Women's Health Clinic delighted to see support for a Winnipeg-based community birthing centre

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May 9, 2007

The Women's Health Clinic is delighted to see support by the leading political parties in Manitoba for a Winnipeg-based community birthing centre. We also are pleased to see increased numbers of funded positions for midwives and for a southern midwifery education program.

Birth Centres are an important option for women and their families who are seeking a home like atmosphere in which to give birth. In Quebec and England birth centres are a key component of maternity care. Birth Centres offer a comfortable, low-tech environment where birth is treated as a "normal" rather than a medical process. Birth centres are known for providing friendly, individualised care in an atmosphere that is informal and unhurried, staffed with highly skilled midwives. They are designed as home-like atmospheres for healthy women who are seeking a "natural" birthing experience without surgical or pharmaceutical interventions.

The Birth Centre would be a "Centre of Excellence" for maternity care and "low risk" birth and, as well as providing care, would support the training of midwives, doulas, nurses and possibly other care providers. Pre and post natal care as well as breast feeding and parenting support would also be offered.

It is time for women in Manitoba to have those advantages. The demand for midwifery services exceeds the capacity of current provincial programmes. Research shows that birth centres are a safe and efficient addition to maternity services. Supporting and upgrading an education program will help ensure better care now and for the future.

Our Birth Centre proposal was developed with a community-based interest group which came together in 2004 to increase birthing options for women and to strengthen support for low risk birth and midwifery. Members have included the Manitoba Association for Childbirth and Family Education, the Women's Health Clinic, midwives, doulas, the Prairie Women's Health Centre of Excellence as well as birthing women and their families.

Once the election is over, we look forward to working towards making the birth centre and midwifery training a reality.

For further information contact Madeline Boscoe at 947: 2422 ext 122 or cell 295 2946.