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- The Association of Ontario Midwives
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- Tours of TBC
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- Having a Baby at the TBC
- Having a Baby at the TBC
- What Facilities and Services Are Available at The Birth Centre?
- What happens at a Typical Birth in a Birth Centre?
- What if Complications Arise?
- Invitation to TBC
- Invitation to TBC
- Visitor Code of Conduct
- Client and Family Feedback
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- Client Experience Survey
- Complaints and Compliments
Having a Baby at the TBC
Having a Baby at the Toronto Birth Centre
Congratulations on your pregnancy!
A Birth Centre is a regulated, community-based health care facility that offers pregnant people a safe, comfortable, family-centred place to give birth. You will make many choices throughout your pregnancy; two of the most important will be deciding which health care provider you will go to for prenatal care and where you’re going to have your baby. If you choose care with a midwife, you can plan to have your baby at a hospital, at home or at TBC.
We aim to create an environment that supports diverse communities in Toronto. This safe and welcoming space is open to you and your midwife to create the kind of birth experience you’d like to have. Families using the Toronto Birth Centre are encouraged to incorporate their own culture, background, traditions and preferences in their experience. Supporting Indigenous families through pregnancy and birth is a particular focus of the Toronto Birth Centre.
There are ten groups of midwives affiliated with the Toronto Birth Centre, who each have their own clinic and address spread across Toronto. Our birthing space is designed to accommodate approximately 525 admissions per year. If you are not in care with one of the midwifery groups listed, and are interested in the Toronto Birth Centre, please speak with your midwife.
There’s more to the Toronto Birth Centre than giving birth. The Toronto Birth Centre is committed to being a resource for information and support for pregnant people, families and communities in the city. Prenatal classes, access to complementary therapies care providers, educational opportunities, referrals and community partnerships provide extra support for pregnancy, labour, birth, breastfeeding and parenting.
What Facilities and Services Are Available at The Birth Centre?
The equipment, supplies and medications available at a birth centre are approximately equivalent to what midwives provide at a home birth or a level 1 / community hospital.
The birth centre is set up for, physiological, uncomplicated births. At the birth centre you and your midwives will have access to equipment and supplies needed for many common situations and more rare emergencies, including:
- To repair 1st and 2nd degree lacerations that may happen during birth (suturing – perineal repair).
- To help your baby to breathe, if needed (neonatal resuscitation).
- To treat any excessive bleeding after birth (Postpartum hemorrhage).
- To respond to other complications that midwives train and practice for.
Midwives offer a variety of options for comfort and pain management in labour. For more information about comfort measures and pain management at TBC, please see our pamphlet on this topic TBC Comfort Options Pamphlet.
To learn more about choosing between birth centre, home and hospital birth, please see the AOM’s resource Birthplace Options.
There are no doctors or nurses working in the birthing area. Many hospital interventions are not available at the birth centre, including medical induction and augmentation of labour, continuous electronic fetal monitoring, instrumental delivery (forceps and vacuum) or caesarean section. Epidural and narcotics are hospital-based pain relief options that require consultation with a doctor and are not available at the birth centre.
Midwives have been attending birth outside of hospitals for a long time, and are a big part of collecting information and conducting reviews to keep everyone informed about the safety of birth in birth centres and at home.
For more resources on the safety of birth outside of hospitals, visit the AOM’s pages on this topic.
These infographics put the information on safety into graphs and pictures:
For a video on choosing to birth outside of hospital, watch:
What happens at a Typical Birth in a Birth Centre?
You will learn from your team of midwives how to recognize the stages of the labour process as they unfold for you, and when to page your team in labour. Your midwife will assess your labour over the phone or in person to decide the best time for you to go to the birth centre.
You can be admitted to the birth centre once you are in active labour. You will be greeted by a Birth Centre Aide, who will show you to a birth room and orient you to the birth centre. The Birth Centre Aides provide assistance and support to your support people and your midwives throughout your labour and birth.
You may stay at the birth centre for 2-4 hours after your baby’s birth, and then your midwives will help you prepared to be discharged home. The birth centre is not meant as a place to stay for an extended period of time following birth. In exceptional circumstances, the length of stay can be extended to a maximum of 6 hours. If you or your baby need closer observation after this time, you will need to transfer to hospital.
With your permission, students may be involved in your care at TBC. In addition to or instead of the students who work with your midwifery team out of their clinic, a student midwife in placement at the birth centre may request to participate in or observe your birth. What students can learn from birth centre births is unique and important, as this is a facility set up especially for midwife-led care that is not yet available in every community. Thank you for considering including students in your birth experience. For more information, please see our pamphlet about students TBC Student Pamphlet.
What if Complications Arise?
Midwives are trained to continually assess risk, recognize the signs if complications begin to arise, and connect you with the resources you need for safe care. If complications arise while you’re at the birth centre, your midwife may recommend that you transfer transport to hospital. Having quick access to hospital care is part of what makes out-of-hospital births safe.
If transport to a hospital is not an emergency, and time allows, you will usually go to the hospital where your midwife has privileges, by private vehicle (eg. your family’s car or taxi) or ambulance (depending on the situation).
If transport is more urgent, Birth Centre Aides can assist your midwives in calling 9-1-1 for an ambulance to transport you. This is most often to the hospital where your midwives have privileges, but in the most serious emergencies, can be to the nearest hospital with the service your or your baby needs.
Please talk with your midwife team about which hospital(s) they transport to from Toronto Birth Centre, and the influences in this decision.