The approach I took was to use a midwife and doula at home using the Hypnobirthing technique. That worked for me and was fantastic, but there are other options, in Ontario you have the option of having either an obstetrician or a midwife attend your birth because a midwife basically replaces the obstetrician and in Ontario both are covered by OHIP. That said, you can only have one or the other. Midwives can work either at home or in the hospital yet obstetricians generally work only at the hospital. Apparently there are some family doctors who deliver babies and will agree to home births, but I suspect they are few and far between. Like the obstetrician the midwife gets involved in the birth once the mother is in active labour which is classified by 4-1-1, contractions are 4 minutes apart, a minute in duration and that has been going on consistently for an hour.
I mentioned that I used a midwife and doula and you may be wondering what the difference is... as I said before the midwife is the attending care giver at the birth, the person who assists in the delivery of the baby. Doulas can fulfill a couple of roles: a birth doula is like a birth coach, they can show up much earlier in the labour process if desired by the mother, they can also stay later to make sure all the needs of the mother and child are met. A post partum doula can come to the mother’s home for days or weeks after the birth to provide support which could be housework, dog walking whatever is needed. The cost of the doula is not covered by OHIP or benefits, but is not terribly expensive in my opinion and totally worth it. I found it very helpful to have both a doula and a midwife. Midwives and doulas can assist in home births or hospital births. And you can change your mind at any time when you are working with a midwife. They told me that I could literally be in labour and want to go to the hospital and off we would go. Midwives monitor both the mother’s progress and the baby’s very closely and are required to transfer to the hospital if the status of either changes i.e. the baby’s heart rate decreases because it is in distress. In my opinion working with a midwife provides more personalized care which was great for me and they come to your home for follow up visits which I loved!
The decision was easy for me as I had already decided to have a home birth so a midwife was the way to go. The best thing to do for pregnant mamas is to educate yourself as to your options and choose the best fit that will work for you. Just be sure to decide as early as possible... both midwives and obstetricians can be booked up far in advance so make sure this is one of your earliest decisions and line up the caregiver you prefer right off the bat.
Giving birth is an incredibly empowering time in a woman’s life and while before you’re in it it seems like it would be the most vulnerable moment of your life. When you’re in the moment you find a strength from within that gets you through. Whatever option you choose... you can do it!