Are you pregnant for the first time and don’t know what to expect?

Maybe you are a bit anxious, afraid of the unknown? Or have you given birth before and the experience was not what you had hoped for?

Here are a few tips on what you can do to have the birth that you desire and to go into it with full trust in yourself, your body and the choices you make.

  • Choose a birth team that you trust
  • Decide on the place where you want to give birth
  • Educate yourself about your options and the process of birth
  • Trust your instincts

Choose a birth team that you trust

Choosing a care giver that is aligned with your desires for your birth and surrounding yourself with people that support you is crucial for your birth experience.

Wether you have a physician or a midwife present at your birth, you want to make sure that they are comfortable with what you want and respect your choices – be it an unmedicated/ medicated birth, a vaginal breech birth or a VBAC.

If you are interested in the option of having a midwife, see the list of all Edmonton midwives’.

Having a doula present at your birth can increase your chances of having less (or no) pain medication, decrease your chances of a C-section and shorten your labor.

Your partner may also benefit from having someone there who knows the hospital system (or helps clean up after a home birth) and works with him to support you.

Decide on the place where you want to give birth

Is homebirth safe? Numerous studies have shown that homebirth is as safe or safer than birth in a hospital if you have a qualified caregiver with you.

The vast majority of women still feel safest in a hospital. Here are some quick facts on the Edmonton and area hospitals that might be helpful for your decision on where to give birth.

Lois Hole Hospital for Women (Royal Alex)
  • After your baby is born, you are transferred to a postpartum unit
  • Postpartum procedures will be performed in the nursery (you or your partner can go in there with your baby)
  • Your partner will be able to stay overnight with you since policies changed in 2016
  • Midwives have admitting privileges
Grey Nuns Hospital
  • After your baby is born, you are transferred to a postpartum unit
  • Your partner can stay overnight with you
  • The hospital is now a “baby-friendly” hospital!
  • No birth pools allowed, although this might change
  • Midwives have admitting privileges
Sturgeon Hospital
  • As of November 2017, you no longer labor, deliver and stay in the same room postpartum – you will be transferred to a different room after birth
  • Your partner can stay overnight with you
  • Birth pools allowed if ok is given from your caregiver (no water birth without a midwife)
  • Midwives have admitting privileges
Misericordia Hospital
  • Lowest birth rates of Edmonton and area hospitals
  • Birth pools are allowed if your care giver is ok with it
  • Postpartum units have multiple beds in them
  • Midwives have admitting privileges

Trust your instincts

We live in a society where trusting your instincts is not a high priority. Our mainstream maternity care system does give little importance to following or trusting instincts. This often results in women who have lost all trust in themselves when it comes to making decisions and a need for handing all responsibility over to a caregiver. Fear and insecurity are generally not good decision makers. Neither during pregnancy, nor during labor or the parenting years.

A helpful way to make decisions is to use the acronym BRAIN when facing a decision in labor (or at other times):

  • What are the benefits of the suggested intervention/ treatment?
  • Which risks are associated with this intervention/ treatment?
  • What are the alternatives?
  • What do my instincts tell me?
  • What happens when we do nothing?