Ottawa Birth and Wellness Centre set to open next month
More options for expecting mothers
Women in Ottawa will soon have more choice on where to give birth with the new Ottawa Birth and Wellness Centre set to begin welcoming patients this October.
The midwife-led birth centre will offer services in both official languages and assist with up to 450 births a year. It will offer women in the Ottawa region the option of giving birth in a more home-like setting, while helping free hospital beds in order to focus on high-risk births.
"We want expectant mothers to have access to the maternity care that makes the most sense for them," said Deb Matthews, Minister of Health and Long-Term Care at an official opening announcement, in Ottawa, last week. "With fewer medical and surgical interventions, midwife-led birth centres are a proven highquality alternative to hospital deliveries and meet the goals of our Action Plan for Health Care by offering more services in the community, closer to home."
Ontario’s birth centres will provide a range of services including: prenatal, labour, birth and early postpartum care; information and support for women, families and communities; prenatal classes; complementary services, such as breastfeeding support, massage therapy, physiotherapy, naturopathy, acupuncture, nutritional counseling and chiropractic care and referrals for additional support with pregnancy, labour, birth, breastfeeding and parenting.
" We are so excited for the opportunity to offer this choice to women and families in our region," said Maxine Vigneault of the Midwifery Group of Ottawa. "The Ottawa Birth and Wellness Centre will facilitate women’s ability to give birth naturally and expand our capacity as midwives to support them."
Birth centres have private rooms with a shower and tub, and cater to a more comfortable environment for women and those supporting them through the birth. Birth centres do not handle complications such as high-risk pregnancies or premature births. Midwives maintain close relationships with local hospitals, which they can consult with and transfer care to if complications arise. They do not provide inductions, epidurals or caesarean sections. The centre is led by a midwife and there are no doctors or nurses on site. Women will be attended by registered midwives (usually two), along with any support people they wish to bring.
The Ottawa Birth and Wellness Centre has many community supporters, including the Champlain LHIN and the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO).
There are successful birth centres in the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand and many other countries. Quebec has a well-established system of midwifery-led birth centres and Manitoba opened a birth centre in October 2011.
There are over 660 registered midwives in Ontario. About 142,000 babies are born in Ontario every year and up to 22,000 are delivered by midwives – up from 8,000 in 2003.
Ottawa-Orléans MPP Phil McNeely joins other elected officials in a talk about the benefits of midwifery.