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Family Medicine

There are over 50 family doctors who work at IWK Health — they help by providing maternity and newborn care, operating room assistance, and pediatric emergency care.

  • About half the pregnant women that deliver at the IWK every year are cared for by family doctors.
  • Most babies born at the IWK are cared for by family doctors.

How we help

About half the pregnant women who deliver at the IWK every year are cared for by family doctors, and most babies born at the IWK are cared for by family doctors. Following are the five main ways family doctors help at the IWK.

Prenatal Clinics
There is a dedicated team of family doctors who care for women throughout their pregnancy. Some of these family doctors offer prenatal clinics in the IWK and at the Cobequid Community Health Centre. If you would like to refer a pregnant patient to a family doctor that does obstetrics at either location, please call 902-470-8365 or fax a referral to 902-470-7467. Please indicate the location you would prefer.

*Pregnant in Central Zone and looking for a prenatal provider?
You DO NOT need a referral to see a family doctor who delivers babies (FM-OB, "family medicine obstetrics") or midwife. The list linked to the right (FM Prenatal Self Referral List 2023) are providers who are open to taking new patients for the duration of their pregnancy. 
Please note that these providers are unable to take patients on as their long-term family doctor. If you have no family doctor, please place yourself on the Need a Family Practice Registry. During your pregnancy, your baby can also be added to the Unattached Newborn list to ensure your baby has care for the first few months of life while awaiting attachment to a long-term doctor.

*IUD's & Nexplanon
The Department of Family Medicine also maintains a list (linked to the right) of family doctor's in Central Zone who insert and remove IUD's and nexplanon, these services can also be accessed without a referral. 

The Newborn Service (NBS)
Every day there are babies born at the IWK that have no primary care provider. The Newborn Service is a primary care team that cares for babies born at the IWK that do not require advanced care provided through the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and have no family doctor that works at the IWK. 

Primary Maternity Care (PMC) 
This is a service that supports family medicine obstetrics by providing 24-hour in-hospital assistance. This team will respond if a mother or baby in hospital under the care of family medicine needs urgent help or if the family physician is unavailable. The PMC physician will also see family members of inpatients at the IWK who are not able to access their own family physician. A Health Centre staff member who is involved with the family can page the PMC physician directly through the IWK switchboard to discuss arrangements.

We work closely with the Dalhousie Medical School to provide teaching for medical students and residents. Our mandate is to support and promote the practice of low-risk maternity care and newborn care by family physicians and to facilitate learning and research in primary care maternity and newborn care.

We conduct research pertaining to a broad range of maternal and fetal and newborn care. We partner with other departments at the IWK whenever possible, and mentor both undergraduate and postgraduate learners undertaking research. 

Accessing this Clinic, Program or Service

Women's/Adult Building -IWK Health Centre

5850/5980 University Avenue
Halifax, Nova Scotia