Hospital midwifery unit set to open

Canada’s first in-hospital midwifery unit will open July 9 at Markham Stouffville Hospital (MSU).

The Alongside Midwifery Unit (AMU) is a dedicated birth centre operated by midwives and makes MSH “the hospital of choice” for women who want to have a midwife for their childbirth experience in a hospital setting, the MSH says in a statement.

“This hospital has a longstanding history of our obstetricians and staff working closely with their midwifery colleagues,” says Jo-anne Marr, President & CEO, MSH. “This takes our partnership to a whole new level. This model is truly transformational and puts the patient at the centre of their care.”

Patients of midwives can now experience the more natural and low intervention birth experience associated with midwifery care and still have access to obstetricians, neonatal and anaesthetic care, and diagnostic imaging on the same floor should they be needed during labour and birth.

Instead of a clinical environment, the AMU offers home-like features that align with midwifery philosophy. Birthing rooms offer alternatives that include upright birthing stools, hanging slings and tubs suitable for water births. The AMU will allow midwives to care for 1,100 women a year – up from 600 – without increasing costs. In fact, midwifery services save a significant amount of money, MSH reports.

“The AMU improves access to the right care close to home and the integration of care in the community with both hospital and community midwives,” says Carol Cameron, Executive Director, AMU, MSH. “It allows women to be partners in their own health care by providing education, information and options; protecting the future of our healthcare system.”

Midwives from Midwifery Services of Durham, Uxbridge Midwives and Markham Stouffville Midwives have admitting privileges at MSH. Two midwives in each team will typically attend a birth. Clients can contact midwives 24 hours a day, seven days a week with urgent concerns.

Alongside Midwifery Unit room with birthing suite and water birth tub. (CNW Group/Markham Stouffville Hospital)

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