Birthing women in B.C. normally receive their pregnancy care from either a:
- Registered Midwife
- GP (General Practitioner, i.e. family doctor) or
- Obstetrician (OB)
All of the above caregivers are covered through our province’s Medical Services Plan (MSP). MSP provides coverage for one caregiver only, as they consider care from a second provider to be redundant.
Registered Midwives normally work in pairs, where they take turns a) being on call and b) seeing women at their appointments. The pregnant woman usually has ample time to get to know each of her midwives, as each visit is at least a half hour long. Registered Midwives attend your labour as well as your birth, whether it is at home or in hospital; for a hospital birth it is usual for them to attend you at your home for the labour and then transfer with you to the hospital for the birth.
After the birth your midwife will see you in your home, to guide you in your recovery from the birth and help you establish successful breastfeeding. Your final visit with her is at 6 weeks, normally in her clinic, where she will do a final physical check-up of you and your baby.
There are not enough Registered Midwives in B.C. for all the women who would like their services. If you would like to receive midwifery care for your pregnancy, birth and post-partum, contact one soon; to preserve the quality of the care they provide they limit the number of clients they take.
Midwives Association of B.C. – locate a midwife
GP’s (General Practitioners):
If you are fortunate enough to have a family doctor (GP) you may receive at least part of your pregnancy care from a medical professional that you already know. Many GP’s do not attend births, however; they may see the pregnant woman only for the first part of her pregnancy, and then refer her to maternity clinics run by GP’s who do attend births. These GP’s are normally part of a large ‘call-group’ (as many as 8 physicians), meaning they take turns being on-call. You might see mostly one GP at a clinic throughout your pregnancy, but have another GP (the one ‘on-call’ at the time) whom you haven’t met attend your birth.
GP’s do not attend labours or home-births; nor do they provide any ‘in-home’ or post-partum (after the birth) care. The nurse attending you at your hospital birth will call your GP to attend when you are close to pushing your baby out. After the birth your GP normally advises you to book a follow-up appointment at his/her clinic for 6 weeks after the birth, where both you and your baby receive a 6-week physical check-up. Of course your GP is available for appointments before then should you need one.
College of Physicians & Surgeons of B.C. – locate a physician accepting new patients
Ridge-Meadows Maternity Clinic, Maple Ridge (no website) – serving pregnant women in Maple-Ridge and Pitt Meadows. Privileges at Ridge Meadows Hospital. Self-referrals accepted. Phone: 604-460-4444
Able Care Medical Clinic, Coquitlam Centre, Coquitlam (no website) – serving pregnant women in the Tri-Cities area. Privileges at Royal Columbian Hospital. Self-referrals accepted. Phone: 604-945-7819
Community Maternity Centre, Newport Village, Port Moody (no website) – serving pregnant women in the Tri-Cities area. Privileges at Royal Columbian Hospital. Self-referrals accepted. Phone: 604-949-7248
Primary Care Obstetrical Clinic, New Westminster (no website) – serving pregnant women in the Tri-Cities, Burnaby and New Westminster areas. Privileges at Royal Columbian Hospital. Self-referrals accepted. Phone: 604-520-6263
In B.C. an obstetrician (OB) only becomes involved in a woman’s pregnancy if there are medical complications that require his/her specialized skills. Your midwife or GP would identify a condition that needed further investigation, and would refer you to an OB for a consultation. A transfer of care would be done if you needed to see an OB throughout your pregnancy. Examples of such a complications are twin or multiple pregnancy, pre-eclampsia or a fetal anomaly that requires intervention immediately after the birth.