11/05/2014 11:27 EST | Updated 01/05/2015 05:59 EST

Lobby group wants Alberta government to do something about midwife shortage

EDMONTON - A lobby group says there is a shortage of midwives in Alberta, and they want the provincial government to do something about it.

The Maternity Consumers of Alberta Network says it conducted a series of surveys, focus groups and interviews to bolster its claim.

Dr. Lolly de Jonge says the shortage means obstetricians are taking on low-risk maternity care when they are highly trained specialists who should be specializing in high-risk births.

De Jonge says it's not an efficient use of resources.

De Jonge says since midwifery became a provincially funded health care service five years ago, there's been a dramatic increase in the number of women interested in using a midwife.

That could be solved by creating more free-standing birth centres.

"In a lot of rural and remote communities, even their hospitals aren’t providing maternity care anymore, so they’re having to travel great distances to have their babies," says De Jonge. "(That is) uprooting them from their communities and some of the supports they would have if they were closer to home.”