Know your options for maternity care.
Several health practitioners are trained to provide medical care and support for prenatal, labour and delivery, and postpartum care.
For B.C. residents, your Medical Services Plan (MSP) covers the cost of a main maternity care provider: a family physician, a registered midwife or an obstetrician.
Get your own copy of the Pregnancy Health Passport to guide your visits with your health care professional.
Family physicians work largely in community practices, typically offering maternity care as one component of their medical services. If your own doctor does not provide maternity services, he/she can make a referral.
If you do not have a family physician, attend a walk-in clinic where a doctor can make a referral for you to receive maternity services.
Midwives offer care to healthy, low-risk pregnant women from early pregnancy, through labour and birth, and up to six weeks postpartum. They can offer labour and delivery care in hospital or at home.
Like physicians, midwives are regulated and registered through a professional college. A referral is not required. Check with the Midwives Association of BC to find a list of registered midwives in your area.
Obstetricians are physicians with specialized education and training in the medical management of pregnancy, labour and birth. They are qualified to manage serious complications of pregnancy and have surgical training for performing cesarean births.
If you require specialized care, your family physician or midwife will complete a referral form for you to see an obstetrician.
Some women choose to use a doula for extra support during their labour and birth. Doulas do not provide medical care and they do not deliver babies. Rather, they provide continuous emotional and physical support to the labouring woman and her partner, and are skilled in non-medical pain relief.
The B.C. Medical Services Plan does not cover the cost of doula services. To find a list of doulas practicing in your area, check with the BC Doula Services Association.
Maternity care in the community
Primary Care Obstetrical Clinics or Community Maternity Clinics. Groups of family doctors and nurses together provide maternity services, including safe and comforting delivery. You may require a referral from your family doctor or walk-in clinic doctor.