Skip to main content

Obstetrics

Back to Areas of Care
We help over 850 families welcome newborns each year!

HHCC’s obstetrical services include labour, birth, postpartum (after the baby is born) and collaboration with community resources when you go home.
COVID-19 Update
**
We are cancelling all tours of our Obstetric Department until further notice.
**We are pleased to offer free Telephone and Virtual Breastfeeding Consultation to families delivering at Headwaters Health Care Centre. Consultations will be held on Tuesdays and Thursdays. To book an appointment please contact our Obstetrical Department at  519.941.2410 x2236.

In active labour 
Please call the Obstetrics Unit if you think you are in labour or if you have other concerns described below.

Every time you come to the Obstetrics Unit, please stop at switchboard to register.  If you feel you cannot stop at switchboard, go directly to the Obstetrics Unit on the lower level. Take the elevator near the Emergency Department to the lower level and follow the signs to the Obstetrics Unit (Turner/D-Wing).

You should call the labour and delivery unit: 
  • If your contractions are regular or uncomfortable
  • If you think your water is broken (this may be a lot of fluid or a small trickle)
  • If you have severe abdominal pain
  • If you have vaginal bleeding
  • If you have a severe headache or sudden nausea and or vomiting 
  • If there is a change in how often your baby is moving
  • If you have any other concerns about yourself or your baby
  • Please call before coming to the hospital so we can be ready for you
When you arrive at the hospital please register at Switchboard and take the elevator to the lower level then follow the signs to the Obstetrics Unit (Turner/D-Wing). If you arrive after 10:00PM and before 6:30AM, please use the Emergency Entrance and register at Switchboard.

Planning your birth 
Our team wants to help you give birth to your baby in an environment that promotes your choice of birthing experience.  This includes a discussion of birth plans, infant feeding choices and the presence and support persons from the start of labour to the birth of your new baby.

In addition to you, our team members includes: 
  • Obstetrical Nurses
  • Obstetricians
  • Family Doctors
  • Midwives
  • Anaesthetists
  • Paediatricians
  • Respiratory Therapists
  • Pharmacists
  • Laboratory staff
  • Public Health staff
  • Lactation Consultant
  • Spiritual Care supports
If you are having a low-risk birth and are planning a family centered birthing experience, HHCC has seven LDRP (Labour Delivery Recovery Post-Partum) rooms available for your comfort. This is where you will labour, deliver, recover and "room-in" with your baby after he or she is born. Every effort will be made to allow you to stay in the same room after delivery. Private and Ward room accommodations are available.

Birth partners are welcome to attend most births. All LDRP rooms have a chair that turns into a bed for partners who wish to stay the night. You may have your Doula present at your birth to provide emotional and physical, non-clinical support, for you and your partner as well. 

During your stay, family and friends are welcome to visit at any time but remember to take the time to rest.

Obstetrics department tours
Information about having your baby at HHCC and a tour of the unit are scheduled the 2nd and 4th Monday of each month at noon (excluding holidays).  You do not need to pre-book this tour. Please arrive 10 minutes before the tour starts. 

The tour will begin on Obstetrics (Maternity) in the lounge/kitchen just inside the doors to the unit. You may wish to bring a partner or support person with you. Since we will be walking on the unit and the space is limited, we ask that you bring only one other person with you. 

 

Online Prenatal & New Parent Program  
An online Prenatal & New Parent Program is offered by the Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health Unit.

This FREE  web-based and mobile-friendly program is offered to individuals and families who are pregnant and living in Wellington County, Dufferin County or the City of Guelph.

Access the Online Prenatal & New Parent Program

Diabetic Education
Diabetic Education is offered to meet the needs of a diabetic or gestational diabetic mother. It involves teaching about diet and insulin requirements needed for a healthy mom and baby. 

Access our Diabetes Care Program

Non-Stress Test Assessments
During your pregnancy your doctor may recommend that you come to the hospital for a Non-Stress Test (NST). This is a non-invasive Fetal Heart Tracing that provides your caregiver with information about your baby’s wellbeing. Call your doctor if at any time you experience a decrease in fetal movement. If your doctor cannot be reached call the HHCC Obstetrics Department.
 
Ontario Newborn Screening 
Newborn screening is a test done shortly after your baby is born to test for treatable diseases that usually show no symptoms in the newborn period.
 
