A safe space to meet your baby

The Centre’s spacious birth suites offer women an informal, family-centered place to give birth. To make you and your guests as comfortable as possible, all of our birthing suites feature:

  • Homelike furnishings - A real bed, cozy fireplace, beautiful wood furnishings and soft places to sit for labouring women and their guests make each suite warm, welcoming and anything but institutional.

  • Birth tub - Immersion in a pool of warm water can physically soothe and mentally relax a labouring woman while simultaneously energizing her and providing her with a greater sense of privacy. Other benefits of the tub include the more efficient uterine contractions and improved blood circulation that buoyancy provides.

  • Shower - Many women associate showers with relaxation—a connection that calms the mind as heat loosens the muscles. Showers also give labouring women the option of changing water temperature quickly and concentrating a stream of water on a single area of the body. The pressure can ease discomfort and the sound of the water can be a welcome point of focus during contractions.

  • Transcutaneous Electric Nerve Stimulation (TENS) machine - This hand-held device produces an electric current to stimulate nerves that suppress pain signals in the brain. The electricity passes through four electrodes attached with adhesive to a labouring woman’s back, producing a strong but comfortable tickling or buzzing sensation that may further distract her from the pain of contractions.

  • Nitrous oxide - This colourless gas—known commonly as laughing gas—gives people who inhale it a feeling of euphoria. Widely used as an anaesthetic in dentistry and surgery since the late 1700s, it’s strong enough to relieve moderate labour pain.

  • Birthing stool - This crescent-shaped seat is a traditional tool used in cultures around the world. A labouring woman who squats on the stool opens her pelvis, relieves pressure on her lower back and enables gravity to do some of the work of moving her baby downward. Her position also enables another person to support the woman well from behind and apply pressure to her lower back to lessen labour pain.

  • Suspended sling - A suspended sling counterbalances the weight of a squatting woman, enabling her to assume a low position without taxing her upper body. The position opens her pelvis while helping her to conserve her energy for later stages of labour.

  • Birth ball - A labouring woman can sit on a birth ball to support her pelvis and legs, or lean against it in a kneeling or standing position to support her upper body. In either case, the birth ball gives her latitude to rock her hips and help usher the baby down the birth canal.

  • Floor mats - These soft floor coverings offer a labouring woman a comfortable place to kneel, squat and move between positions at will.

  • Electrical outlets - Labouring women and their loved ones are welcome to plug in laptops, set up music players and charge camera batteries, as desired.

  • Natural lighting - Natural lighting contributes to an atmosphere of tranquility, enhancing a labouring woman’s sense of safety and serenity.

  • Access to outdoor space - Fresh air, freedom of movement and a change of environment can energize labouring women who have become tired or discouraged.

  • Access to a lounge area, family kitchen and children's play space - The Ottawa Birth and Wellness Centre’s family-friendly philosophy and facilities make it easy for women’s loved ones to eat and recharge during the sometimes long hours of labour.