action 23, and to the MMIWG2S+ call to action 7.4 to support culturally safe care for Indigenous families and revitalize Indigenous health and wellness. To find Indigenous perinatal care providers please reach out directly to our clinic for more information.
Access Midwifery: https://accessmidwifery.ca/ (only accepting EDDs until mid-August 2023)
Arbutus Midwives: https://arbutusmidwives.com/
Birth Partnership: https://birthpartnershipvictoria.com/
Cook Street Community Midwives: http://www.cookstmidwives.com/
Dandelion Midwifery: https://dandelionmidwifery.com/index.html
Earthside Birth: https://www.earthsidebirth.ca/
Roundhouse Midwives: https://www.roundhousemidwives.com/
Sooke Midwifery: http://www.sookemidwifery.com/
Stellar’s Jay Midwifery, at Brix Wellness: https://www.brixwellnessvictoria.com/meet-the-team
The Midwives Collective: https://themidwivescollective.ca/
Family Physicians Providing Perinatal Care
Family physicians who provide perinatal care (Maternity Doctors) provide perinatal and newborn care. Their training and education includes four years of medical school and a two year residency in family medicine.
Family physicians can also provide care for non-obstetrical related concerns in pregnancy. For some people who have chronic conditions or other health concerns unrelated to pregnancy, they might find a family physician better suited to their care. Many of these maternity doctors also have their own family practice, however most are not currently accepting new patients, and being cared for in your pregnancy does not guarantee you a spot in their practice.
Family physicians can provide care for more complex health and medical concerns in pregnancy and postpartum, for example: Type 1 Diabetes, pre-existing hypertension, seizure disorders. They can provide care for people who require medication management in pregnancy. Family Physicians often provide care from the first trimester until approximately 8 weeks postpartum.
Some family physicians are on call only for their own patients and take a small number of patients per year, but most now work in larger groups of 4 to 10 physicians to provide care for all the patients that are under the group. When you labour, you will be supported by the doctor on call for the group that day.
Physicians providing perinatal care in Victoria include: