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It’s a Girl!

February 24, 2014

The Toronto Birth Centre, the first new midwife-led birth centre in the city, welcomed its first baby - Alexandria - on Jan. 3 at 10:05 pm.

“It was a dream come true for us,” said Jacky Tuinstra Harrison, mother of Alexandria. “From the moment we entered the facility we were welcomed by staff and felt blessed and fortunate to be able to experience the birth of our child in a way that personally suited our needs.”

The centre, established in Toronto’s Regent Park community, is a partnership between Women’s College Hospital (WCH) and Seventh Generation Midwives. Funded by the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care, the centre allows women with low-risk pregnancies to give birth in a non-hospital community setting. 

“We are so thrilled to welcome our first baby in this revolutionary new space,” said Sara Wolfe, registered midwife and co-lead of the Toronto Birth Centre. “The centre will give more women access to safe, cost-effective birthing care in the community, out of busy hospitals, and with the care and assistance of a registered midwife.”

The centre, one of two new midwife-led centres in Ontario, offers culturally integrated care and supports the practice of Aboriginal midwifery both culturally and professionally. It provides a comfortable, home-like space and is equipped with queen-sized beds, a birthing tub and a waiting area for families. It is expected to help with as many as 450 births each year.

The province hopes the new birth centres will help reduce the number of medical interventions such as epidurals, while freeing up a higher number of beds and specialized obstetrical equipment in hospitals for high risk births.

“The birth of this first healthy baby supports the concept of healthy pregnancies and births not needing to be managed in hospital settings,” said Jennifer Dockery, director of primary care and health equity, WCH.

The Toronto Birth Centre is one of two locations in this provincial pilot project with the second location in Ottawa.

Mothers and their babies can expect to receive care from the prenatal period to six weeks after birth. Additional services such as prenatal classes and assistance with breastfeeding and parenting will also be available.

“This is truly a remarkable partnership,” said Marilyn Emery, president and CEO, WCH. “In the long term we hope that the centre will also serve as an education facility where learners from many disciplines in the health system can be trained in low-risk birthing.”

All smiles as the Harrisons welcome baby Alexandria to their family. From left to right: Jacky Tuinstra Harrison, Alexandria Joy Tuinstra Harrison, Rees Harrison and Eve Harrison.


Baby moccasins
Baby moccasins given to newborn Alexandria by the Toronto Birth Centre staff.
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