Your home or a birth centre?
The only material difference between a birth at home and one at the Ottawa Birth and Wellness Centre is location. Both give you the freedom to incorporate your own traditions and preferences into your birth experience.
You have access to the same comfort and pain-relief options here as you can arrange to have in your home, including birth tubs, balls and stools, and a transcutaneous electric nerve stimulation (TENS) machine; in addition, nitrous oxide ("laughing gas") is available at the Centre. Your midwife also has the same equipment and supplies to attend to common emergencies, including oxygen, sterile instruments and drugs to stop bleeding.
Unsure which setting is right for you?
Talk to your midwife. No place is like home, but a birth centre is a more practical option for many women. Some do not want to disturb housemates or neighbours, or do not want their other children or people they live with present at the birth. Others lack adequate housing or live relatively far from a hospital. Still others simply prefer the community atmosphere a birth centre can provide. Additionally, the birthing suites at the Centre feature large birthing tubs, which many women enjoy using during labour, or for a waterbirth.
For some women, the decision may also be a financial one. The Ottawa Birth and Wellness Centre’s fully equipped birthing facilities and comprehensive birth services are free of charge for Ontario residents. At home, a woman must pay for any equipment she would like and that her midwife cannot provide.