Birth Issues invites our readers to send in the following letter
template to your local MLA to help bring awareness to our
government of the issues surrounding maternal care within
The Honourable MLA;
I am writing in regards to midwifery care in Alberta and midwives’ current funding structure.
Alberta healthcare is not offering many families the right to midwifery care, nor is it maximizing saving potential within maternity care: forcing families to birth in ways that stretch both the infrastructure and finances of the health care system. Alberta needs to educate families on midwifery care, increase access to midwives by revising the funding model as well as continuing to grow access in underserved rural populations, and increase the funds midwives receive for a course of care for the first time since public funding a decade ago.
The current funding model does not streamline financing to directly supplement the growing demand for midwifery services. As a consequence, many mothers are unable to find midwifery support, placed on wait-lists, and must find alternate means of giving birth. Changing the funding model would remove the problem of the ‘cap’ on how many women can access midwifery care each year; this would ensure our newly trained graduates are staying within Alberta, that they are working to their full capacity, and receiving a livable wage. Maternity care provided by midwives must be more widely recognized as an essential service and should be joined under Alberta Health. The funding model must adapt to ensure maternity dollars follow mothers and babies, not caregivers.
Alberta Midwives currently deliver 5.5% of the babies in our province; this is well below the national average of 10.8% of midwifery assisted births, or the leading provinces of BC and Ontario at 22.4% and 18% respectively. Midwives reduce the patient care load of busy obstetricians who are in great demand for high-risk births and mothers with health concerns. Midwifery also offers the option of home and birth centre births for low-risk women, which frees up space in crowded hospital maternity wards and saves money and resources in the provincial health care budget.
In times of economic constraint, changing the funding model for midwifery makes sound financial sense. According to the most recent data midwives already save the province over $3 million each year. In 2020 when our current midwives are able to work at full capacity they have the potential to save the province an additional $3 million. If education in midwifery and homebirth is increased throughout the province, and we align our midwifery attended births with the leading provinces (~20%), we could save an additional $8.6 million. Yet midwives have not received an increase in cost of living, or the price of a course of care for each pregnant woman attended, in a decade since becoming publicly funded.
Birth is a life-changing event that alters the lives of families and society as a whole. Midwifery improves outcomes in low-risk pregnancy, it empowers families, and sets these families up for success; midwifery is cost effective, and relieves an over-worked healthcare system.
Please ensure increased access to midwifery, upgrading the midwifery funding model, and raising the cost of a midwife’s course of care are priorities in Alberta.
Thank you for your consideration.
How to look up your MLA
You can find your riding here:
With your constituency you can then find your local MLA:
Meet your MLA in person
If you are able, add impact to your request and story by meeting with your MLA in person:
1. Call/email/go to your MLA’s office and make an appointment with his/her assistant.
2. Explain that you would like to meet your MLA to increase access to midwifery care.
3. Mention you will send briefing notes via email to prepare the MLA for the meeting.
4. Mention the names of others who will be part of the meeting. Give their contact info. There is always strength in numbers!
5. Send a follow up email with contact info, time and date of the meeting, a fact sheet and your personal story (story and fact sheet in an attached document).
6. When writing your story, include your address, date, caregiver’s name, hospital name and the details of the birth. Write a paragraph that outlines what you suffered
through, or how midwifery care made a difference to you, and another explaining what your solutions would be. Solutions are important!
7. Do not email multiple MLAs and Ministers or use CC. Send individual emails or BCC them.
8. Always include your phone number, full address and legal name.
9. Provide MLA with a complaint they can act on and solutions that they can use.