A midwife can attend births at home or in a hospital (Guelph General Hospital (GGH) and Groves Memorial Community Hospital (GMCH) in Fergus)
As experts in normal birth, midwives provide care to women during labour and birth in either a woman’s home or in a hospital. There are many factors to consider when making a decision about where to have your baby. Your midwife will assess your health needs and provide information to ensure you can make a safe and informed decision.
Midwifery clients who give birth at home:
May feel safer and more relaxed than at the hospital.
Have the lowest likelihood of needing medical interventions such as c-section, epidural or episiotomy.
May find it advantageous not to travel before or after giving birth.
May enjoy the familiarity and intimacy of being at home.
Midwifery clients who give birth in hospital:
May feel safer and more relaxed than at home.
May be able to go home within hours of giving birth if they wish.
If you have planned a home birth, you can change your mind and move to a hospital once you are in labour.
There is a lot of good evidence showing that home birth is safe for low-risk healthy clients with midwives in attendance. This is a choice for clients and families in the care of midwives. Midwives bring portable versions of emergency equipment and supplies such as suction, oxygen, intravenous fluids, tools and equipment to suture tears and medications for the prevention and treatment of postpartum hemorrhage (heavy bleeding). Our training includes management of the rare sudden emergencies that might arise at a home birth. Two midwives attend the birth. A second midwife usually comes when the arrival of the baby is near to assist your primary midwife.
Some clients are more comfortable and relaxed at home. As a result they will have better progress in labor and will enjoy the experience of giving birth much more at home than in the hospital. The watchful guidance of the midwife will ensure early recognition of potential complications and the hospital continues to be an option at any time. Home birth is also a great experience for partners and other family members.
When you plan a home birth, we will come to your home when you are in labour. We will set up our equipment and monitor you and your baby’s health. We will work with you to find what helps you cope with your labour. When the birth is close a second midwife (who you usually do not know) will come to assist your primary midwife. After the birth we will give you stitches if you need them, help you to breastfeed, make sure you are well, help you up to the bath or shower, ensure you eat something and do a head to toe exam for the baby. We will stay with you for 3 hours. Usually we leave after we have cleaned up from the birth and tucked you into your own warm, clean bed.
If you are considering this option your midwives will be happy to discuss home birth with you.
We expect to leave you with 1 bag of laundry and 1 bag of garbage. There are a few simple steps to protect your floor and mattress. Your midwife will do a home visit between 36 and 38 weeks of pregnancy if you are planning a home birth and guide you on how to prepare your home. Most women who have had home births are amazed by how little mess is left after the birth.
Disposable plastic container with lid (large ice cream container size) for placenta
2 large containers (laundry basket, box or pail) lined with garbage bags (one is for laundry and one is for garbage)
Flashlight or movable lamp
Portable space heater to ensure a warm birth place, if necessary
Unopened bar of soap or soap dispenser for midwives to wash hands
Large mirror to watch birth, if desired
Electric kettle or slow cooker for preparing hot compresses
10 clean wash clothes for hot compresses
6 clean bath towels or 10 — 12 receiving blankets to dry baby right after birth (likely will get soiled)
Receiving blankets for baby
Package of “home birth supplies” that your midwife gave you
Preparing the birthing room and bathroom
Make the bed with clean linen. Cover the clean sheets with a shower curtain or heavy plastic drop sheet (this is to protect your mattress during the birth). Cover the plastic layer with clean older linens – bottom and top sheet (these may get stained).
The bath tub should be cleaned and well rinsed in early labour as you may want to use it.
Prepare a bag for baby and yourself with clothing, diapers, pads, etc., in case we need to go to the hospital.
What midwives bring to a home birth?
Midwives will bring oxygen tanks for mother and baby, mechanical suction and other equipment for resuscitation of a baby, heating pads to warm up baby blankets, intravenous fluids and tubing, equipment and materials for suturing tears, medications for postpartum hemorrhage (heavy bleeding), the baby’s medications (vitamin K and erythromycin eye ointment), birthing stool…
Are there any benefits to having a home birth?
Some women feel more relaxed and comfortable in their own environments. They appreciate not having to leave their home in the midst of strong labour. They have access to their own food/kitchen, clothes, bath/shower, and bed. They feel that the increased privacy also allows them to move more freely in their own environment. When women feel safe, supported and in control, their labours are perceived to be less painful and may be faster.
