Rural maternity care in Alberta failing women, report says

A Calgary doctor says women living in rural Alberta are not getting the maternity care they need.

The Maternity Care Consumers of Alberta Network released a report it says shows the system is not meeting the needs of the community.

Dr. Lolly De Jonge, the report’s primary author, says there is a shortage of low-risk pregnancy care, including family doctors and midwives.

The report includes responses from nine focus groups around the province as well as 1,200 people.

De Jonge said she heard many alarming stories as she compiled the research.

“There are some, of course, rural hospitals that don’t provide maternity care services. So I heard another story where someone had gone to the hospital and they didn’t provide those services, so they actually had their child out in the parking lot,” she said.

De Jonge said part of the problem is that many rural women live far away from hospitals.

“They’ve spent a lot of time driving. They don’t want to drive back when they’re in labour, so they have to go and pay for a hotel room, and may not necessarily get back,” she said.

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