Dear midwives and practice groups,

As midwives, first and foremost, we all share the goal of providing high-quality care and of not harming our clients through our care. Lack of appropriate attention to strengthening infection prevention and control practices can also lead to other consequences, such as public health inspections of the practice and media attention (click for an example).

The IPAC Work Group has identified instrument sterilization as a high-impact area of improvement and is developing resources to support you to ensure excellent infection prevention and control practices (see the resources listed below).

Alternatively, some midwives have explored using disposable sterile instruments or paying a local organization (e.g., hospital) to sterilize their instruments for them. 


Sara Chambers, Chair on behalf of IPAC WG members: Zuzana Betkova RM, Jacqueline Curran RM, Suzanne Desaulniers RM, Sarah Hook RM, Josée Nolet RM, Ava Vosu RM, Karline Wilson-Mitchell RM, Rachel Rapaport-Beck (College of Midwives of Ontario), Catha McMaster (Midwifery Education Program student)

Because instrument sterilization is complex, the AOM IPAC Work Group strongly encourages practices to have anyone involved in instrument sterilization complete this free online course from Public Health Ontario and that at least one person per practice complete a recognized training course, for example, from the Medical Device Reprocessing Association of Ontario (MDRAO).

Each practice group site that autoclaves its own instruments now qualifies for an additional $750 (over and above max funding for individual midwives) to send an administrator or midwife to instrument sterilization training. Apply here.

Part 1: Reprocessing Overview
Part 2: Packaging Your Instruments
Part 3: Process Verification
Part 4: Instrument Cleaning

IPAC Work Group Objective and Values Statement

Objective: To support the continuous improvement of infection prevention and control practices in midwifery by making recommendations about priorities and strategies to the midwifery community.  

The IPAC Work Group believes that this objective will be best met by:

  1. Respecting the values and model of midwifery care.
  2. Recognizing the importance of both the needs of each individual client and the needs of the community of clients.
  3. Acknowledging that midwifery clients and their babies are generally healthy, yet everyone is susceptible to or may carry infection.
  4. Respecting midwives’ ethical responsibility to provide care that protects their clients and themselves from infection.  
  5. Remaining aware of the potential impact on the environment.
  6. Empowering midwives and practice groups to reflect on their own practice and make adjustments in a way that considers the context in which they are providing care.