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Hospital Birth

Midwifery clients wanting a hospital birth have a choice of two local hospitals where we have privileges: Guelph General Hospital (GGH) and Groves Memorial Community Hospital (GMCH) in Fergus. We will ask for you to pre-register at one of these hospitals even if you plan to give birth at home.

Your midwife may offer to meet you at home to assess your labour or you and your midwife may decide to meet at the hospital. Some women choose to stay at home for a significant portion of their labour. When we will advise you to move to the hospital depends on many factors.

You can expect that your midwife will be with you throughout your active labour, the birth and for about 3 hours after.  A second midwife will be called when you are close to delivery to assist your primary midwife. At the hospital you may take a shower, go in the Jacuzzi tub (GGH only), sit on an exercise ball, walk in the hallways…. Your midwife will work with you to find what helps you through your labour. Midwives use the technologies available in the hospital when needed.  Doctors and nurses are not present at a normal hospital birth with midwives.

After the birth, your midwives will give stitches if you need them, help you breastfeed, do a head to toe exam of your baby and complete paperwork.  We will ensure you eat something and have help to get to the washroom/shower and call housekeeping to tidy your room. If everything has been normal, you will be offered early discharge or a 24 hour hospital stay. Your midwife is still available to you 24 hours a day after you have your baby.

Usually babies are cared for by their parents in the mother’s hospital room. Nurses are available for emergencies and to give breastfeeding help. Your midwife will check on you every day you are in hospital. At Guelph General, babies who need more care will be cared for by nurses and a paediatrician in the special care nursery.  Babies who need even more specialized care may be transported to a different hospital.

Families need to bring their own supplies to the hospital including diapers for babies. A list of things to bring with you is available here.

What to Have for Labor and Pack for Hospital Birth
(for printable version see right-hand menu)


  • Food and drinks for laboring woman and her support people
  • A couple of packages of Maxi pads–overnight size
  • Portable music player (if desired)
  • Clothes to labor in if you prefer not to wear a hospital gown
  • 1 or 2 pillows from home (not in white cases)
  • Hairbrush, toothbrush and paste, other personal care items as desired
  • Bathrobe and slippers
  • Change of clothes for going home (comfortable and loose)
  • Camera / video camera
  • Change for parking (currently $8.00 in loonies or toonies at GGH, free at Groves)
  • $20.00 (refundable) for a pass for 24 hour access for your support person at Guelph General only
  • Health card and additional health insurance information, if applicable
  • Don’t forget your binder


  • At least two hats–one soft one that we can put it on the baby right after
  • birth
  • 2 diaper shirts
  • 2 sleepers
  • Socks
  • Blankets
  • Car seat
  • Diapers
  • Extra warm clothing and blankets for winter births
  • Vaseline or olive oil for baby’s bottom

For Laboring at Home:

  • Gravol and Tylenol – for rest in early labor
  • Digital oral thermometer
  • Covering to protect carpets/mattress–consider plastic drop sheets or shower curtains from the Dollar Store
  • Extra pillows
  • Bendable drinking straws
  • Massage lotion or oil
  • Lip balm
  • Hot water bottle or rice bag