Saskatchewan NDP calls for midwife post-secondary education program

Numerous factors play a role in preterm birth. Risks include pregnancy before age 17 or after 40, having twins or more, and the mother's own health, such as being underweight or overweight, having diabetes or high blood pressure, and whether she smokes. CLAUDIO SANTANA/AFP/GettyImages

Saskatchewan NDP is looking to boost the availability of midwife services in Saskatchewan.

In a letter posted to Twitter, advanced education critic Jennifer Bowes called on the advanced education minister to begin work on a new post-secondary program.

“I understand there have been some difficulties with recruitment and [with] retaining midwives. Sometimes they’ll come here, they’ll get a little bit experience under their belt and then move on,” she said.

“So we think this is a really key component.”

Read more: Demand for midwifery services in Saskatoon leads to more women being declined

The letter is endorsed by the Midwives Association Of Saskatchewan.

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The group said in a statement to Global News the education would be critical to keeping midwives in the province and making care more readily available. The statement added that, “A local education system will help support families across this province to have better access to midwifery care, especially in our smaller communities.

“It will allow people to train in their home communities, or closer to them, in a safe and culturally appropriate setting.”

Bowes said Friday her public consultation webpage has received several responses.

“This is an extremely top of mind issue for a lot of women,” Bowes said. “It’s a really important part of reproductive health for women and it’s something that they want to see.”

She said she has yet to receive a response from the minister.

Read more: Birth alerts have been axed in Saskatchewan, but what comes next?

“Midwife-facilitated births tend to have a lower rate of C-sections, they tend to have shorter hospital stays and there’s potential for less intervention,” Bowes said. “So that’s a big piece of the cost savings here that I would hope the government would be considering.”

Minister of Advanced Education Gene Makowsky to a request for comment late Friday evening.

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Read more: ‘The unknowns’: Giving birth amidst the worldwide coronavirus pandemic

“The Government of Saskatchewan considers funding requests for new programs as part of its annual budget process in light of government and institutional priorities, financial resources and provincial labour market needs,” the statement read.

“The Ministry of Advanced Education, along with the Ministry of Health, continue to evaluate the demand for training within the context of the province’s overall training and health human resource planning. In the 2020-21 budget, the Ministry of Health provided $2.8 million, a $410,000 increase for three additional midwifery positions in the province.”

Click to play video: 'Lack of access to Indigenous midwifery'
Lack of access to Indigenous midwifery

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