Chloe Dayman
Registered Midwife
It seems like midwifery is becoming more in demand by expecting parents. Is it known what percent of women in British Columbia choose a midwife for their prenatal care? Of the women who do, what percent opts to deliver their baby at home? And have any studies been done recently comparing the safety of home births to hospital births?
The percent of women in BC who choose an RM (Registered Midwife) for prenatal care is only 1-2%. This is mostly because in many areas of the province midwifery is not implemented yet or there are no midwives to work in those areas. In Vancouver there are 50 RMs in our department and most of them are actively working. In Vancouver I believe the percentage of women receiving prenatal care from midwives is between 25-30%.

Of women in RM care the percent opting for a homebirth can really vary between communities and practices. At Bloom Community Midwives we have a 15-30% planned home birth rate. At some practices the percent is as high as 50% (in Vancouver) while in some other communities in BC that are less exposed to homebirth it might be as low as 2-5%. I do not know what the overall % in BC is, but would anticipate a wide range.

There have many international studies that have been done on the safety of homebirth in relation to hospital births. In BC two studies that have been done. The first study was done when midwifery was being regulated and registered in BC- below is the link to this study:

More recently Dr. Patricia Janssen did a follow up study on her previous work. This was presented at the Canadian Association of Midwives conference in Vancouver in 2007. The findings of this study pointed even more clearly to the safety of homebirth for low risk women. It is my understanding that the study is awaiting final edits and publication, but has been released to the press- see link below (the same article was reported on the CBC news):