Note: This article was originally posted in our July 2018 newsletter, and has not been updated.
On June 1, 2018, the Professional Standards came into effect, and the requirement for two midwives at a birth was replaced by the requirement of either two midwives or one midwife and a second birth attendant. For this reason, we revised the College’s Second Birth Attendant Standard to better define the expectations for midwives who work with second birth attendants.
The College has established a minimum standard that is in the best interest of midwifery clients and their newborns. The revised standard will come into effect on October 1, and you can click here to read an overview of the revised standard.
We are aware that some members are concerned about revisions to the College’s Second Birth Attendant Standard, specifically the requirements that second birth attendants hold certificates of completion in neonatal resuscitation (NRP) and an obstetrical emergency skill program (ES).
While there is no evidence to support the need for two primary care providers at a birth, there are recommendations that every birth be attended by a primary care provider and a second individual who has primary responsibility for the newborn, including the skills to perform neonatal resuscitation.
The College has a duty to the public to set a minimum standard for midwives. Our Second Birth Attendant Standard assures that midwifery managed home births, where there are fewer human resources to rely on, are attended by a second individual who is skilled in providing neonatal resuscitation. You can click here to read a detailed response to some of the concerns raised by midwives about the new standard.
The College has an obligation to Ontario families to make sure that all births, including home and out-of-hospital births, are attended by a second individual who has obstetrical emergency skills and the training to provide neonatal resuscitation.
We are thankful to the midwives and stakeholders who took the time to take part in our two public consultations on the Professional Standards, and to those who have written in with their feedback. I hope that the further information on our website helps to clarify the College’s position.
Kelly Dobbin RM
Registrar & CEO
College of Midwives of Ontario