Growing Midwifery

Faculty of Medicine to double enrollment in midwifery education program

May 4, 2012

The University of British Columbia’s Midwifery Program – bolstered by increased funding from the Province of British Columbia – will double in size over the next five years, a move intended to augment the number of pregnancy and childbirth specialists in B.C.

Starting this fall, first-year spaces in the Midwifery Program will grow from 10 to 20. (Once the expansion is complete, the number of students in the four-year bachelor’s degree program will total 80.)

Midwives assist women with low-risk deliveries in hospitals, clinics and homes, and provide pre-natal and post-partum care. The Ministry of Advanced Education worked with UBC and the Ministry of Health to determine the number of B.C. midwife graduates that are needed to help meet the need for greater access to such services.

UBC will receive $1.914 million in one-time funding, and an increase of $833,920 in ongoing operating funding for the phased expansion.

“UBC’s midwifery education program is part of government’s commitment to educating health professionals in British Columbia,” said Minister of Advanced Education Naomi Yamamoto at an announcement today at UBC’s Vancouver campus. “This funding means more students can pursue their chosen field at UBC, and more midwives will graduate, helping to serve the needs of B.C. families.”

The Midwifery Program, part of the Faculty of Medicine’s Department of Family Practice, was created 10 years ago, a few years after the province recognized midwives as primary care professionals and began regulating the profession. The program is one of only four midwife training programs in Canada.

Students in the program take foundational courses in the basic sciences, counseling, lactation support, pharmacology and research methods. In addition, they spend approximately 15 months working alongside registered midwives and three months with physicians and other health professional instructors.

“The Faculty of Medicine is grateful that the province has expanded funding for its midwifery program,” said Dr. Gavin Stuart, UBC’s Vice Provost Health and Dean of the Faculty of Medicine. “The doubling of enrolment and the hiring of additional faculty will enable more women and their families, particularly in B.C.’s under-served communities, to obtain expert care before and during their deliveries, and will allow for research to make midwifery even more effective in the future.”

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