By choosing a home birth women are less likely to have an epidural or other medical interventions and it is less likely for them or their baby to have an infection after the birth.
What is a waterbirth?
Some women choose to birth in water as they find that water helps them to cope with contractions. Some prefer to labour in water and birth outside the tub while other women want to birth in the water. An appropriate tub for birth is deep enough for the belly to be submerged fully in the water and allows the midwife access almost fully around. Waterbirth is not available at the hospital. You can read more about waterbirth at the following link and discuss it with your midwives.
Reasons to transfer from home to the hospital.
Most reasons to transfer from home to the hospital are not emergencies. Your midwife is a specialist in normal and is often able to detect problems or challenges before they become emergencies. Your midwife will monitor you and your baby closely during your labour and immediate post-partum. Reasons for transport include slow progress, need for pain medication, meconium when your water breaks, high blood pressure or fever. Non-emergency transfers to the hospital are usually done by car.
What if there is an emergency or if I need a c-section?
In a true emergency, an urgent c-section may be necessary. We recommend being no more than a 30 minute car ride from a hospital with c-section capability if you are planning a home birth. We prepare for emergencies ahead of time. In an emergency, midwives would call an ambulance and the hospital to allow them to prepare for our arrival there.
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.
Guelph General Hospital Birthing Unit Tour
Groves Memorial Community Hospital Birthing Unit Tour
We ask all clients to pre-register during pregnancy at one of the two hospitals where we have privileges. If you plan a home birth, this will be your ‘back up’ hospital.
At Groves and for Guelph General Hospital you need to fill out the pre-registration form. You can drop off your completed form to your midwives or to the drop box outside the Family Birthing Unit on the 6th floor of the hospital (Mon -Fri: 8am-4pm.)
If you are considering this option your midwives will be happy to discuss a hospital birth with you.
There truly isn’t enough words to explain how grateful I am to have had my midwife’s. Heather and Rebecca have been by my side since day one. Going over and beyond to help me and my little one in every single way. They do their job with their hearts. I am forever thankful. �read more
There are honestly no words to thank Isabelle & Megan for their compassion, patience & help throughout my pregnancy with my first child. I struggled with anxiety throughout my pregnancy and they always took the time to settle my concerns & make sure I was assured that things were okay! My birthing experience was amazing thanks to Megan (& Debbie). I appreciated Isabelle’s advice and decision making regarding my sons health a few days after his birth. She did what she knew was best for him. Both of my Midwives are incredible women & I am so thankful for their involvement in my pregnancy, birth and postpartum care. I will use them again should we be blessed with another pregnancy. � all of the ladies on the front desk are lovely also.read more
This was my first child and I admit I didn't know much about midwives and what their roles would be in pregnancy and childbirth. I did some research and figured hey, let's give this a try. My goodness I am SOOO happy that I chose to go with Midwives!!! I was very blessed to have Rebecca and Heather as my midwives and the care that they provided (during my pregnancy, labour, and aftercare) was unbelievable. I always felt comfortable, cared for, and supported each step of the way. My husband and I can't say enough good things about these ladies and we are absolutely hoping to be paired with them again for our next child. We highly recommend Family Midwifery Care of Guelph!!read more
There aren't enough words to express how grateful and happy I am for my experience with Family Midwifery Care of Guelph. My pregnancy was not an easy one, but the care and support of my midwives got me through very challenging times and helped me feel empowered in making choices for my birth plans, my baby and myself. They treat you with kindness, compassion and respect- I highly recommend!read more
I have used midwives for both of my son's births. I will never forget Sarah and what she did for me. My youngest son's birth ended up being the scariest day of my life. After an emergency c-section went wrong she made sure I was able to see my husband before they rushed me back in a second time. She held my hand while I thought I was taking my last breath of air. She put a volunteer at my door to stop the massive amount of visitors I received. She came to my home and coached my husband on how to care for me and my baby. She was my angel. Highly recommend these ladies. They advocate for your needs. They keep you informed. They come to your home after baby is born!!! Best part of course 🙂read more
While we didn't have a positive outcome with our first pregnancy, I delivered our baby girl prematurely and she was born sleeping at 21 weeks, Isabelle and Megan and the team at Family Midwifery Care was absolutely amazing. They brought out every single positive aspect they could in such a heartbreaking situation. They continued my care for a month pp and went out of their way to make everything easier for us. I cannot say enough good things about these ladies, the compassion and treatment I received. I will no doubt return to their care when we are ready to have our rainbow baby!read more
