During your pregnancy, your midwife will talk to you about your options of having a home or hospital birth. As part of midwifery’s informed choice model, your midwife will provide you with the information you need to make a decision about where you want to have your baby. She will assess whether you are a good candidate for planning a home birth.
When discussing home birth, your midwife will provide you with research-based information. She will address any questions or concerns you have, and will support any decision you make. Where you decide to have your baby is your choice. About 25-30% of midwifery clients in Ontario plan a home birth.
Research demonstrates that home birth is at least as safe as hospital birth. Since 1994, when midwifery was regulated in Ontario, midwives have attended over 25,000 home births, and attend about 3,000 annually. Midwives are trained to provide all the necessary care and support that you will need at your home birth. The equipment they bring along with them to home births is equivalent to what would be found in a community hospital, including oxygen, medications to stop bleeding and sterile instruments.
Women who choose home birth like the comfort of being in familiar surroundings. Some women feel more confident and relaxed when they are able to access their own food, bed and bathroom during labour. If you have a home birth, the range of pain relief options available to you will include things such as massage, shower/bathing, and sterile water injections. You can only access an epidural in hospital.
With a home birth, your primary midwife will monitor both you and your baby during your labour. A second midwife will arrive close to the end of your labour to take care of your baby once she or he is born.