New birthing unit with midwives is first on the continent, Markham Stouffville Hospital says
Specialized rooms have extra options, including birthing pool, special chair for women in labour
Markham Stouffville Hospital is touting a new unit that gives women the comforts of a home birth, complete with midwives on staff but also quick access to doctors if there are complications, as the first of its kind on the continent.
She delivered all three of her sons at the hospital, located at 381 Church St. in Markham, using the help of both a midwife and an obstetrician, and acted as a consultant on the AMU project.
"I just think all of it is so designed to help women and their families feel really supported through their labour and delivery."
The unit has six rooms and is expected to deliver its first baby around the second week of July.
"It's innovative, it's different and somebody's got to be first," said lead midwife Tiffany Haidon, noting it isn't only a first for Canada, but all of North America.
She said it's the result of obstetricians and midwives working together.
Carol Cameron, executive director of the new facility, said the idea for the AMU was first born more than a decade ago to give an extra option for women with pregnancies considered low-risk who want to use a midwife but not have a home birth.
She said the unit will be staffed by hospital midwives 24 hours a day, with women in labour bringing in their own personal midwife.
Cameron said women will no longer have to choose between using a midwife and using drugs to assist during delivery.
"[A woman] can come here and have a very unmedicated, natural birth on a birthing stool, or she can come here and say, 'You know what, I want to have an epidural,'" Cameron said, explaining that in both scenarios the woman can stay in the specialized unit, which resembles a home more than a hospital.
"I think that's one of the game changers."