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Birth Team

The members of the birth team and their roles are similar for each mother and each birth. The following is a general guide to the people who may assist with your home or hospital birth.

Mother and Baby

You and your baby are the most important members of the birth team.

Birth Support Person

A birth support person provides emotional support and helps with relaxation techniques and comfort measures. Some mothers wish to have more than one birth support person. Hospitals may have a limit on the number of personal support people that can attend your labour and delivery.

Doula

A doula is a trained labour support person hired by some mothers to share experiences and knowledge before, during, and after the birth. Doulas charge a fee (not covered by MSP).

Labour Nurse / Registered Nurse

Your labour nurse is assigned to you when you are admitted to the hospital. She or he will provide care throughout your labour by assessing your stage of labour, monitoring your progress, checking your vital signs, and monitoring the baby’s heart. Your labour nurse also assesses your pain and provides comfort measures, which may include position changes, warm blankets, massage, and verbal/emotional support and coaching. The nurse works with your midwife and doctor, and maintains frequent contact, to provide care during your delivery. Depending on hospitals shifts, your labour nurse may change.

Midwife

You will likely call your midwife at the first signs of labour. Generally, your midwife will meet you as soon as necessary at home or at the hospital. Your midwife works with you to manage your labour. She will assess your stage of labour, monitor your progress, check your vital signs, and monitor the baby’s heart. She will also assess your pain and provide comfort measures and verbal/emotional support and coaching. Providing your labour progresses well, your midwife will deliver your baby. At any sign of complication, your midwife will move you to a hospital, if you are not already there. There she will work with a physician or specialist, as your birth requires.

Doctor

You should notify your doctor when your labour has progressed far enough that you are heading to the hospital. When she or he arrives in the labour and delivery unit depends on the individual, the progress of your labour, and any other circumstances. Once at the hospital, he or she will assess your progress and be available if any difficulties arise. You may be seen by resident physicians at the hospital, in additional to your maternity doctor. Your labour nurse will be in frequent contact with your doctor and, when necessary, will ask your doctor to return to the delivery room. Your doctor will consult a specialist to assist with your birth when necessary.

Specialists

At various times during labour and delivery, you may see an obstetrician, an anaesthesiologist, and/or a pediatrician. Your doctor or midwife may consult with an obstetrician about your care if any difficulties arise. If you require a caesarean birth, an obstetrician and a doctor will perform the delivery. An anesthesiologist will administer an epidural, if required for pain relief in labour or for anesthetic for a caesarean. Your doctor or midwife may consult with a pediatrician if your baby needs special care.