Much-needed midwifery services are coming to Fort McMurray after years of advocating.
The provincial government is planning to open at least one practice in the community after requests from multiple maternity groups and the municipality.
These specialists serve as the families physician when it comes to caring for them during the pregnancy and the following weeks after the birth.
Minister of Health Sarah Hoffman tells Mix News the idea is to have two midwives, at the minimum, work in the community.
“Each midwife can get up to 40 pregnancies that she supports and we typically try to have two midwives in each community so they can sleep at one point or even run some errands or those types of things.”
According to Alberta Health Services, there aren’t any midwives in Fort McMurray – with only three working in the entire North Zone.
However, Hoffman notes it will be some time before a local practice can open its doors.
She says they hope to have everything completed within a year.
“Grande Prairie is moving forward in the fall and then we hope to expand into Fort McMurray and Lethbridge after that, so it’s definitely exciting for the woman who’ve been waiting for this choice in the community.”
The province plans on consulting with multiple groups, including local maternity groups and the Northern Lights Regional Health Centre, to discuss all the details moving forward.
Hoffman adds they’re looking into possibly getting these midwives the chance to work out of the hospital.
“There are some conversations back and forth around hospital privileges – in Fort Saskatchewan, for example, midwives have the ability to work straight out of the hospitals – that may be a model some woman choose.
Until a local practice opens, women looking to use midwifery services will have to go outside of the community – the closest being in Lac La Biche where two midwives work.