Midwives, who provide primary care to clients before and throughout pregnancy, labour, birth, and the postpartum period, are expected to be working on P.E.I. by the end of the year.
Implementing the service in the province has been a longtime promise of the P.E.I. government.
But Melissa Roberts, the program development lead for the province's midwifery program, said much has been accomplished in the past year, including one of the most important components — the drafting of regulations under which midwives would work.
"This is a foundational piece for midwifery care to be operational on the Island. So it's very exciting to see that in progress. There's lots of conversations happening around access for midwives at the hospital level as well for midwives to provide full services."
Roberts, who works as a midwife in Alberta, said it's important clients have the option to birth at home and in the hospital, and ensuring the service is reflective of the needs of the families on P.E.I.
The program is projected to start with four full-time midwives plus a program development lead.
"From the beginning, it was very clear that we wanted this program to be a provincial program. It's very nice that Prince Edward Island is small. So starting with a smaller number of midwives and still being able to service the majority of the island is actually a really great thing."
The regulations are in the feedback phase, and once they are passed, Roberts said they will begin recruiting the midwives.