Doctors urge hospitals to let more rural women give birth in home communities
2019-05-13 from cbc.ca
Brianne Gowman is 32 weeks pregnant and can't stop worrying about where in rural Nova Scotia her baby will be born.
Though there's a regional hospital a short drive from her home in Yarmouth, N.S., she has no guarantee that it will have enough specialists working to support her delivery when she goes into labour.
The nearest alternative is a two-hour drive away.
"The not knowing is a little nerve-racking," Gowman said. "I have fast labours and if they send me to Kentville, there's a good chance my baby is getting born on the way there."
She's not alone in her concern. A new consensus statement issued by the Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada says expectant mothers across Canada are facing challenges finding birthing services close to their homes.
The national medical society, which has 4,000 members — including specialists, family doctors, midwives and nurses — found less than four per cent of obstetricians and gynecologists work in communities of fewer than 25,000 people.
The paper, which outlines best practices for delivery and maternity care, shines a light on the dwindling local options for women living in rural parts of the country.
Research has shown the benefits of women giving birth in their home community — and the key to making that happen is adequate staffing in small centres, said Dr. Linda Stirk, president of the society.
"Having the women close to the rest of their family is important for their mental well-being and for the whole knitting together of the family," she said.
"The travel is often very expensive," she said. "They can often be separated from the rest of their family for days or weeks, which becomes emotionally draining."
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