Choosing Your Care Provider
In Ontario, there are three types of maternity care providers: family physicians (PIPC), obstetricians and midwives. You may choose one type of care provider - all are covered by OHIP. Take the time to choose which type of maternity care provider best suits your needs – this can help you have a safe and satisfying birth experience!
Family Doctors (PIPC)
Family doctors are medical doctors who have completed specialty training in Family Medicine. Like obstetricians, family doctors have completed an undergraduate degree, a medical degree, a residency, and often further fellowship training in obstetrics. We will do shared care with specialists when needed and we assist on C-Sections.
Because of our training we can provide both comprehensive prenatal care as well as newborn care for up to 6 weeks after delivery. Our scope of practice involves a general understanding of all aspects of health, in all the body’s systems, so if complications arise in pregnancy related to another part of the body, we are often able to manage it and assess how it could affect the pregnancy. Because we treat women both in and outside of pregnancy, we have a strong understanding of the family, social, environmental, emotional, and medical environment our patients come from.
Not all family physicians practice in obstetrics, but for those of us who do, it is one of the most rewarding aspects of our work!
The choice is up to you! Take the time to choose which type of maternity care provider best suits your needs – this can help you have a safe and satisfying birth experience!
Obstetricians are trained medical doctors whose training includes an undergraduate degree, a medical degree, a 5-year obstetrics residency, and often a 1-2 year postgraduate fellowship in an area of subspecialty. They are fully trained to provide obstetrical care to both low- and high-risk pregnant women in their clinics and in the hospital setting. They are trained surgeons and can perform C-sections. Obstetricians attend births at the hospital only. They will provide clinic-based post-partum care up to 6 weeks after birth. They do not provide care to the baby in the hospital or in the community (instead, this is often done by the family physician or pediatrician). Obstetricians are highly skilled specialists and are the most appropriate choice of care provider for women with high-risk pregnancies.
A midwife's training involves a four-year undergraduate university training program, which they can begin after graduation from high school. A midwife is able to provide care to low-risk pregnant women at home, the hospital, and in clinic. They will also attend to the newborn for the first 6 weeks after birth. They are able to order some diagnostic tests and medications that fall within their scope of practice. They are able to collaborate with family physicians, obstetricians, anesthesiologists, and pediatricians to discuss or transfer care when issues arise that are beyond their scope of practice. Midwives are the only obstetrical care providers who are insured to attend home births.