Labour and Birth Care
Midwives support clients to give birth where they feel most comfortable, whether that be in their own home or in hospital. At CMOH we attend clients choosing to give birth at home, or at either one of our obstetric hospitals: McMaster University Medical Centre (Hamilton Health Sciences) or St Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton. To learn more about hospital birth in Hamilton or choosing a home birth, please see our Choice of Birthplace section.
Midwives are experts in healthy, low-risk birth. We view childbirth as a normal, physiological process that your body is meant to handle. We minimize interventions unless medically necessary, and are trained to manage a variety of issues that may arise during this period.
In the early part of your labour, you will be in the comfort of your own home with your support partner(s). Once you are in active labour, you will be attended by your midwife - either at home or hospital depending on where you are planning to give birth - who will provide you with continuous, individualized labour support and clinical care.
During your labour, your midwife with monitor both you and your baby closely in order to support a safe delivery. You can expect the following from your midwife during this time:
- dedicated, one-to-one labour support
- regular monitoring of vitals, contractions, and fetal heart rate
- vaginal exams to assess the dilation of your cervix and labour progress
- assistance with comfort measures
- provision of pain medication if requested
In our community, there are two midwives at every midwife-attended birth. When your midwife assesses that the birth is getting close, the second midwife will be called to attend. You may or may not have met your second midwife before the birth - it is likely that this individual will be one of our on call team members available at the time. While you may not have met them before - we can almost guarantee that you will quickly become comfortable with them as they become a part of your support team!
If any any point in your labour your midwife has concerns about you or your baby, they will consult with an on call physician to provide assistance. If your care is transferred to an physician for any reason, your midwife will stay with you to provide supportive care and resume care as soon as it is safe and reasonable to do so.
After the birth, your midwife will monitor both you and your baby for the initial hours following delivery. We will help you to initiate your baby’s first feed, conduct a thorough newborn exam, administer any indicated medications, and ensure you are recovering well.
Following a brith in the hospital, you will have the option of either being being discharged home approximately three hours after the birth of your baby, or being admitted to the postpartum unit for 24-48 hours depending on your comfort level. Your midwifery team will talk to you about your options after your delivery and you can decide what is best for you. If you have given birth at home, your midwife will stay with your for approximately three hours before departing. Regardless of whether you were at home or in hospital for the birth of your baby, your midwifery team will meet with you within 24 hours of the birth to conduct your first postpartum and newborn visit.