Out-of-hospital birth

What about giving birth at home or at a birthing centre?

Some women choose to deliver their babies in locations outside of the hospital, such as at a birth centre or at home. Usually a registered midwife, or sometimes a family physician attends these out-of-hospital births. In choosing a location for their birth, all women should clearly understand the risks and benefits of their chosen setting.

In Canada, a planned homebirth is a reasonable choice provided:

  • The birth is attended by a registered midwife or appropriately trained family physician
  • The chosen care provider is well-integrated into the health care system
  • The mother has a low degree of risk
  • The birth is anticipated to be uncomplicated
  • Neither mother nor baby is expected to require resources beyond those closely available

Current research indicates that women who have normal, low-risk pregnancies who plan a homebirth with a registered midwife, in an integrated health care system may have better obstetric outcomes (i.e., fewer interventions) with no increase in neonatal mortality.