I had such a great experience with Family Midwifery. Being pregnant with my first child, I had many concerns and questions. My midwives, Isabelle and Meghan, always took their time with me and ensured all my concerns were addressed and that I was comfortable. While I ended up needing an emergency c-section, the support I received from Meghan and Isabelle at the hospital was wonderful. I can't stress how amazing mine and my son's care has been! I will definitely be using Family Midwifery again when my husband and I decide to have a second child!read more
Sarah, Galya, and Nadine were awesome during my 2 pregnancies. My second pregnancy was twins and so they provided secondary support, but honestly, they were much more helpful, caring, and attentive than my OB and I definitely relied on them more heavily than I did the OB. Amazing women!read more
They are amazing. A great comfort to a pregnant mom with anxiety. They were there for me when I experienced a miscarriage & were a part of the team for my latest pregnancy. My OB helped me get pregnant this time around but he had nothing but good things to say about these wonderful ladies & he was happy to hand my care over to them when he was sure I was a "boring" patient. I have felt like they have more time to listen to me than my OB did & they've gone above & beyond to explain every step & all my options to me so I can make the best informed choice for my baby & me.read more
I have been lucky enough to have 2 of my little ones with Family Midwifery Care of Guelph. The difference in care from an OB and a midwife is incredible. It was nice to be treated like a person and not just a number being pushed through. Their knowledge and ability to allow parents to make informed decisions on your pregnancy as opposed to being told what you "need" to do. Thank you so much for all you do!read more
Heather, Rebecca and Jen were absolutely wonderful throughout every step of my pre/postnatal care. I couldn't have asked for a better experience. I have zero complaints, they were perfect 🙂 can't wait to go back for any future pregnancies!read more
I absolutely loved the care that I got from Jaren and Isabel! They helped me get through my crazy birth while sticking to my birth plan(even though things happened so fast) and they helped me with any issues or concerns that came up after! I am extremely pleased that we chose a midwife to bring our son into this world because of the care and relationships we created with these ladies. I love how they always had the answers to my questions and simple tips to help out, which every new parent needs! Also how they would randomly check in with me even when I hadn't called, I truly appreciate everything they have done! I would recommend these midwives to anyone who asks and when we choose to have our next child I will be going with these ladies again!! Thank you so much!!!!read more
Incredible experience! Rebecca, Heather and student Leslie were simply wonderful. I was very prepared for birth, felt thoroughly supported and cared for during birth and was amazed by the postpartum care. Thank you, thank you, thank you!read more
Amazing quality of care!! Rebecca and Martha were knowledgeable, approachable and available whenever we needed them (no matter the time of day)! Much love to this fantastic team from our family!read more
These women warm my heart each time I see them , or a thought of them come to my mind. We are due with your second ( any day now!) and I couldn't feel more loved , and supported. Since the first time I walked in for our first prenatal with our first , I knew this place would become a place I would adore , with women I just love. Words can't even describe how full my heart is with these women being there for the birth of my child , and soon to be children! I remember so clearly all they did for me during the birth of our first child. It was pure love. I take time to acknowledge how thankful I am for them each day. Heike and Rebecca , you two have changed my life with the love and support you offer! Your time with my family will never be forgotten. Thank you.read more
Couldn't have asked for a better team of ladies to see me through my pregnancy, delivery and these early days with my little boy!!! Every visit from them helps make things a little easier...there is no problem that they don't have some great words of advice for.read more
The quality and quantity of care from my midwife far surpassed what I would receive from a family doctor (esp the after care & home visits). I had an unplanned home birth and they put me at ease and everything went incredibly quickly and smoothly.read more
I can't imagine having gone through my pregnancy and those early days with my baby girl without the midwives. They always made me feel cared for, valued, and important. I never felt rushed through an appointment and for those times when I had to page, they always made me feel that I had made the right decision to call them. They are amazing people and provide stellar care for everyone. And I must say that being greeted by Jackie when you arrive at the office makes the whole experience even better!read more
Midwives are registered health care providers. We provide complete clinical care. That includes information, advice and support to help you, our client, make the best choices for your own care. We work to develop relationships of trust with our clients and their families because we know this improves safety and satisfaction with the experience of pregnancy, birth and early parenting.