Two midwives will start taking new Whitehorse-based clients in early July.
People who live in the city and are in their first 20 weeks of pregnancy can begin applying for midwifery care, according to a June 23 release by the Yukon government.
In the release, anyone who applies can expect to hear back from the program and midwives will start accepting clients into the clinic next month.
“The Yukon Midwifery Program provides Yukoners with an additional option for safe, integrated care during pregnancy, birth and postpartum, without having to pay out of pocket,” reads the release.
“Registered midwives are licensed, insured and fully integrated into Yukon’s health care system. They will work closely with other health providers to provide Yukoners with high quality care.”
The release notes midwives will work out of the clinic at 9010 Quartz Rd., in the hospital or in people’s homes.
“The Yukon’s approach to midwifery care is aligned with standards and best practices in Canada,” reads the release.
Expectant parents living outside Whitehorse who want a licensed midwife will have to leave the territory or find another option, for now.
The Yukon has had no active practising licensed midwives since regulations went into effect more than a year ago, alongside standards of practice and a code of ethics.
In a January 2021 press release, the Department of Health and Social Services expected funded and regulated midwifery services to launch in fall 2021. The regulatory framework, which went into effect April 15, 2021, was considered a “key step” in regulating, funding and integrating midwifery services into the healthcare system, according to the release.
The program rollout has been delayed for multiple reasons. As previously reported by the News, Health and Social Services Minister Tracy-Anne McPhee said although the first midwife was hired in December 2021, a second one had to be brought on before licensed work could begin under the program.
“There definitely needs to be two midwives in order to support one another and to provide the services properly, and that’s certainly something that came from the experts in the field,” she said.
Following question period in the legislature on April 14, McPhee told reporters when the midwifery program opens, the model of care will allow midwives to provide prenatal and postnatal care to clients and their babies. It will be a clinic-based system in which midwives will have hospital privileges.
The department previously told the News the two registered midwives will be the primary care provider for up to 20 births in total over the course of a year.
NDP Leader Kate White advanced a motion urging the Yukon government to work with the Yukon Hospital Corporation to grant midwives hospital privileges in the Dawson City Community Hospital and the Watson Lake Community Hospital. Another motion from White calls on the government to make midwifery support available in communities outside of Whitehorse.
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