Community Midwives of Thunder Bay encourages and supports families to explore choice of birthplace. Please ask questions and seek advice from your midwifery team at your prenatal appointments. For more information on choice of birthplace, please refer to the Association of Ontario Midwives at ontariomidwives.ca
Where you plan to deliver is a personal choice for every family. Once you have explored your options, our work as your midwifery team is to respect and facilitate your planned choice of birthplace. We always strive to create a warm, comforting, and supportive birth environment; one in which you and your family can feel confident and empowered to have the best birth experience possible.
Having your baby at home can be a wonderful, empowering choice if it is where you feel the most supported and comfortable. At home, you can choose to have family members or friends present at the birth, or choose to have a private birth experience shared with your birth partner. Since 1994, when midwifery was regulated in Ontario, midwives have attended over 25,000 home births, and continue to attend about 3,000 home births annually.
Midwifery clients planning a home birth:
- May feel safer and more comfortable giving birth at home
- May want to avoid medical pain management options while promoting unmedicated birth
- May not feel like travelling to the hospital before or home following the birth
- May enjoy the familiar and intimate settings of home
If you decide in labour that you would prefer to go to hospital, that is always an option. Likewise, some women planning hospital births decide to remain at home for delivery.
Research shows that home birth is as safe as hospital birth when attended by a skilled health care provider. Your primary midwife will monitor both you and your baby during your labour. A second midwife will arrive close to the end of your labour to take care of your baby once she or he is born. The range of pain relief options available to you will include massage, shower/bathing, and sterile water injections. The equipment that a midwife brings to a home birth is similar to the equipment in a community hospital. If it becomes medically necessary to go to the hospital during your labour, safe transport is arranged depending on the urgency of the situation. In order to facilitate emergency transport, all planned homebirths are registered through emergency medical services.
A home birth is not appropriate for all women. Your health during pregnancy and labour and your personal circumstances are considerations to discuss with your midwife when making this decision. Hospital birth, as a back-up for home births, is part of what makes home birth safe.
Home Birth Resources:
- The Facts About Homebirth in Ontario
- Home birth safety: CBC interview with Dr. Soo Downe, midwife
- Outcomes of planned place of birth: CMAJ Outcomes associated with planned place of birth among
women with low-risk pregnancies
- Home birth study: CMAJ Outcomes of planned home birth versus hospital birth
- Ontario home birth study: BIRTH magazine
- North American home birth study: BMJ Outcomes of planned home births with certified professional midwives
- Ina May Gaskin’s Guide to Childbirth, Ina May Gaskin 2003
- Birthing from Within, Pam England & Rob Horowitz, 1998
- Homebirth, Sheila Kitzinger 1991
Home birth supply list: (download)
- Digital oral thermometer
- Covering to protect carpets/mattress–consider plastic drop sheets or shower curtains from the Dollar Store
- Extra pillows, 2 sets of fitted sheets, two warm blankets for mom
- Bendable drinking straws
- Massage lotion or oil, lip balm
- Hot water bottle or rice bag
- 4-8 clean older wash cloths (for compresses) ·
- 6 large clean older towels (to dry mom or baby) ·
- 6-8 receiving blankets ·
- 2 medium bowls (1 if you are nauseous and 1 for the placenta) ·
- 2 large garbage bags · ·
- a roll of paper towels ·
- a flashlight and fresh supply of batteries ·
- 1 large pack of overnight sanitary pads (preferably not Always) ·
- A loose gown or comfortable pajamas to wear after the birth, preferably opening in front for skin-to-skin contact and ease of breastfeeding ·
- diapers, 2 newborn size baby hats, two onesies (undershirt) and two sleepers for baby
- hydrogen peroxide or “green” bleach (to remove blood stains if needed) ·
- car seat, health card, blankets and warm clothes for baby in case of transfer to hospital