Using a heel-prick, a small amount of blood is collected from all babies about 24 hours after birth. In Ontario, this blood is sent to Newborn Screening Ontario (NSO) in Ottawa where it is tested for 29 diseases. With these diseases, early diagnosis is the key to effective treatment.

Your baby will also be screened for critical congenital heart disease, or CCHD. This is a quick and painless test called pulse oximetry that measures the level of oxygen in a baby’s blood. This test is done at the bedside and results are available right away.

During the newborn screening blood test, there are ways you can help ease your baby’s pain. Talk to your nurse or lab tech about using these treatments during blood tests and other painful procedures. Access Ontario Newborn Screening information.

Newborn Hearing Screening
Hearing screening identifies infants at risk for hearing loss as early as possible. The technology used for the hearing screening is completely safe and reliable.  At Headwaters, we will screen your baby’s hearing prior to discharge if we have a certified screener on site.  Sometimes your baby will not pass the screen because he or she is so young that there maybe fluid in the ears.  This is called a “Refer” test.  If you receive a refer, or there is no screener available, you will be given information to have your baby tested in the community.

Newborn Health Card
After the baby is born, you will be issued a temporary Newborn Health Card so that you are able to receive care until your baby's permanent Ontario Health Card arrives. To obtain this card, you or your partner can go the switchboard after birth and sometime before discharge.
 
Public Health Resources  
Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health (WDGPH) provides a variety of services for pregnant women and their families. One of the services offered by WDGPH is Let's Talk Parenting, where individuals can call to speak with a public health nurse about pregnancy, parenting, and local services.

If you live outside of Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph, please contact the Public Health Unit in your area to see what services are offered.

Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph: 1-800-265-7293 x3616 
Peel Region: (905) 791.7800 or 1-888-919-7800
Grey-Bruce County: (519) 376.9420 or 1-800-263-3456
Simcoe-Muskoka County: (705) 721.7520

Breastfeeding Support
Breastfeeding takes practice. You may need some extra help to get your baby to latch properly, or you may have questions. Here are some places you can go for support:

Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health office 
Location: 180 Broadway, Orangeville
You don’t need an appointment - drop in Tuesdays and Thursdays from 1:00-3:30PM

Breastfeeding clinic
Location: Mel Lloyd Centre, 167 Centre Street, Shelburne - lower level in the Ontario Early Years Meeting Room
By appointment only. To make an appointment call Let’s Talk Parenting at 1.800.265.7293 x3616 (Monday – Friday 9:00am – 4:00pm)

Best Start by Health Nexus recently released a Formula Preparation Video designed to assist families with the safe preparation of infant formula. Watch the video.

Access our Prenatal Infant Feeding Plan
 


You asked – we answered 

Here are the answers to some of the most commonly asked questions we receive about our Obstetric Services from patients, families and caregivers in our community.
  • I am giving birth during the COVID-19 pandemic, how many visitors can I have?
    We allow one essential visitor for a woman giving birth. This support person will be screened before entering the hospital and should they fail the screening, they will not be permitted to enter.
  • Is the support person allowed to go home after the birth and then re-enter the hospital again later?

    No, patients and their support person should plan to stay in the room until discharged. This may include packing food (most rooms have a fridge and you can pack a small cooler) and other items needed.
     

  • What processes are in place to safeguard obstetrics patients from potential exposure to COVID-19
    All staff inside the hospital are wearing a mask.  Everyone coming into the hospital is screened at the entrances. Patients and their support persons should plan to remain in their rooms, so they are not near other patients and visitors.  Support people who have travelled, have been in contact with COVID-19, or present symptoms, will not be permitted to enter the hospital.
     
  • If I think I might have COVID-19/have tested positive for COVID-19, can I still give birth at HHCC?

    Yes, if a patient is COVID-19 probable or confirmed, they can still give birth at our hospital. However, staff will take extra precautions to limit the risk of exposure to the virus. We still encourage breastfeeding, skin-to-skin care and for the baby to stay in room. In this case, the patient will be encouraged to practice strict hand hygiene and will be provided with the appropriate Personal Protective Equipment when caring for the baby.
     

  • Is an epidural recommended for obstetrics patients who are presumed and/or positive for COVID-19?

    Yes, based on current evidence we are encouraging early epidural to all obstetrics patients in the event they are asymptomatic shedders of COVID-19. Early epidural reduces the likelihood an emergency c-section which requires the patient to be intubated. Intubation of a COVID-19 patient increases risk of infection for staff and requires a considerable amount of PPE.
     

