Birth and Postnatal Care

What to expect when the time comes to give birth and looking after the newborn infant in Canada...

It is normal for women in Canada to give birth in a hospital. In most provinces there is the option for a home birth and occasionally, depending on the locality, in stand-alone birth centres. Water births may be available at home but are not readily used. Discuss options with the family doctor or obstetrician. Pain relief including epidurals are readily available in labour wards across Canada. Hospitals traditionally had separate rooms for labour, birth, recovery and post partum care but, increasingly these separate rooms have been combined to make room for LBRs (Labour, Birth, Recovery rooms).

Doulas (birthing partners) are used privately by women in Canada to assist childbirth and are becoming increasingly common.

  • For more information on doulas, see the Childbirth and Postpartum Professional Association website: Click here

Postnatal Care

Mothers and babies are closely monitored after birth. Typically, new mothers stay in hospital for one to two days after a normal delivery and two to three days (sometimes longer) after a Caesarean. Recommendations for length of stay after delivery vary from hospital to hospital. Breastfeeding is encouraged and there is generally a lot of support available to assist new mothers with this.

La Leche League Canada offers breastfeeding support to new mothers and operates more than 200 groups across the country.

It is usual for mother and baby to have a post-natal check, six weeks after the birth.

Infant health is closely monitored during the first year of a baby's life through the national perinatal tracking and reporting programme.