The community’s first midwife has been rather busy in her short time in Fort McMurray.
Earlier this month, the Northern Lights Regional Health Centre announced Debbie Mpofu as the latest member of their maternal healthcare team.
Midwives serve as the family’s physician when it comes to caring for the mother during the pregnancy and the following weeks after the baby is born.
In her first two weeks, Mpofu has met with 16 soon-to-be-mothers.
She tells Mix News this was the first of many meetings she plans on having with these women.
“This is explaining to them the midwifery philosophy and how we work similarly to physicians and where we differ.”
Many in the community have been trying to get midwifery services in Wood Buffalo for several years.
Mpofu says she understood just how big the demand was shortly after arriving.
“It’s overwhelming… the reception and the desire to try out a different professional to support them during their journey. Some of them, when I saw them… they were tearful.”
She will be able to help 40 clients each year. Women can now sign up online.
A Long Time Coming
The Wood Buffalo Woman and Baby Care Association, one of the biggest advocates for midwifery services, is excited to finally see women have a choice in the region.
Co-Chair Kayla Lushman says she wasn’t surprised to see women already signing up in droves.
Recently, the WBWBCA conducted a survey on maternity in the region. Out of the 884 respondents, around 63 per cent said they rather use a birth centre or have a home birth for a future pregnancy.
“Knowing that 63 per cent of the respondents said they would choose it is no surprise given the number of babies that come out of our hospital,” added Lushman.