Midwives can offer women and their families a choice of birthplace. Healthy women who are at low risk for complications have the option to give birth in their own homes or at the Arbour Birth Center in Calgary. Midwives discuss the risks and benefits of these options throughout the pregnancy.
Your midwife will come to your home when you are in established labour. She will stay with you during labour to assess the progress of your labour, and provide support and guidance. She will monitor both you and your baby’s well being. The second midwife will attend towards the end of labour to assist you and your midwife.
In a small number of planned homebirths, a situation may arise where a move to a hospital is advisable. The majority of these situations will not be urgent and transport will take place by car. On rare occasions an urgent situation will require ambulance assistance. In transport situations we will make arrangements with the hospital to facilitate a smooth transport.
Some reasons why women choose homebirth:
Privacy: women feel more secure and comfortable in their own home
Convenience: no need to travel either to hospital during labour or back home after the birth.
Familiarity: the mother can eat her own food, rest in her own bed, etc.
Choice: a number of support people may be included at home (chosen by the woman) whereas in hospital there are restrictions on the number of support people permitted.
Following the birth, the midwife will visit within 24 hours, whether you have had your baby in home or hospital. The midwife will typically make two more home visits and more if needed during the first week. Clinic appointments will be scheduled around two weeks. Midwives provide extensive breastfeeding support, ensure the mother is recovering from the birth and the baby is adjusting well to life outside the womb. For urgent concerns, your midwife is on-call 24 hours a day. The midwife sees mother and baby for a final clinic visit at six weeks postpartum.
Women in and near Calgary who plan to have a hospital birth may choose to have their babies at the Foothills Hospital, Peter Lougheed Hospital, Rockyview Hospital or High River Hospital.
Your midwife will come to your home when you are in active labour. Receiving labour support in your own home allows you to maintain control of your environment and by remaining home in labour as long as you are comfortable, you can reduce interventions associated with early hospital admission. Your friends and family may participate as you wish. Your midwife can assess your labour progress at home, and together you make the decision about the best time to go to the hospital. Your midwife will accompany you to the hospital.
Once admitted to hospital, your midwife continues your care until after the baby is born. Another midwife or a nurse will be present at the time of birth to assist you and your midwife but generally no other hospital staff is involved in your birth unless we specifically ask for assistance. If the birth has been uncomplicated, and you feel well, you may go home within a few hours following the birth.
The Arbour Birth Center is the only free standing birth center in western Canada. It is located in close proximity to the Foothills Medical center. It has three birthing suites with large tubs and endless hot water. Women choose to give birth at the Birth Center for a variety of reasons including:
- A desire for an out-of-hospital birth but her residence is a long distance from a hospital.
- Living arrangements (family or roommates) make privacy difficult during labour & birth at home.
- Space restrictions at home (ie: small apartment) make the birth center an appealing choice as well.
Women choosing to give birth at the Birth Center pay a facility fee and should contact the Birth Center to make arrangements at least one month prior to their due date.