This happens when a woman gives birth in a correctly sized bath filled with water heated to 37°C. Water births rarely happen in hospitals, but are mostly available at birthing centres. This technique requires some preparation starting from the fifth month of a pregnancy. However, there are no available statistics for this type of delivery.
Advantages of water birth
- In water, the cervix dilates more easily and the pain is less severe
- Giving birth takes less time
- Lower risk of medical intervention
- Less risk of episiotomy
- No epidural
- Risk of tearing significantly reduced
- The father can be more involved in both pregnancy and childbirth
- Easier recovery for the mother
- Softer birth for the baby
However, in the event of illness (to kidneys, lungs, heart, blood, etc. or an STD) or problems with the baby (position, prematurity, etc.), this method isn’t recommended.
Since April 4, 2005, midwives are covered by liability insurance, protecting them in the event of any complications, thereby allowing them to deliver babies at home.
In Quebec, the Centres de santé et des services sociaux (CSSS) offers midwife services free of charge to anyone with valid health insurance in Quebec. Birthing centres are responsible for reaching agreements that would allow home delivery. For more information, consult the Canadian Association of Midwives.
Close to 150 women in Quebec give birth at home every year. It allows them to stay in a familiar environment, close to loved ones, while experiencing less stress and a lower risk of infection than in a hospital.
Doulas* can also share their experience and support future parents. Though, unlike midwives, they are not authorized to perform any medical acts.
Checklist for a safe home birth
- Zero complications during pregnancy
- An active phone line
- Less than a 30-minute trip to the nearest hospital
- Access to an ambulance service
*Doulas usually work in private practices and bill anywhere from $250 to $800 for their services.
Birthing centre deliveries
Close to 600 childbirths take place in Quebec’s birthing centres, which offer a complete follow-up with the expectant mother. Contact your local CSSS for more information.
Advantages of birthing centre deliveries
- Pregnant women go in for their monthly visits, give birth there and return home with their baby
- Provides a quiet environment specifically designed for natural birth
- Family-first mentality is a major emphasis
- Less stress and lower risk of medical intervention
There are other approaches out there that are less common. If you’ve checked “none of the above” in your mind thus far, consider using a birth ball, the Bonapace method or even hypnosis.