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What to Expect with your Midwife

What to Expect with your Midwife

Ontario midwives are primary care providers and will work with you through pregnancy, labour, and the first six weeks after your baby is born. Your midwife will:

  • Be registered with the College of Midwives of Ontario, and show evidence of it on request.
  • Meet all standards of practice of the profession, and stay current on best practices in maternal and newborn care. (A list of current College standards is available on our website.)
  • Ensure you receive all tests, examinations, check-ups, and referrals you require and accept. Your midwife will consult with a physician if it becomes necessary.
  • Inform you about your choices and respect your decisions about your care.
  • Answer your questions and listen to your concerns.
  • Continue to care for you and care for your newborn for six weeks after your baby is born.

The College maintains a public register which provides information about every midwife who practises in Ontario. You can search for midwives and midwifery practices on our public register.

If you have any questions for the College about your midwife or midwifery practice, please call or email us.

If you are contacting the College to make a complaint or report a concern, our professional conduct staff will be able to help. The College has a committee to deal with complaints or concerns regarding midwives’ conduct, and we are committed to serving the public. More information on the complaints process can be found on the complaints page on our website, or by calling our office.

FAQs for Midwifery Clients and the Public

As a midwifery client or a member of the public, you may have questions about midwifery and the College. We hope these frequently asked questions help. Please select a topic below for more information.

Finding a Midwife

Question: Can the College recommend a midwife?

Answer: No, we don’t recommend midwives or help you find a midwife. We do provide information on midwives through our public registry, a listing of every midwife that has been registered with the College since 1994. The searchable online public register will provide you with information about Ontario midwives, including their practice information, registration information, and conduct information, if relevant, which may assist you in deciding who to choose for your care. Click here to read more about the public register.

Question: How can I find out if my midwife has good standing with the College?

Answer: The College’s searchable online public register will provide you with information about Ontario midwives, including their conduct information and registration history where applicable.  For a complete list of conduct-related information that is currently available on the public register, click here.

Question: I can’t find my midwife in your public register. Does this mean they are not a real midwife?

Answer: The College’s public register is a complete listing of all the midwives that have ever been registered with the College. If you cannot find your midwife’s name in the public register or you suspect that someone you are dealing with as midwife is not registered with the College, please contact us immediately at 416.640.2252 ext. 224 or conduct@cmo.on.ca.

According to the Midwifery Act, 1991 only registered midwives can use the title “midwife” or any variation of that title. In addition, people who are not registered midwives cannot hold themselves out as midwives. This prevents people from pretending that they are midwives when they are not.

The only exception is an Indigenous person who provides traditional midwifery services. They may use the title “Aboriginal midwife” or a variation, abbreviation, or an equivalent in another language and may hold themselves out as a person who is qualified to practise in Ontario as an Aboriginal midwife.

Using a Midwife

Question: I have never used a midwife before. What should I expect?

Answer: Ontario midwives are primary care providers and will work with you through pregnancy, labour, and the first six weeks after your baby is born. If you have never used a midwife before or want to find out more about midwifery regulation in Ontario, you may find it useful to read the Professional Standards for Midwives, and the other questions on this page.

Question: I want to know more about how the midwifery profession is regulated in Ontario. Where can I find this information?

Answer: All midwives are required provide appropriate information to their clients about how midwifery is regulated in Ontario, including how the College’s complaints process works. If you haven’t been provided this information, you can request it from your midwife at any time.

The College has a Professional Practice Advisor who will assist you if you have questions related to midwifery practice as well as College standards and regulations governing the midwifery profession. You can reach our Professional Practice Advisor by phone at 416-640-2252 ext. 230 or by email:  practiceadvice@cmo.on.ca.

You can access all College resources on our Resources page here.

Concerns About Midwives

Question: How do I make a complaint about my midwife?

Answer: We receive complaints by email or regular mail or audio/video recording. You can submit a complaint at any time as there is no time limitation. Informing us as soon as possible is recommended, however, as it allows us to act in a timely manner.  This may result in the protection of other clients.

You can file the complaint yourself, or ask someone act on your behalf, such as a family member, friend, or your lawyer. Click here to find out more about our complaints process. As well, you can contact College staff by phone at: 416-640-2252 ext. 224 or by email at: conduct@cmo.on.ca

Question: If I am not satisfied with your decision on my complaint, what options do I have?

Answer: If you are dissatisfied with a decision from the College’s Inquiries, Complaints, and Reports Committee, you can make an appeal to the Health Professions Appeal and Review Board with 30 days of the decision being issued by the College.

Health Professions Appeal and Review Board
151 Bloor Street West, 9th Floor Toronto ON M5S 1S4

Tel: 416-327-8512 Toll-Free: 1-866-282-2179 Fax: 416-327-8524
Email: hparb@ontario.ca

Question: I have concerns about my midwife, but I don’t want to make a formal complaint. What other options do I have?

Answer: Consider raising your concerns with your midwife. We require midwifery practices to establish a system to deal with their clients’ expressed concerns promptly, fairly, and openly. Your midwife or the practice administrator should have given you details of their concerns procedures when you started using their services. If not, you can request this information from them at any time.

You can also share your concerns with us without filing a formal complaint. Based on the information provided, the Registrar of the College may make further inquiries. The registrar may decide to appoint an investigator to examine the matter if the registrar believes there are reasonable and probable grounds that the midwife may have committed an act of professional misconduct or is incompetent. The registrar will then report the results of the investigation to a panel of the College’s Inquiries, Complaints and Reports Committee (ICRC) to review and make a decision.

 Practice of Midwifery

Question: Can my midwife write a note to my employer recommending I take a pregnancy leave from work?

Answer: Yes – your midwife can write a note to your employer because, according to the Employment Standards Act, 2000, a midwife is considered a legal qualified medical practitioner who can authorize leaves related to your pregnancy.

Question: I want to plan a home birth, but my midwife said I will have to plan a hospital birth. What are my options?

Answer: Planning where to have your baby is your choice and should be made by considering the benefits and risks to you. For more information about the choices midwives must provide during your care, please review standards #15, 16, 18 and 19 in the Professional Standards for Midwives.

Question: Why did my midwife tell me I had to get one of my blood tests at my doctor’s office?

Answer: There are some tests that midwives cannot order which means they will have to send you to another health care provider (often a physician) for the test. A midwife is not able to order any test that is not included in Appendix B of the Laboratory and Specimen Collection Centre Licensing Act, R.S.O 1990 L.1 – “Tests that a midwife may request.”