Finding a homey hospital

When your pregnancy test is positive, finding a doctor or a midwife that will be available for your follow-up is your first challenge. It is not an easy task!

We often take time to choose a doctor we like and we will give birth in the hospital where they are affiliated but why don’t we choose the other way around? Why don’t we choose a hospital where we would like to give birth and then choose a doctor there?

Few couples take the opposite path, i.e. choosing their place of birth before their caregiver but it is important to consider that you and your partner must feel comfortable and safe in this place where you will decide to give birth. It’s not always easy because some hospitals are very cold while others feel like a nice hotel room with a queen bed where you can fit the whole family.

During childbirth, women must avoid letting stress and adrenaline dampen their spirits. Instead, every woman should be able to produce endorphins, a natural drug, and the environment where she will give birth will make a big difference. Some environments have tools to help releasing endorphins while others have a more medical feeling. Every woman will find the appropriate place for childbirth, provided that she chooses carefully.

From one hospital to another, the protocols, the tools and the mentalities change. Some are known to be very intrusive while others trust the woman and her body. Some use a lot of tools to help you deliver while others are very limited. You have the right to know the protocols and you also have the right to visit the hospital, maternity and birthing rooms before you decide where you want to give birth.

Here is a short list of questions to ask the medical staff to better guide you in your choice:

  • Is the medical staff ready to work with your birth plan?
  • Who will be at work when you will give birth? Are there any residents or students affiliated with the hospital?
  • How many people can be admitted with you during delivery?
  • Are you allowed to eat and drink during labor?
  • What tools are available to you to ease labor? (Whirlpool, massage chair, birth bench, ball, squat bar, sterile water injections, TENS, acupuncture, Bonapace Method, etc.).
  • Are solute and blood test systematic?
  • What positions are accepted for pushing?
  • Do they encourage the skin-to-skin contact directly after birth?
  • Do they have nursing resources? (Lactation consultant)?
  • Can you walk around during labor?

These are just a few examples of questions you can ask to see if the hospital suits your needs. Also take some time to look around to see if you are comfortable in this environment. If you have a doula, she can help you understand the hospital’s protocols.

For women who wanted to give birth in a birthing home, unfortunately, it is not easy to do so because the waiting list is sometimes very long. If you choose your hospital, you may find one that recreates the atmosphere of a birthing home. Find resources that can help you in your preparation like a doula. Some hospitals also work with midwives.

Don’t forget that childbirth is a very important event in your life. Take your time to choose an environment where you will feel confortable, safe and above all, where you will be able to release endorphins!

Karine Bergeron

Karine Bergeron is a doula who studied nursing and is currently completing additional training in prenatal care. As mother to little Laurence, volunteer for L’entraide maternelle, breastfeeding godmother and prenatal class teacher, it’s with joy that she dispenses her wisdom for Bergeron is passionate about prenatal care and ready to share all her knowledge to help you enjoy life’s greatest gift: becoming parents. To find out more or ask questions, go to and look for her in the “Équipe” section.

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