Midwives can attend deliveries in the following 3 birth settings:
- A birth centre
- The mother’s home
- A hospital centre
The future mother can choose where she would like to give birth. The midwife gives her a consent form so that she can make an informed choice. This document explains the advantages and disadvantages of each birth setting.
Service pathways ensure mother and baby receive appropriate care. Midwifery services are required to have an agreement with one or more hospital centres where the future mother may be transferred in the event of an emergency. Such agreements exist for all settings where midwives may attend deliveries.
Pregnant women can receive the full range of midwifery services and give birth in a birth centre if there is one in their territory. A birth centre provides a large, home-like setting where women can receive all the services they need to have a safe and comfortable birth. The birth centre environment is suitable for families and children. Services are also organized to facilitate transfer to a hospital centre in the event of an emergency.
A woman can choose to have a home birth provided that she can do so safely. The midwife will determine whether or not the woman can give birth at home.
If a woman wants to have a home birth, the midwife visits the future mother’s home before the 36th week of pregnancy. During this visit, the midwife determines whether a safe home birth is possible. For example, she checks whether or not the home can be reached by ambulance and if it is within a reasonable distance of a hospital centre.
During a home birth, the midwife brings all the equipment and medication she might need. She also makes arrangements with the nearest hospital centre so that the future mother can be transferred there if necessary.
A regulation governs home deliveries . The midwife refers to this regulation to determine whether or not a woman may have a home birth.
A midwife can also provide care to a woman who wishes to give birth in a hospital centre. In this case, the mother is assigned a room in the obstetrics department without being admitted to hospital, strictly speaking. The medical team is not involved unless complications arise. The midwife attends the woman during her delivery and until 3 hours after birth. Mother and baby can return home when their health allows. The mother may also choose to stay in hospital, in which case she is admitted.