New birth centre to be developed in South Winnipeg

New centre for out-of-hospital births to provide important choice for women, families: Oswald

New birth centre to be developed in South Winnipeg

Winnipeg Health Region
Published Thursday January 21, 2010

The province will invest more than $3.5 million in upfront capital costs to develop a birth centre in south Winnipeg at the junction of St. Mary's Road and St. Anne's Road, Health Minister Theresa Oswald announced today.

"We are focusing on the needs and interests of women and their families as we usher in a new era of maternal health care in Manitoba," said Oswald. "This new centre will provide Winnipeg women and their families with seamless access to a full range of services throughout pregnancy, childbirth, postpartum and early parenting."

The free-standing birth centre will complement hospital-based birthing services at St. Boniface and Women's hospitals, and provide an important environment to support natural childbirth outside of a hospital or the home.

Lori Lamont, Winnipeg Regional Health Authority vice-president and chief nursing officer, said the new centre will be located on the grounds of the old TV station at the corner of St. Mary's and St. Anne's roads. "This centre will offer women the option of giving birth outside a hospital in a safe, home-like environment," Lamont said.

The centre will include a primary-care clinic, four birthing rooms and education, counselling and administrative areas, and will be able to handle up to 500 births a year.

A range of health services for women and children is planned for the centre including:

  • birth services;
  • primary prenatal, postpartum and newborn care;
  • parenting support and education; and
  • breastfeeding support and education.

The centre will provide out-of-hospital birth care, while the centre's location will support quick access to hospital care if necessary.

The Women's Health Clinic will operate the new facility through an agreement with the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority.

"Women's Health Clinic is thrilled to be part of the development of the first Manitoba birth centre," said Joan Dawkins, executive director of the clinic. "This announcement brings to fruition more than 20 years of hard work and persistence on the part of community women who have long advanced a vision of maternity services that provides women and their families with this important option."

The birth centre will also serve as a hub for the region's midwifery program and support midwifery education in Manitoba. Construction is expected to be complete by spring 2011.

"It's important for women and their children to have the care they need and want at this very important time in their lives," said Oswald. "We will continue to support Manitoba women and their families by providing a wide range of birthing options as well as prenatal and post-birth care."

The minister also noted the new centre builds on other investments in child and maternal health services since 1999 including:

  • constructing a new, state-of-the-art Women's Hospital at Health Sciences Centre Winnipeg;
  • investing more than $28 million in midwifery services including more midwifery positions and establishing a university degree program in midwifery delivered by the University College of the North;
  • providing more than $1 million to implement 13 key recommendations from the Maternal and Child Health Services (MACHS) Task Force to strengthen maternal and child-health services;
  • expanding and redeveloping the maternity ward at St. Boniface General Hospital and the birthing areas at the Ste. Anne and Bethesda hospitals;
  • implementing 13 recommendations from the MACHS Task Force to enhance maternal and child health-care services; and
  • introducing the Healthy Baby Prenatal Benefit, a program which provides financial assistance for healthy nutrition during pregnancy.

Birth Centres

  • Free-standing birth centres support pregnancy, birth and infant health care including breast feeding. They offer another choice for women and their families who do not want a hospital birth and are common in Great Britain and Quebec.
  • Birth centres in other places have proven to be safe for women with straightforward pregnancies. Clients and staff have higher rates of satisfaction, lower rates of intervention and higher rates of breast feeding.
  • A straightforward birth is for women who are well and are anticipating a natural birth without medication or intervention. The birth centre will not offer epidurals or other drugs.
  • The birth centre expects to support up to 500 births per year. Any woman who is a client of a midwife working in the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority and is likely to have a straightforward labour will be able to give birth at the birth centre.
  • Other programs, like prenatal education, counselling, newborn infant drop-in, breast-feeding support and parenting groups will be available to all women in the community.
  • The birth centre will also be a place for midwives and their colleagues in other disciplines to work and learn together, to share their skills and knowledge, and develop understanding. Students and new health-care providers will have access to the support and guidance of experienced practitioners.

Source: Manitoba Health

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