Yukon women and families deserve birth choices

Most people agree women should have choices regarding their birth process. Most mothers across Canada can choose our birth attendant and where we will plan to have our birth.

Most people agree women should have choices regarding their birth process. Most mothers across Canada can choose our birth attendant and where we will plan to have our birth. Most can do so in a regulated and publicly-funded health care system.

Families in the Yukon do not have this choice.

Midwifery and home births are not illegal in the Yukon, but are not regulated or funded by the government. There are no regulations guiding this process. Midwifery needs to be integrated into our medical system to ensure all women and their babies are safe and have immediate medical support if needed.

Now, individuals choosing this path must pay their own way. If you wish to have a home birth in the Yukon, you only have the option of hiring an unregistered midwife. This is agreeable for some families but it doesn’t offer choice of birth place and the safety standards offered in the rest of Canada.

Fees for midwifery services are not covered in the Yukon, meaning those who do not have the means to pay do not have equal access to this option. Almost all other jurisdictions in Canada allow families the option of birth attendants including registered midwives. Women and families can choose to give birth with a registered midwife in their home, a birth centre or a hospital.

The Community Midwifery Association of Yukon (CMAY) wants women and families in the Yukon to have equal access to birth options. We recommend the following:

—Regulating midwifery services in the territory ensuring clear standards to keep mothers and babies safe;

—Implementing a publicly funded model for midwifery services: Yukon families deserve a choice in how to best spend their healthcare dollars;

—Integrating sustainable and safe midwifery services with registered midwives as primary care providers. This includes hospital privileges so midwives can practice collaboratively with other healthcare practitioners as they do in the rest of the country;

—Authorizing the full scope of registered midwives. Allow midwives to be autonomous professionals who provide normal- and low-risk maternity care. They are experts;

—Letting families choose their birth place, either in a hospital, clinic or home, with a registered midwife as the primary care provider;

—Developing and implementing a Yukon specific pilot project based on the same model of midwifery care that exists in other Canadian jurisdictions;

—Creating a Midwifery Advisory and Implementation Committee to oversee drafting of legislation and establishment of licensing authorities.

All parties have promised to regulate and fund midwifery. If candidates knock on your door before election day, ask them how soon their party will implement these promises.

Kathleen Cranfield, President Community Midwifery Association Yukon

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A Copper Ridge resident clears their driveway after a massive over night snowfall in Whitehorse on Nov. 2, 2020. Environment Canada has issued a winter storm warning for the Whitehorse and Haines Junction areas for Jan. 18. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Winter storm warning for Haines Junction and Whitehorse

Environment Canada says the storm will develop Monday and last until Tuesday

Maria Metzen off the start line of the Yukon Dog Mushers Association’s sled dog race on Jan. 9. (Gabrielle Plonka/Yukon News)
Mushers race in preparation for FirstMate Babe Southwick

The annual race is set for Feb. 12 and 13.

The Yukon government is making changes to the medical travel system, including doubling the per diem and making destinations for medical services more flexible. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
Subsidy for medical travel doubled with more supports coming

The change was recommended in the Putting People First report endorsed by the government

Chloe Sergerie, who was fined $500 under the <em>Civil Emergency Measures Act</em> on Jan. 12, says she made the safest choice available to her when she entered the territory. (Mike Thomas/Yukon News file)
Woman fined $500 under CEMA says she made ‘safest decision’ available

Filling out a declaration at the airport was contrary to self-isolation, says accused

Yukon University has added seven members to its board of governors in recent months. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
New members named to Yukon U’s board of governors

Required number of board members now up to 17

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
Yukonomist: Your Northern regulatory adventure awaits!

“Your Northern adventure awaits!” blared the headline on a recent YESAB assessment… Continue reading

Yukoner Shirley Chua-Tan is taking on the role of vice-chair of the social inclusion working group with the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences’ oversight panel and working groups for the autism assessment. (Submitted)
Canadian Academy of Health Sciences names Yukoner to panel

Shirley Chua-Tan is well-known for a number of roles she plays in… Continue reading

The Fish Lake area viewed from the top of Haeckel Hill on Sept. 11, 2018. The Yukon government and Kwanlin Dün First Nation (KDFN) announced they are in the beginning stages of a local area planning process for the area. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Local area planning for Fish Lake announced

The Government of Yukon and Kwanlin Dün First Nation (KDFN) announced in… Continue reading

Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
City hall, briefly

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse city council this week

Fire damage, photographed on Jan. 11, to a downtown apartment building which occurred late in the evening on Jan. 8. Zander Firth, 20, from Inuvik, was charged with the arson and is facing several other charges following his Jan. 12 court appearance. (Gabrielle Plonka/Yukon News)
More charges for arson suspect

The Inuvik man charged in relation to the fire at Ryder Apartments… Continue reading

The grace period for the new Yukon lobbyist registry has come to an end and those who seek to influence politicians will now need to report their efforts to a public database. (Mike Thomas/Yukon News file)
Grace period for new lobbyist registry ends

So far nine lobbyists have registered their activities with politicians in the territory

Most Read