Birth at home

Your midwives will do a home visit between 36 to 39 weeks of your pregnancy. During this visit, they will discuss with you how to prepare your home for the birth and answer any final questions you may have.

When you go into labour, your midwives will attend your birth around the same time they would if they were attending a hospital or birth centre birth. Midwives will bring specialized equipment to the birth – the equivalent of a Level 1 hospital in Ontario. This includes birth instruments, supplies to perform IV’s and draw bloods, emergency equipment to resuscitate a baby as well as medications to control heavy bleeding after the birth.

While with you at home, your midwife will support you throughout your labour. A progressive labour is often helped by a variety of positions and activities along with a feeling of safety, control and relaxation. During this time you have the use of the comforts of your home. Stairs and hallways are good for active periods. Your couch or bed helpful for times of rest. We often encourage clients to use their shower or tub, as water-therapy is known to decrease the pain felt and benefit relaxation. Your midwife will monitor your well being, vital signs and labour progress, as well as the baby’s heart rate and position.

As your labour continues, your midwife will set up her birth equipment in the room where you are planning to give birth. All that is required for set up is a room big enough, so that you can could lie down – with enough space to allow the midwives to work. We also require electricity with 1 or 2 working, three-pronged outlets. A clean, flat surface, like a dresser, table or desk is needed for our equipment. When possible we recommend that you give birth in a room where you can rest after the baby is born and that has a bathroom close by.

A back up midwife will usually arrive at your home during the 2nd stage of labour or when you are pushing. She will help support you and assist the primary midwife as needed. Once the baby is born the back up midwife will help the baby transition into its new environment. After the baby is born, your midwives will assist you in breastfeeding, re-hydrating and using the washroom. During this time we are monitoring you and the baby, ensuring you both are stable and well. In the next few hours, we clean up your birthing room, our equipment and supplies.

Your midwives will provide a temporary OHIP card for the baby, and discuss the birth registration process with you. You will be given instructions on what to expect in the next few days and your midwives will review when to page them. We will return again within 12-24 hours for your first home visit following the birth.

While many complications of birth can be screened for during the prenatal period, occasionally complications may arise during a home birth. If this happens during your labour and birth the midwife will ask for help, sometimes this is from another midwife or it may mean transferring into the nearest hospital. Your midwife will discuss her concerns with you and what she would like to do. Sometimes it may mean a simple intervention that the midwife can do at home but sometimes we have to move into hospital by Emergency Services (EMS) if it is a emergency. When we transport into a hospital your midwife will come with you in the ambulance and will call ahead and alert the nurses and doctor that we are coming and why. While we are on route to the hospital they will be preparing for us and your care will not be delayed. Sometime emergencies in labour and birth require us to act quickly with little time to discuss what is happening. Your midwife and the Michael Garron Hospital nurses and doctors are dedicated to discussing your care and sharing information.  We hope that you will always feel comfortable to ask questions and be a participant in your care. You will also have lots of time in the 6 weeks after your baby is born to ask questions and discuss your birth experience.