Choice of Birthplace
Regardless of where you have your baby, you will typically:
- have two midwives attending your birth: one to focus on you and the other to focus on your baby.
- have access to a variety of methods of coping with labour. Midwives provide non-medical pain relief in both settings, but there are some drugs that you are only able to access in hospital, such as an epidural.
- have a midwife who is committed to providing you with the safest care available, based on your individual needs and circumstances. Midwives are trained to handle emergencies. In a hospital, they can work together with doctors and nurses to manage unexpected events. If medically necessary, your care may be transferred to a doctor. If this happens, your midwife will stay in a supportive role. At home, we work with you, to make sure the appropriate actions are taken to prevent and deal with emergencies and we can transfer into the hospital, if necessary.
- have a reduced chance of having interventions such as a c-section, forceps or vacuum, episiotomy, epidural or induction of labour.
- have visits at home, for you and baby, in the first week postpartum.
Midwives believe that pregnancy and birth are normal events in most people's lives. Having a baby at home is a beautiful, family centered experience. There has been a worldwide movement to return birth to the home. Recently, the BC Ministry of Health released a statement supporting homebirth for low risk people. Midwives are specialists in normal birth. We take pride in our ability to offer you safe care, throughout your childbearing year, with appropriate monitoring, shared decision making and a shared commitment to keeping it natural.
When a pregnancy is low risk, the labour remains within normal parameters, and you are being cared for by a trained health care provider, studies show that home birth is as safe as giving birth in hospital.
Midwives receive training and regular recertification in emergency skills and carry equipment and drugs with them to every birth, in order to deal with emergencies, should they occur. Our emergency transport rate is less than 1% of all planned home births.
Midwifery clients who give birth at home:
- May feel safer and more relaxed than at the hospital.
- Have the lowest likelihood of needing medical interventions such as c-section, epidural or episiotomy.
- May find it advantageous not to drive anywhere in labor or after giving birth.
- May enjoy the familiarity and intimacy of being at home and are able to choose who stays with them in labour, including their children.
- Enjoy being able to eat their own food and move around their homes in labour.
If you choose a homebirth, one of your midwives will stay with you at home when you are in established labour and another midwife will come when the baby is coming. The midwives stay with you for a couple of hours after the delivery to make sure everyone is well and leave once you are all tucked into bed. One of your midwives will be back to see you the next day and is always available to you by pager.
Did you know that Queen Elizabeth had her babies at home at Buckingham Palace with midwives in attendance?
Recent studies on homebirth can be found on our Online Resource section.
The Arbour Birth Centre is a free standing birth centre It offers a ‘home away from home” environment with lovely furnished self contained birth suites. See their website www.arbourbirthcenter.com for more information and to arrange a tour.
Our midwives have admitting privileges at all four hospitals in Calgary. If you are choosing a hospital birth, a midwife may come to your home to assess labour before you move to hospital. We call ahead to ensure that there is a room available and go with you to the hospital. We may not be able to go the hospital you would like to if it there is no room. At the hospitals, we are able to close the door and only ask for help if we need it. We have a great relationship with the hospital staff and work collaboratively when appropriate. When the birth and immediate postpartum period has been normal, we discharge moms and babies straight home within two to three hours after the birth. Rest assured, we will be out to see you the next day and you have access to us by pager.
Many people find labouring and/or giving birth in water a very positive experience. Using water during labour aids relaxation, reduces the need for pain relief and initial research suggests that it is just as safe for both mother and baby as labouring on land. Water births are available at home in your bathtub or a rented birth pool or at the Birth Centre. There are tubs at the hospital but these are subject to availability.
For more info on waterbirths, please visit: www.waterbirth.org