Having a midwife doesn't necessarily mean having a home birth. While both home and birth centre are two excellent, safe options, many midwifery clients choose to give birth in hospital. Although the overall percentage is slowly decreasing, about three-quarters of the clients in midwifery care have a hospital birth.
Your midwife can admit you into the hospital where she has admitting privileges, provide your primary care, and discharge you after your baby is born--all without having to see a doctor if you are not medically required to see one.
Midwifery clients typically have shorter hospital stays than those who are in the care of physicians because when you and your baby are discharged from hospital, your midwife will provide follow-up care at home and in midwifery clinics.
During labour in hospital, midwives offer a range of natural and pharmaceutical pain relief options. Water, massage and other methods are popular and effective ways to relieve pain during birth; however, if you want an epidural, your midwife can arrange for that.
When discussing a hospital as your choice of birthplace, it's important to find out from your midwife if the hospital has any restrictions on the care she can provide. For example, sometimes hospitals make policies that require midwives to transfer the care of a client to a doctor if the client is getting an epidural, an induction, or planning to have a vaginal birth after a caesarean (VBAC). This happens in spite of the research that shows that clients experience the best outcomes when midwives remain as primary caregivers.
Regardless, half of all hospitals with midwives have these kinds of policies, according to a 2011 survey by the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care. Your midwife will talk to you about what you can expect at the hospital where you plan to give birth.
Midwives attend births in over 90 hospitals in Ontario. To find out which hospital the midwives in your area work in, search under "Hospitals" on the Find a Midwife page.