Parenting

Midwives to prescribe drugs in Canada

Midwives may soon be able to give Canadian moms-to-be the option of pain relief medication during labour.

Photo: Mark Goddard/istock

Midwives in Canada are one step closer to being able to prescribe selected medications containing legal controlled substances, which is good news for moms-to-be who want a midwife-led birth but would still like the option of pain relief medication during labour.

Fittingly, the announcement proposing this new legislation comes on the heels of International Day of the Midwife (May 5). Canada’s Controlled Drugs and Substances Act currently only authorizes doctors, dentists and veterinarians to dispense controlled substances such as codeine, fentanyl and diazepam. If the Government passes this new legislation, both midwives and nurses will be able to deliver a more comprehensive level of care in provinces and territories where they are licensed to do so.

“The designation of midwives as practitioners as midwives under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act is an important first step,” said Kris Robinson, chairwoman of the Canadian Midwifery Regulators Consortium.

Personally, I welcome this news. Dianne Peters writes in the May issue of Today’s Parent in “Home Delivery” that for most women the decision to have a home birth “comes down to access to epidurals versus the intimacy of home.” If registered midwives are able to prescribe certain medications, expectant mothers should have more flexibility when choosing their birth plan, which is obviously a good thing. The proposed legislation should also help to control Canadian health-care costs as it’s more expensive to deliver in hospitals than at home.

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