In-hospital water birth is the latest patient-centred care initiative at KGH

News / General
By John Pereira

Hospital, midwives and patients worked together to provide new service for mums and babies

When Natalie George recently delivered a healthy eight pound, 10 ounce baby girl via water birth at Kingston General Hospital (KGH), the hospital became one of the few hospitals in Canada – and the first and only academic, tertiary, complex-care centre in Ontario – to provide in-hospital water births.

Traditionally, water births take place in a home setting, under the supervision of a Registered Midwife. Now women will have the option to choose a midwife-assisted water birth within the hospital setting at KGH. The new service, which resulted from a patient request, is the latest patient- and family-centred care initiative at KGH.

“I had some minor complications with my last at-home water birth so being in hospital for this birth was recommended,” says George. “I made it my goal that if I was going to have a hospital birth, that it would be a water birth,” she says. “I asked the hospital about the possibility and soon found out that a protocol was being created to make it happen.”

In preparation for the first water birth at KGH, a mock trial was completed that brought together numerous programs, services and professionals including KGH’s Maternal and Child Health program, Community Midwives of Kingston, as well as infection control, maintenance and healthcare staff at the hospital.

“This is a great example of how KGH teams, and our midwife partners are working together to meet the needs of our patients and families and ensure that they have the best possible experience at our hospital,” says Dr. Shawna Johnston, Obstetrician and Program Medical Director at KGH.

Midwife-assisted, in-hospital water births will be done in one of two delivery rooms that are outfitted with an inflatable tub. This gives the mother the option to move between the tub and the bed. Hospital staff are close by should their assistance be required at any point during the birth.

“It was a pleasure being a part of such a positive, collaborative process and to make the option of labouring and giving birth in water in our hospital a reality”, says Kelli Siegwart, Head Midwife at KGH. “Midwifery has been a part of KGH for 20 years. This development is certainly something to celebrate.”

For George and her family, knowing that everyone came together behind-the-scenes to facilitate her request is exciting. “So many people put so much time and effort into making this happen for our family. It’s great to know that other women will also have this same opportunity,” says George.

Women considering water birth at KGH should contact their midwife who will review eligibility criteria and other considerations. For more information about midwifery care in Kingston, visit: www.kingstonmidwives.ca