Today wives, friends, grandmothers, husbands and children came together at City Hall Park to celebrate International Day of the Midwife.
“I think every Alberta woman deserves to have a midwife if they choose to have a midwife,” said Linnea Deutscher, midwifery advocate.
Today, the government also announced that fewer rural and remote Alberta families will have to drive to a city or join a waitlist to get midwifery care. This is thanks to a new agreement between Alberta Health Services and the Alberta Association of Midwives and stable government funding, officials said.
“We’re happy with the positive energy that’s going on,” said Deutscher.
The agreement will increase the number of midwives practicing in Alberta and includes a plan to get more midwives caring for families in rural and remote areas.
“I believe midwifery is so important because it gives women that constant care and one on one attention,” said Shannon McQuaig, a doula in the Red Deer area.
One of the other many advocates rallying for midwifery was Sarin Harrison who has had two home births.
She said she was rallying with the others to celebrate the midwives in Central Alberta and to let the government know that they appreciate the funding, but that more is needed.
“There are so many women on waitlists that want to be with midwives. We want women to have that choice and we want anyone that wants to be able to have a midwife to have that choice to birth with them.”
With two births using midwives, Harrison said although she doesn’t have a hospital birth to compare with, she said she wouldn’t change anything.
“It was so gentle and I had a choice of where I birthed and the comfort that I needed for that to happen. It’s just so important for me to be able to let my body do what it needs to do in its time, in its environment and to know that I am taken care of and that I have everything that I need to have a safe birth,” she said.
She said they encourage those that support midwifery to let their government know that they want more funding.
“So letting your local MLA know this is important and that we want more will just help them know what the need is in Alberta.”
Since 2015 the government has committed almost $13 million in new funding for midwifery care, including a three-year, $11 million investment in Budget 2016.