Prairie Midwifery Shortage Inspires Innovation

Tessa Vanderhart’s recent article in the Winnipeg SunMidwives go online to deal with rural shortage, introduces us to Expecting Success Maternity Consulting and Education, an innovative company run by Alberta midwife Amy Deagle.

Deagle saw that the maternity care crisis was affecting rural women disproportionately and developed a service to help these mothers-to-be (who often must travel significant distances to appointments and to give birth) get professional advice and assistance between doctor’s visits.

“Expecting Success’ online programs offer support with a registered nurse, to answer questions in between doctor visits, starting at $350 for six months.

Deagle has had one RN operating in Manitoba since September, and now plans to hire more.

“Now that we’re up and running, we’ll start recruiting more RNs in Manitoba,” Deagle said.”

Expecting Success has three different programs: Baby Talk (pre-conception/fertility), Baby Bump (prenatal), and Baby Steps (parenting). What appeals to me about these programs is the emphasis on providing quality, vetted information so that mums can make good decisions.

“Our goal is to give you the tools to create the most empowered pregnancy and delivery possible. No more guessing, searching or Googling to find answers to the questions that any new parent-to-be has.”

In reading through the bios of Expecting Success’s consultants, it’s clear that these Rknow what challenges that rural women face when they’re pregnant, and also that they are committed to giving women choice and ensuring they are active participants in their own healthcare.

I realize that this business model raises some questions about paying for healthcare services, but I think desperate times call for what some may consider desperate measures. I don’t see it as much different from paying for registered massage therapy, physiotherapy, etc., or nurses working for private nursing homes, insurance companies, etc. These RNs aren’t providing medical care, just supporting women and helping them sort through all the conflicting information that’s out there.

I’m sad about the reasons that prompted Expecting Success to exist, but am glad to see some positive steps being taken towards improving maternity care here in Manitoba.

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