Jenn Bindon is a midwife with Prairie Midwives in Red Deer. She worked as a nurse in labour and delivery for almost 10 years before making the leap into midwifery.

Midwife busy, but no maternity leave for her own child’s birth

A Red Deer midwife has her hands full when it comes to birthing babies in the community.

A Red Deer midwife has her hands full when it comes to birthing babies in the community.

Jenn Bindon is expecting a little one of her own in April but said she won’t be taking the standard one-year maternity leave — she doesn’t want to part with her patients for that long.

“I will be off of attending births for about three months but I’ll still have clinics and just keep going. I’m so fortunate in having a job that I love. I don’t like having to hand off my clients to other midwives. They’re my people. I love them and care about them so it’s hard to give that up and I couldn’t imagine doing that for a whole year.”

Bindon, 36, started her career in 1999 as a nurse in the maternity ward of Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre but it was never a perfect fit.

“Our epidural rate was going up as well as the caesarian section rate and that wasn’t the kind of care I was comfortable giving.

“Not that it doesn’t have its place; it certainly does but at the rates we were starting to see, I knew I wanted something different.”

She started reading more about natural births, attending conferences and in 2008 she began her journey in midwifery education at the Midwives College of Utah through an online program.

She apprenticed with Barb Bodiguel of Blessing Way Midwifery in Rocky Mountain House and joined the group after she graduated in 2010 for a couple years.

In April 2012, Prairie Midwives was born in Red Deer, Bindon’s own practice.

Today, there are three midwives at Prairie and three at Blessing Way, making six for all of Central Alberta.

More are needed in the region as the wait lists for women seeking midwives continue to grow, Bindon said.

“In Red Deer alone based on our wait list and intake, we could probably be doing 10 per cent of the births but we’re only able to do one to two per cent right now,” she said.

Bindon believes there is enough work in the area for four more midwives.

Turning away 15 to 30 women on average every month because they just can’t take on any more patients breaks her heart, she said.

A full-time case load for a midwife is 40 births a year and Prairie Midwives has the funds to care for 116 women next year.

They receive $4,600 from the province for each “course of care,” a term referring to the collection of services provided to each patient throughout their pregnancies.

Alberta Health Services began providing full coverage for midwifery in 2009, making the services for a registered midwife in Alberta free.

This June, a three-year funding agreement with AHS was announced with a budget of $37 million. It is the first formal contract between the Alberta Association of Midwives and AHS.

Provincial funding was a big game changer, making midwifery more accessible. But it’s only the beginning, Bindon said.

“I think every woman at the very least deserves a conversation about midwifery care and if they’re eligible, they should be able to have it. So that’s another obstacle here, building practice and having enough midwives.”

There’s also the hurdle over the lack of public education about what midwives do, she said.

“People assume midwives only do home births or that you can’t have drugs if you have a midwife or that midwives aren’t educated.

“We have formal education. Many of us have previous degrees.

“Midwifery is baby and mother care. We care for women all the way through the pregnancy and six weeks postpartum,” Bindon said. “Safety is number one for us and we want women to have options.”

While she couldn’t imagine doing anything else, Bindon said it is a demanding profession when you are on call 24/7 and it can be a struggle to find that work/like balance in the beginning.

Bindon manages by having her Prairie Midwives clinic in the renovated basement of her home in Red Deer County, which will make it easier to continue working after the baby is born, as well as continuing to care for her eight-year-old daughter and nine-year-old stepson.

“It’s a lifestyle you have to commit to and your family has to commit to,” she said.

“It’s a very personal lifestyle choice. You connect with the whole family of your patients for a good lapse of time. So to me it’s important for people to see my dogs as they drive up to the house so it’s homey, comfortable — like going to your auntie’s farm.”

Just Posted

Updated: Red Deer welcomes 2019 Canada Winter Games Team Alberta

About 250 Alberta athletes are participating in the Games

Syrian immigrants feel welcomed

Winter Social held at Festival Hall to promote multiculturalism

Small group rallies with pro-immigration message

Group wanted to counter misinformation on United Nations migration agreement

Trump says ‘things are going very well’ with North Korea

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump said Saturday that “things are going very… Continue reading

NDP won’t stop until Trans Mountain is built, says minister

Deron Bilous speaks at Red Deer chamber luncheon

VIDEO: Students in MAGA hats mock Native American at Indigenous Peoples March

Diocese in Kentucky says it is investigating the matter, caught on video by onlookers

CONSUMER REPORT: What to buy each month in 2019 to save money

Resolve to buy all of the things you want and need, but pay less money for them

Anxiety in Alaska as endless aftershocks rattle residents

Seismologists expect the temblors to continue for months, although the frequency has lessened

Women’s March returns across the U.S. amid shutdown and controversy

The original march in 2017, the day after President Donald Trump’s inauguration, drew hundreds of thousands of people

Kriechmayr edges Swiss favourite Feuz to win WCup downhill

WENGEN, Switzerland — It takes a special run to beat Switzerland’s best… Continue reading

WestJet plane heading to Victoria slides off Edmonton runway, no injuries

EDMONTON — A WestJet plane has slid off an icy taxiway at… Continue reading

Sam Bennett scores twice, Flames beat Red Wings 6-4

Flames 6, Red Wings 4 CALGARY — Sam Bennett scored twice including… Continue reading

Rare ‘super blood wolf moon’ takes to the skies this Sunday

Celestial event happens only three times this century

Most Read