Full interview coverage with Calgary-area midwife Janna Miller.

By Amy Badry

What is a midwife and what is your role?
Our scope is actually quite large. We can do preconception counseling, all your prenatal care, the delivery, and post-partem up to six weeks. It’s almost 10 months of care from beginning to end.

Does the woman visit the hospital throughout her pregnancy?
It is just the midwife unless there is an issue. But because of the way we work in Calgary all midwives have privileges at all three hospitals. People can choose to deliver there. You can also do home births here, as well as the birth centre. Sometimes we will recommend that a person go to a hospital, even if the pregnancy is normal, just because there will be more hands available to help. My team does about 60 per cent of its births in homes and 40 per cent in hospitals and the birth center.

Where did you train?
Eugene, Oregon. I was there in ’97–’98.

Is midwifery a common or accepted mode of care in Alberta?
Midwifery is the traditional mode of delivery. But it’s a new way of birthing in this culture. It has only been funded for two years. Until that time, people had to pay out of pocket for our services. So that may have been a factor which limited the use of midwives in this province.

How did you become interested in midwifery?
I met a midwife in England when I was a nanny there and she had just done a water birth and it all started from there. She totally got me on the path. I would have been 19 or 20 at the time.

What is your favorite thing about being a midwife?
You meet someone for the first time and you see the care that they had and the delivery they had actually changed their family.

How many births have you done?
I am now at about 380

What is something difficult about being a midwife?
No judgment. When I first started, a c-section would devastate me but now, with the more experience, I see that sometimes it is necessary.

What is something about your midwifery that people are surprised to learn?
I don’t think people realize the time commitment. They think “oh, you deliver babies,” but they forget about the whole other nine and half month that happen.

What is different between midwife birth and normal hospital birth?
I think informed choice is a huge part of midwifery. The choice of place of birth is huge. You get to make some choices. I think women find their strength in informed choices.

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