Myths and misperceptions of midwifery in New Brunswick, Canada
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Department of Sociology, Mount Allison University, Sackville, Canada
Women’s & Gender Studies, Mount Allison University, Sackville, Canada
Publication date: 2023-10-24
Corresponding author
Christiana MacDougall   

Department of Sociology, Mount Allison University, Sackville, Canada
Eur J Midwifery 2023;7(Supplement 1):A167
In this paper, we share our findings from a survey about myths and misperceptions regarding midwifery care in New Brunswick, a small, rural province in Canada. Lagging behind most other Canadian provinces, midwifery care in New Brunswick was implemented as part of the provincial health network in the fall of 2017. At that time, one small practice (a “demonstration site”) was opened in the provincial capital city Fredericton, a city located in the northwestern corner of the province. To date, the practice has operated with a maximum of four full-time midwives, and for months at a time, at levels far below this. Based on our previous research, we have learned that midwives and other birth care workers in New Brunswick have noted a gross misunderstanding of and a high degree of ignorance regarding what sorts of services, care, and interventions midwives provide as part of their role in the provincial healthcare system. Much (mis)information about midwifery and birth care services in this region circulate through informal networks and social media. We have designed this survey to objectively assess the level of knowledge in the region about the midwifery program, and to explore the level of understanding of the role and scope of midwives as well as the scope and limits of the midwifery program. In this paper we share our findings from this survey and discuss the implications of these findings for advocacy, service delivery, and education. The level of knowledge about this kind of birth care is vital for people seeking reproductive healthcare in order to make informed decisions about the services they seek and choose. It is also important to pay attention to the impacts of a lack of knowledge about the scope of care offered on midwives and those offering birth services. We anticipate our findings will be useful for midwifery associations which might want to develop infographics and other informational products for the general population.
We would like to acknowledge the phenomenal work of Nell Farion, undergraduate research assistant and all the members of the Birth Justice Research Initiative research team.
The authors have no conflicts of interest to disclose.
Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, Insight Development Grant.
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