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A wise government decision

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Added: Thu, 03/24/2016 - 12:10am
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On February 29, Minister of Health Gaetan Barrette officially opened the new Maison de Naissance birthing centre in Gatineau in hopes of reducing the number of women going to Ontario to give birth (full story page 40). The new, larger facility will increase the number of midwives from 10 to 15 and consequently be able to increase the number of births they attend to 350 per year.
Although the new facility represented a $3.4 million investment (Fondation Santé Gatineau - $800,000; CISSSO - $1.1 million; and Quebec government $1.5 million) in a time when significant cuts are being made to the health services industry, investing in the centre was a wise decision not only for the well-being of pregnant women and newborns, but also from a financial standpoint. In fact, further investment in the centre or similar centres would likely recuperate some of the CISSSO’s deficit and help restore the province to the notorious ‘deficit zero’.
Aside from being a far more personal approach to childbirth that is no more risky than being followed by an OBGYN in a hospital, the midwifery care approach
has several benefits, one being it’s cost-effectiveness. Care is provided to women and babies based on their individual circumstances rather than hospital
protocols, and testing and interventions are chosen based on the mother and babies’ risk factors and needs.
Hospitals have a job to do and efficiency is highly valued, which means that many have standardised, one-size-fits-all style maternity care. Before a mother or fetus is even looked at, an action plan for their care already exists - ultrasounds, testing for
gestational diabetes and Strep B at X weeks, induction after X weeks, etc. Every mother and fetus is different; each woman has a different body and health and each baby develops at a different pace.
While undergoing all routine tests can be reassuring, it’s costly and in normal, healthy pregnancies, it’s often unnecessary and excessive.
Should integrating the midwifery approach into hospital maternity care be encouraged? Contrary to the one-size-fits-all method, low-risk mothers and
babies would no longer be undergoing unnecessary procedures and testing, and it would free up time for those who actually require the support of modern obstetrics.
While some of the government’s recent decisions related to the health industry can be regarded as questionable, here’s one instance where we can tip our hat to a
decision that fulfills the government’s desire for less (cheaper) while actually leaving the population with more. 
Allyson Beauregard