Program at a Glance
Midwives are registered health-care professionals who provide primary care to clients with low-risk pregnancies from the time of conception until six weeks postpartum (after birth). Midwives work in community-based group practices with a team of other midwives, providing care on a 24 hour, seven-day-a-week model. No two days will be alike. Working as a midwife requires a keen intelligence combined with flexibility and compassion. Midwives collaborate with other health care providers such as physicians, nurses and social workers.
Midwifery is a career that allows you to use your head, your hands, and your heart. Working as a midwife requires resourcefulness and adaptability. Working with clients and their families during the childbearing year offers many satisfactions as well as challenges.
As highly trained health professionals, midwives are required to have a four-year university degree, must qualify for registration with the College of Midwives of Ontario (CMO) (external link) and are expected to engage in lifelong learning. Midwives need a thorough understanding of normal and complex conditions affecting pregnancy, birth, and the postpartum care of women and the newborn. They must draw on a large body of knowledge and sometimes make clinical judgments under stressful or emergency situations. Midwives participate in health care planning and policy making at local, national and international levels.
In addition to being responsible for supervising the birth process - conducting spontaneous, normal vaginal births in both hospital and out of hospital settings - midwives provide ongoing clinical care for clients throughout pregnancy. After birth, they counsel clients and their families on infant care and continue to monitor the client’s and infant's health for a six week period. Manual dexterity is required in assisting clients through labour and birth and in tasks such as giving injections, setting up IVs, suturing perineal tears, and conducting physical examinations of clients and newborn babies.
Communication, cultural sensitivity and counseling skills are essential components of midwifery work. Midwives get to know the clients they care for, developing an awareness of their needs and earning their confidence. Collaboration with other members of the health care team requires well developed communication skills. Midwives build non-authoritarian relationships with clients and their families, enabling midwives to provide individualized, responsive care, and minimizing much of the anxiety often associated with pregnancy and childbirth.
The Midwifery Education Program curriculum combines a mix of health, social and biological sciences with clinical practice. Teaching formats vary and include in-class tutorials, on-line synchronous and asynchronous learning, and clinical midwifery and interprofessional placements. The program is divided into the Pre-clinical Phase and the Clinical Phase. Prior to graduation, you will attend a minimum of 60 births, acting as primary caregiver for at least 40 births in home and hospital settings. During your studies, you will also participate in providing prenatal and postpartum care in midwifery clinics and in clients' homes. Like the profession, the program is very demanding and equally rewarding.
The Pre-clinical Program provides students with a strong foundation in the health and social sciences. Classes consist of 15 - 35 students and take place on campus in a face-to-face format. The Pre-clinical Program can be completed in 1.5 - 2.5 years.
Required health science courses include anatomy and physiology, pharmacotherapy, biochemistry and reproductive physiology. You will be introduced to clinical research and develop an understanding of how to evaluate the results of research studies.
Since the social and cultural contexts in which new parents and families are situated affect the care they require, you will examine issues such as violence in the home, race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status and sexual orientation.
To understand midwifery in the context of Canadian society, you will explore issues such as women's roles in society, public policy relating to women and reproduction, and the organization of health care.
In addition, you will be introduced to professionally-related topics such as the history and current regulatory context of midwifery provincially, nationally, and internationally.
All students take a course in Aboriginal childbearing (MWF 108 Aboriginal Childbearing).
You will be required to take five (PDF file) elective courses. Of these, one must be professionally-related, two must be social science courses and two must be women's studies courses.
You must complete all pre-clinical courses prior to beginning the clinical phase of the program.
During the Clinical Program, you will spend six terms in full-time clinical placements:
- Four terms are spent in Midwifery Placements
- Two terms are spent in Interprofessional Placements
The Clinical Program:
- Requires a full-time commitment; part-time study is not available
- Involves significant on-call expectations (typically 24 hours a day)
- Requires the use of a car to attend births in hospitals, clients’ homes and other out-of-hospital settings
- Can be completed in 2.5 years
It is not possible to maintain employment while enrolled in clinical courses. While the majority of students are placed in the geographic region of their choice, there is a possibility that you may need to relocate for some placements.
During your full-time midwifery placements, you will develop clinical skills while providing care for clients and their babies throughout pregnancy, labour, birth and up to six weeks postpartum. You will work under the supervision of midwife preceptors and be placed in at least two different midwifery clinics.
In clinical courses, you will be introduced to a variety of clinical skills and supported to develop competence in an increasingly complex range of clinical and counseling skills as a primary health care provider. A number of clinical courses are augmented by university-based intensives, lasting from three to seven days. Intensives provide opportunities for concentrated introduction to specific areas of skill and knowledge prior to entering a clinical placement.
Beginning in the first placement, you will be conducting prenatal visits, taking medical histories, and conducting physical exams of midwifery clients and their babies, including collecting blood and other lab specimens. You will be involved in providing care during labour, including conducting deliveries with assistance. You will be taught to provide information and advice to clients on a range of clinical and counseling topics, and will be given increasing responsibility with each clinical term. You will be expected to demonstrate increasing competence in clinical and communication skills, clinical judgment and professional behaviour. By the final clinical placement, referred to as the clerkship, you will be able to function independently, providing comprehensive midwifery care.
The midwifery clinical courses combine academic work with clinical learning. A problem-based learning approach is taken in the clinical courses. The first three midwifery clinical placement courses include weekly small group tutorial sessions which focus on the acquisition of academic knowledge relevant to midwifery and obstetrical topics. Course work includes review of relevant research literature, presentations, academic papers, group discussions and written exams. In the clerkship, tutorials are typically every other week and provide students with opportunities for presentation of cases, in addition to midterm and final written exams.
Mandatory placements include a hospital labour and delivery placement, an obstetric practice placement, a breastfeeding placement, and a neonatal intensive care unit placement. Interprofessional practitioners, including obstetricians, nurses and lactation consultants, provide supervision. You will have the opportunity to increase your clinical skills, in addition to developing an enhanced understanding of the role and function of members of the maternity care team.
In addition to the mandatory placements, you will have additional experiences in a variety of settings relating to maternity care, women's and/or infant health issues, and research and policy.
The Midwifery Education Program provides students with sufficient clinical experience to meet the requirements of the College of Midwives of Ontario (external link) . Before graduation, you will attend a minimum of 60 births, of which:
- You will be primary care-provider for 40 births
- 10 births will be at home (you will be primary care-provider for five)
- 10 births will be in the hospital
- Your involvement in 30 births will include continuity of care through pregnancy, labour, birth and the postpartum (the first six weeks after birth)
Toronto Metropolitan University offers:
- A Full-time, Four-Year program
- A Part-time, First-Year Entry program (Five Years)
- An accelerated Post-Baccalaureate Program For Health Professionals (Two Years) for people with a baccalaureate in a related health field who have labour and delivery experience
These are the three programs of study for cohorts admitted in 2023 and following:
(PDF file) 2 Year PBHP Program (beginning in 2024)
These are the three programs of study for cohorts prior to 2023:
(PDF file) 2 Year PBHP Program (admitted in 2023)
An Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD) with six Grade 12 U/M courses including:
- Grade 12 U English (ENG4U preferred)
- Biology (SBI4U)
- Chemistry (SCH4U)
- One Grade 12 U or M course in Canadian World Studies or the Social Sciences and the Humanities (i.e. history, sociology, anthropology, psychology, family studies, geography, law etc.)
- Minimum of 75% required in each of the subjects listed above and a minimum of 75% overall average
- Subject to competition, candidates may be required to present averages/grades above the minimum.