Ontario's first midwife-run "birth centre" will be opening shortly near Dundas and Parliament.
Starting soon, mothers will have another option when it comes to how and where they welcome their babies into the world: in the near future, two birth centres will be opening in Ontario—one in Ottawa, and one in Toronto’s very own Regent Park.
The Toronto Birth Centre, which is expected to accommodate about 450 births each year, will be run by midwives; one Scarborough and six central Toronto midwifery practice groups will be involved in its operation. Geared toward women with low-risk pregnancies, the Centre will offer birth pools and showers, and various pain-management options (not including epidurals or narcotics). There won’t be any doctors or nurses on hand, but midwives are equipped to deal with many common issues, and in the case of any serious complications, patients will be transferred to a hospital.
The Centre will be concerned not only with the experience of the expectant mother, but also with that of her family members and supporters—it will offer a Birth Centre Aide, for example, who’ll be there from the very beginning of the visit to assist all involved. Families will also be encouraged “to incorporate their own culture, background, traditions and preferences in their experience,” and the Centre will make the support of Aboriginal families through pregnancy and labour a “particular focus.”
The whole-family focus doesn’t end with the birth: the Centre is positioning itself as a place where families and members of the community will be able to drop in to get advice and support about things like pregnancy, labour, breastfeeding, and the challenges of parenting.
No date has been provided for the official opening, but the Centre has signalled that the location will be up and running in the near future and suggests an official announcement is on its way.