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A mother holds up her smiling infant
Dalya Ahmadi gave birth to her son Mohammad in Hamilton Health Sciences’ new Midwifery Care Unit, located at our McMaster University Medical Centre. Our Midwifery Care Unit is one of the first of its kind in Canada.
February 27, 2023

Hamilton parents have access to a new Midwifery Care Unit

HAMILTON – Hamilton Health Sciences (HHS) recently welcomed a new addition to the family – a Midwifery Care Unit (MCU) at the McMaster University Medical Centre. While still in the early stages of development, the four-room MCU opened last spring, down the hall from labour and delivery, and is one of the first of its kind in Canada. The only other hospital-based midwifery-led unit is at Oak Valley Health’s Markham-Stouffville Hospital.

“Its services are for community midwifery clients whose births are considered low risk because complications are unlikely,” says Lisa Sabatino, interim deputy chief of midwifery in the HHS obstetrics and gynecology department. “HHS patients who don’t use a community midwife, or whose pregnancies are considered high risk, are cared for by an obstetrician and give birth on the labour and delivery unit.”

Hamilton’s MCU includes three birthing rooms and a recovery room where clients can stay for post-partum care after delivering their babies. The MCU is ideal for people who want to give birth in hospital, but in a more home-like setting with their community midwife.

HHS employs six hospital-based midwives, whose roles include coordinating care on the MCU. They also support hospital patients who might not otherwise have access to a midwife in the community.

Registered midwives deliver babies in the hospital or home, depending on the clients’ preferences and needs. There are four midwifery practices in Hamilton, and these midwives attend approximately 800 births each year, with over 90 percent in hospital. Two of the four practices, Access Midwives and Community Midwives of Hamilton, do the most midwifery-led births at HHS.

As well as delivering babies, community midwives are the clients’ primary care providers for prenatal care including check-ups, ordering ultrasounds and bloodwork, and for six weeks after the birth.

“It’s wonderful for local midwives to have a dedicated space in hospital that’s midwifery-led,” says Genevieve Romanek, a registered midwife with Access Midwives. “Our clients are quite excited about the MCU, and if they do have complications, the labour and delivery unit and obstetrical care are quickly accessed down the hallway.”

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