In 2012 the BC government allocated funds to expand admissions to UBC Midwifery and to build sustainable rural midwifery services. These policy changes were driven by maternity care provider shortages, and supported by the documented efficacy, patient satisfaction, and cost-effectiveness of midwifery care. However, utilization of midwives is not equally distributed across the BC population. It appears that patient experience, public awareness, and regional availability are all factors that may affect demand and access to midwifery care.
Research Team: Ruth E. Martin-Misener, Family Physician/UBC; Catriona Hippman, UBC/BC Women's Hospital; Kathrin Stoll, UBC; Laura Schummers, Research Consultant; Nora Timmerman, UBC; Kelly Murphy, UBC; Dana Thordarson, Psychology
The objectives for this project emerged from two community consultations. Some midwifery patients reported enthusiasm for shared decision-making; others felt stigmatized when their choices were perceived to be in conflict with the community standard of care. As a result interest in midwifery care may be modulated by family and professional attitudes. Community midwives and rural women described populations that could benefit from but were currently underserved by midwives, and suspected that multiple barriers to access exist for vulnerable women. Hence, our multi-stakeholder team (patients, community service leaders and researchers) proposes that the overarching goal of our study is to identify factors that affect women's access to the full spectrum of maternity care options. Findings will inform a knowledge translation plan aimed at improving access to high quality maternity services, particularly among underserved and vulnerable women.