A University of Lethbridge professor says a woman's childbirth experience depends a lot on where she lives in the province — and whether she has access to midwifery services.
Sociologist Claudia Malacrida researched women's birthing experiences in Lethbridge and Red Deer and found that while women in Red Deer had mostly positive stories and felt a sense of control, women in Lethbridge had very different stories to tell.
"How alienating their birth experiences were. They weren't understood, their needs weren't responded to," she said.
Malacrida believes part of the problem is that midwives do not have practicing privileges at the regional hospital in Lethbridge.
While midwifery services have been publicly funded since 2009, hospitals in Lethbridge, Medicine Hat and two hospitals in Edmonton do not yet grant practicing privileges to midwives.
"Midwives should be able to practise at every hospital in the province," said Misti McFarlane, a vice president of the Maternity Care Consumers of Alberta Network.
Advocates say they've been calling for that for five years.
Alberta Health Services (AHS) spokesman Bruce Conway told CBC News officials are working to allow midwives admitting privileges in Lethbridge and Medicine Hat.
Getting midwives admitting privileges to a hospital is a process, as other health providers at a care facility need to be prepared," he said in an email.
"AHS Provincial Midwifery Administrative Office grants access to midwives but also works with facilities to prepare them and support them in understanding a midwife's role."
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