Preparing to Give Birth
Preparing to Give Birth
Most babies are born simply and easily without any medical interventions. Your body has been carefully designed so that you likely have the ability to deliver your baby safely. You can trust in your own body to labour and give birth to your baby with the support of your health care provider and support team. Chances are your labour and birth will go smoothly and your baby will be healthy.
Health Care Support
In British Columbia, women and their partners can choose where to have their baby in a hospital or at home. You may be advised to have your baby in a hospital if:
- you are carrying more than one baby
- your baby is in a breech position (bottom down) or other unusual position
- you have early labour before 37 weeks, or late labour after 42 weeks of pregnancy
- you have a medical condition, such as high blood pressure, heart or kidney disease, or diabetes
- you have active genital herpes
- you have a high‑risk pregnancy for any other reason
You may have special needs, such as carrying more than one baby, or you may have a medical condition, such as diabetes or heart or kidney disease. If this is the case, your health care provider may ask an obstetrician to give you medical care. An obstetrician is a health care provider trained to care for women who have special needs during their pregnancies and birth. If needed, an obstetrician may also be called during your labour and birth.
It’s important that both you and your partner are comfortable with the place where you choose to have your baby.
When thinking about your birth wishes, ask:
- Where will we feel safe and be able to relax and focus on my labour?
- Am I in good health, without any medical problems in my pregnancy?
- Where can my health care provider attend the birth?
- Will my partner and I be involved in the choices about my care?
Having Your Baby at Home?
If you choose to have a midwife, she will be with you during your labour. A second birth attendant will also be present for the birth of your baby. She will be there for a short period of time before and after your baby’s birth. Until six weeks after the birth, your midwife will give information and care as you need it. This help is for you and your baby and includes breastfeeding support.
After the birth, your midwife will see you or contact you at home on a daily basis for a week. At two weeks, you will return with your baby to your midwife’s office for visits until six weeks after your baby’s birth. At that time your care will be transferred back to your family doctor. You will receive information from a public health nurse about services from the health office and services in your community.
Having Your Baby in a Hospital?
A nurse and your midwife – if you have one – will be with you during your labour and birth. Your doctor will usually check on you during labour and will be with you during the birth of your baby.
After you go home you will be contacted and visited as needed by a public health nurse. She will answer questions about your baby’s feeding and care. She will also talk with you about your health and postpartum adjustment. She will give you information about services provided by the public health office and about other services in your community.
In some communities, public health nurses are not available after office hours and on weekends or statutory holidays. If a public health nurse in not available in your community during these times, call HealthLink BC at 8-1-1, for confidential health information and advice from a registered nurse.