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Advice When Considering a Midwife or Doctor

August 11, 2013 by HealthyFamilies BC

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midwife holding newborn baby



One of the key decisions to make in choosing a healthcare provider is whether to use a doctor or a midwife for your pregnancy. In B.C., the Medical Services Plan (MSP) will pay for either.

In BC you have the choice of a midwife or family physician for primary care throughout pregnancy, birth and postpartum. A referral is not needed and you can call directly to ask if a health care provider is accepting patients.

The B.C. MSP will pay for either a doctor or a midwife - but not both, in the case of a low risk pregnancy. Should complications arise during your pregnancy while under the care of a midwife, shared care with a physician is provided at no additional cost.

Both midwives and doctors can provide care to you as a healthy pregnant woman and your newborn baby from early pregnancy, through labor and birth, until about six weeks after your baby is born. Your health care professional can order and interpret tests and discuss results, screen for physical, psychological, emotional and social health.


Midwives work in private clinics, attend births in hospital and in homes, and provide home care and breastfeeding support after a baby is born. They work together and with other health professionals. They practice evidence-based, woman-centered maternity and newborn care and are an established part of the BC health care system.

Midwifery has been a formal part of British Columbia's health care system since 1998. On this website, the term midwife refers to Registered Midwives, as recognized by the College of Midwives of British Columbia.

Click here to find a midwife in your community. 


Doctors work in clinics, attend births in hospitals and provide in-clinic care after your baby is born. They practice evidence-based maternity and newborn medical care, and are an established part of the BC health care system. If your family doctor does not practice obstetrics, he or she will refer you to a doctor who will take care of you during your pregnancy and post-partum period.

If you know you are at high risk in your pregnancy, you should see your doctor who will also involve a specialist (Obstetrician) in your care.

To find a doctor in your community click here.

References and Links: 

Choosing your Health Care Provider

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