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Birth Locations

Where you choose to give birth is a highly personal decision. The number one thing people are typically concerned about when it comes to choosing the best location for them is safety.

Many believe that the hospital is the safest place to give birth but research shows that outcomes for both parent and child in hospital and at home are actually the same. You can read more about who can have a homebirth here.

Those who live near a birth centre can also add this to their list of options, but unfortunately there are only two in Ontario. You can find out more about the Toronto birth centre here and the Ottawa birth centre here.

Let’s go through the benefits and limitations of all three options together.

Hospital Birth


  • Access to technology if needed for high risk pregnancy

  • Access to epidural and other pain relief if wanted

  • Some find comfort in closeness to technology

  • Access to technology for infant health


  • May feel impersonal

  • Need to leave home during labour

  • Some do not want to have interventions

  • Some believe that proximity to intervention increases their use

  • Hospital policies can be limiting and cause challenges

Home Birth


  • Safe option for low risk pregnancy

  • Comfort of home

  • No need to leave during while in labour

  • Rest in your own bed after birth

  • Lower risk of c-section


  • Must have a care provider that attends homebirth

  • A little more preparation is needed for homebirth (not much)

  • No access to medical technology (if you live near a hospital it may not be an issue)

  • No access to epidural

  • Cost associated with birth pool rentals (if wanted)

Birth Centre Birth


  • Safe option for low risk births

  • Lower risk of c-section

  • Use of existing amenities such as birthing tubs


  • Must have a care provider that attends births in birth centres

  • Must leave home during labour

  • No access to epidural

  • Limited access to birth centres in Ontario


It is important to remember that the benefits and limitations to one person may not be considered as such to another. For example access to interventions can make some people feel safe knowing that they can have that intervention should a problem arise. While for others, having close proximity to interventions makes them uncomfortable knowing they may be used unnecessarily. In respect to birth centre and home births, access to an epidural may not be considered a limitation to those who don’t plan to use one anyway.

When I was pregnant with my second baby my midwife and I discussed a home birth vs hospital birth. She said that when there is a concern that requires a C-section can actually take some time to get the OR set up and ready. The amount of time it would take for me to get from my house to the hospital would be more than enough time for that OR to get set up which gave me great comfort. I ultimately decided to have a hospital birth because I actually didn’t like the house I was living in and knew I wouldn’t feel comfortable giving birth there.

You should definitely talk to your health care provider about your eligibility for a home birth and make an informed choice about your specific situation.

If you have any questions about birth planning please contact

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