Choice of Birth Place - Home Birth​

Who's pregnancy, labour and delivery are low risk. Midwives in Ontario are trained to deliver you baby in a hospital,  home or clinic setting. Many women have various reasons for choosing their choice of birth place. As experts in normal low risk pregnancies, the midwives at WEM respect a woman's decision to labour and birth where she feels the most comfortable. Feel free to contact your midwife to discuss your options. We also host "Choice of Birth Place Info Night" time and dates can be found under the events section.

A home birth is an out of hospital option for midwifery clients who wish to deliver in the comfort of their own home environment. A women wanting to deliver at home does not need to live in a house. Home births can be conducted in a house, an apartment, a condo environment, ideally any place the women considers a home.

Labour and Delivery & Immediate Postpartum
When you believe you are in active labour you will contact your midwife and she will come to assess you at home. If you are in active labour your midwife (and student) will remain with you and provide you with support. The midwife will also be assessing you and the baby by taking your vitals, listing to the baby's heart rate and monitoring the progression of labour.  Once she feels the labour has progress well she will contact your back-up midwives to come and assist her.

Once your baby is born, your midwifery team will assist you will skin to skin and breastfeeding. They will monitor you  to ensure your immediate recovery is progressing as expected. They will also ensure that your baby is making his/her transition appropriately. The midwifery team will remain with you for about 3-4 hrs after the birth. They will leave you with instructions on what is normal for you and your baby and will return to see you  approximately within the first 24 hrs at home. She is also on call for you 24 hrs a day.

What make an individual a good candidate for home birth?
Midwives are trained professional who can offer home birth to women who meet the following criteria:
  • are 37 weeks but less than 42 weeks
  • cephalic presentation
  • feel comfortable with home birth (i.e., laboring and giving birth at home)
  • support from the individuals attending your home birth
  • are informed and understand the benefits and risk associated with home birth
  • safe transfer options to hospital services are available

What are the advantages and disadvantages of home birth?
  • less epidural use
  • decreased  assisted delivery (forceps or vacuum delivery)
  • decreased likelihood of  have a c-section
  • decreased need for augmentation
  • decreased risk of infection for both women and their baby
  • Pain medication such as narcotics and epidural are not available
  • may have to transfer into the hospital during labour or after labour if concerns arise
  • do not have immediate access to emergency assistance

Why may someone consider home birth?
feel more comfortable in their own home environment where they can labour as they please (eat own food, use own washroom, etc)
want to deliver in water
may not want to travel to and from the hospital
feel safer and secure at home
want to decrease the risk of intervention
see home birth as normal
not want to be restricted to the number of supports allow to be with them during labour and delivery

What if their are complications?
Since midwives are trained specialist in low risk pregnancy, they are skilled at identifying abnormal. You midwives will be with you during  your labour and intimidate postpartum period to identify an abnormal situations. She will also be communicating with you when she perceives any reason to move into the hospital. Remember that many of the reasons that women transfer in to hospital are not true emergency. Depending on the you and your baby's condition, transfer to the hospital may be by car or ambulance. When a transfer to the hospital is required, your midwife will contact the hospital in advance to have the needed health care professionals available and informed to assist her when you arrive. She may have also be preparing you by doing procedures at your home for transfer into the hospital (i.e., blood work). To help facilitate this process we ask women planing to deliver at home to register at Etobicoke General Hospital in advance.

Is Home birth a safe option?
Midwives are specially trained to deliver out of hospital settings. Midwives education and training include going through the Midwifery Educations Program or the IMPP for international midwives. Part of that education requires that all midwifery students attending several home births in order to graduate from the program. Also once graduated, midwives must attend several home birth every year when they practice to remain competent in their home birth skills. Additional midwifery training includes includes certifications in cardiovascular pulmonary resuscitation (CPR), neonatal resuscitation program (NRP), and emergency skill training. Midwives also carry equipment and medication for dealing with common complications that may arise during labour and delivery and/or the postpartum period.

There is a lot of research and data that support the safety of home birth. For more information please feel free to read some of the literature below or speak to your midwife. You can also register for "Choice of Birth Place Info Night".

Home Birth Studies and Information
BC Study on the safety of home birth 2002
North American study on the safety of home birth 2005
Ontario study on the safety of home birth 2009
Canadian Study on the safety of home birth  2009