If you are experiencing a healthy, low risk pregnancy, birth is generally very safe for both you and your baby regardless of care provider (midwife or doctor) and setting (home, birth centre or hospital).
There are many factors that contribute to the safety of midwife-attended hospital births in Ontario. Ontario midwives:
- are regulated health professionals
- bring medical equipment and medications to every home birth similar to those available at hospitals that provide Level 1 care and birth centres
- have hospital privileges
- receive an education specific to attending births and responding to birth emergencies both in and outside the hospital
- engage in regular continuing competency training to attend births and respond to birth emergencies both in and outside the hospital
- can quickly access specialist care (e.g. obstetrician, pediatrician) in the hospital if necessary to support the best health outcomes for you and your baby
What does the research say?
There is excellent Canadian-based research analyzing the records of more than 45,000 low risk births attended by midwives at home and in hospital. The research showed that the same number of babies are born healthy and well regardless of where the birth was planned to take place.
Infant outcomes by planned place of birth: home and hospital*
The same research also shows that:
- people who plan to give birth at the hospital have a greater chance of birth interventions like C-section and assisted vaginal delivery (forceps or vacuum) than people who plan to give birth at home
- people who plan to give birth at home but end up going to the hospital have less chance of interventions like C-section and assisted vaginal delivery (forceps or vacuum) than people who planned a hospital birth
Type of birth by planned place of birth: home and hospital*
Regardless of what the research says, the most important thing is that YOU feel safe in your chosen birth environment. Your midwife will support your decision to birth where you feel the most comfortable!
*These pictograms are based on a meta-analysis of findings from four research studies that examined the records of more than 45,000 midwife-attended births in Ontario and British Columbia.