A regulatory college is notifying British Columbians of four women who are advertising themselves as “birth attendants,” but are not authorized to offer such services.
The B.C. College of Nurses and Midwives says Janice Lim Hing and Madison Desjarlais of Greater Vancouver, Jacqueline Soule of Fort St. John and Annick Meckes of Campbell River are not registered with the college and cannot legally practise as midwives. Despite this, the college says it has received reports of each of the women doing so.
In November, the college issued a public advisory on the issue of unlicensed practitioners.
“These individuals do not have the same training, experience, and access to life-saving medications and equipment as midwives, nor integration with hospitals for emergency care if needed, resulting in significant risks to the health and safety of birthing persons and their babies.”
It said in an 18-month period it received 13 reports of incidents involving unregistered midwifery providers. In many of those cases, the baby or pregnant person was reportedly harmed and, in several cases, a baby died.
The regulatory college says unauthorized midwives often advertise themselves as “birth attendants,” “birth keepers,” or “traditional midwifes.” They are not licensed to practise in B.C. and are not overseen by any kind of body, meaning pregnant people have no path for recourse if something goes wrong.
The college recommends verifying potential midwives by searching for them on the B.C. College of Nurses and Midwives online registry.