Maternity Service Delivery in Manitoba, Canada: A Retrospective Analysis of Three Maternity Care Provider Types


Kellie Thiessen, RM, RN, PhD, Margaret Haworth-Brockman, BSc, MSc, Nathan Nickel, MPH, PhD, Margaret Morris, MD, FRCSC, MEd, Kristine Robinson BScN, RM, MSc, Ivy Bourgeault, PhD, and Shelley Derksen, BSc, MSc



Background: Alleviating shortages in health workforce and delivery of efficient maternity care models are unresolved policy issues in Canada. In the province of Manitoba, obstetricians do the majority of maternity care, family practice physicians take care of low-risk women, and midwives continue to deliver care to about 5% of the low-risk pregnant women. The purpose of this study was to describe how maternity care is provided in Manitoba, based on a revised definition of Most Responsible Provider, and to compare maternal and perinatal outcomes by provider type.

Methods: Administrative data were used from the Manitoba Centre for Health Policy (MCHP) to select women who had a low-risk pregnancy. Descriptive statistics and logistic regression were used to examine differences in types of intervention, mode of delivery, and outcomes by provider type among low-risk women. Logistic regression models controlled for socio-demographic and birth-related covariates.

Results: From 2004/05 to 2012/13, there were a total of 132,918 births in Manitoba. Of those births, 47,083 were identified as high risk (35%), and 85,835 (65%) were identified as low risk. Key findings demonstrate midwifery care compared to obstetrical care was associated with lower odds of interventions such as cesarean section (0.47 [0.40–0.54]), induction (0.42 [0.39–0.49]), and episiotomy (0.48 [0.41–0.55]), but higher odds of postpartum hemorrhage (1.35 [1.18–1.55]), and shorter lengths of stay in hospital (-0.58 [-0.61-0.56]). Family practice physicians also had decreased odds of assisted vaginal delivery (0.82 [0.76–0.89]), epidural use (0.59 [0.57–0.62]) and third- and fourth-degree tears (0.82 [0.73–0.92]), but higher odds of augmentation (1.06 [1.01–1.11]). Results reported for midwives and family practice are compared to obstetricians.

Conclusions: A health workforce strategy that optimizes how to address the maternity care needs in the province of Manitoba is needed. There is suboptimal integration of midwifery services that could meet the low-risk population needs. Human health workforce development requires a good understanding of each provider’s role, opportunities for collaboration and integration to be strengthened, and the potential to optimize the outcomes for mothers and infants.


maternity outcomes, most responsible provider, midwife, obstetrician, family practice, general practice, mixed provider, Manitoba, health workforce planning 


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