Choice of Birth Place

Women may choose to give birth safely at home, or in the hospital.

Barbara at a birthHospital Birth

Midwives have hospital privileges in Ontario hospitals. This means that they can admit and discharge clients at hospitals and access hospital resources needed by clients, including a consultation from a doctor if there is a concern or complication.

Women may choose hospital birth because:

  • This is where they feel safest
  • Timely access to pain medication or an epidural
  • They feel more comfortable and relaxed labouring in the hospital than at home
  • They are too far out of town to consider home birth (30mins)


Home Birth

IMG_2199Midwives are the only health-care professionals specifically trained in out of hospital birth.

During your pregnancy, your midwife will talk to you about your options of having a home or hospital birth. As part of midwifery’s informed choice model, your midwife will provide you with the information you need to make a decision about where you want to have your baby. She will assess whether you are a good candidate for planning a home birth.

Research demonstrates that home birth is at least as safe as hospital birth. Since 1994, when midwifery was regulated in Ontario, midwives have attended over 25,000 home births, and attend about 3,000 annually.

Women who choose home birth like the comfort of being in familiar surroundings. Some women feel more confident and relaxed when they are able to access their own food, bed and bathroom during labour. If you have a home birth, the range of pain relief options available to you will include things such as massage, shower/bathing, and sterile water injections.


Additional Resources

Association of Ontario Midwives Birthplace Options Portal


Home Birth Supplies Checklist 

Hospital Birth Supplies Checklist

Disinfecting Your Home During COVID for Planned Home Birth

Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada: Statement on Home Birth

Editorial “The Safety of Home Birth” in the Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology

Research Article “Outcomes of Planned Place of Birth for Clients with Low Risk Pregnancies” in the Canadian Medical Association Journal