     

  • Are there changes in the postpartum follow-up provided by community providers due to COVID-19?

    Many physicians are seeing babies 2-3 days after discharge, but some may be doing over-the-phone assessments.  We encourage expecting mothers to contact their physician prior to admission to avoid the stress of navigating this at the last minute. In addition, postpartum programs and services offered in the community may not be running.
     

     

  • Once I am discharged, can I have visitors come to my home to see the baby?
    We suggest that families plan to have NO visitors in the home after birth, including immediately family, unless they live there. If someone is coming to provide support, we suggest that person be designated well in advance and that they stay home for two weeks prior to the birth to reduce risk of coming in contact with COVID-19.
     
  • If I have an appointment on the Maternity floor or another department, can my support person come?
    A support person can only be with you when you are admitted to the hospital to have your baby.
     
  • What should I bring with me?: For Mom
    • Personal toiletries (scent free)
    • Sanitary Pads (approx. 2 dozen) 
    • Old underwear (briefs) 
    • Own pillow(s) with colored case
    • Oil or Lotion for massage 
    • Sleepwear, housecoat & non-skid slippers 
    • Clothing to wear home
    • Personal entertainment devices (laptop, Bluetooth speaker, tablet etc
    • Camera 
    • Birthing ball (if desired) 
    • Change for vending machine
  • What should I bring with me?: For Support Person
    • Food and drinks 
    • Change of clothes
    • Sleepwear 
  • What should I bring with me?: For Baby
    • Food and drinks 
    • Change of clothes
    • Sleepwear 
  • When should I contact my doctor or Labour and Delivery triage?
    Do not hesitate to contact your doctor or the hospital's Labour and Delivery triage if: 
    • If your contractions are regular or uncomfortable
    • If you think your water is broken (this may be a lot of fluid or a small trickle)
    • If you have severe abdominal pain
    • If you have vaginal bleeding
    • If you have a severe headache or sudden nausea and or vomiting 
    • If there is a change in how often your baby is moving
    • If you have any other concerns about yourself or your baby
    • Please call before coming to the hospital so we can be ready for you
  • Where do I go if I need to come to the hospital?
    If you are in active labour, please go directly to the Labour and Delivery Unit. Enter the hospital through the emergency entrance and register at Switchboard if you are able, take the elevator to the lower level and follow the signs. 

    If you arrive at the hospital after 10:00pm or before 6:30am, use the Emergency Department entrance and register at Switchboard. 
  • What can I expect while I'm in labour? What do I need to bring to the hospital?
    Each person's labour is individual, therefore we encourage you to consider the following:
    • Bring personal items to make your labour more comfortable i.e., a pillow, music, personal scent-free hygiene items, etc.
    • Water therapies including showers and a Jacuzzi are available for pain relief
    • Natural methods, pain medications, nitrous oxide and continuous epidural services are available
    • A nurse will be with you one-on-one during the "active phase" of your labour through to the birth of your baby A support person/s of your choice i.e., friend or relative, is recommended throughout your labour and post birth stay
    • At headwaters we deliver babies after 35 weeks if mom and baby are stable.   We care for low risk births with some manageable and stable risk factors such as diabetes and mild to moderate hypertension.  If you have or develop a high risk pregnancy, you will be referred to a hospital that includes more specialties in their team to care for you and your baby
  • What happens once I have had my baby?
    Headwaters Labour and Delivery Rooms are comfortable family birthing rooms where mothers labour, deliver, recover and "room in" together with their baby/s during their post-partum care. Patients staying in semi-private or ward accommodation, are transferred to their room approximately one hour after delivery where the family centred philosophy continues and mother and baby "room in" together. Physical assessments from the healthcare team are done at prescribed intervals for mother and baby, and on-going health teaching continues
  • What type of room will I have?
    We will make every effort to provide the room according to your insurance coverage. You may upgrade if you wish to pay the difference in cost, and we have that type of room available. Please keep in mind that at any time, your preferred accommodation may not be available due to clinical needs on the unit.
  • How do I register my baby?
    An information package including birth registration, tax credit forms and lists of community resources offered in Dufferin will be given to the family on their admission. Information is also included regarding hospital security, visiting, breastfeeding information and information on what to expect during the next few days, as a new family.

    Please note: Your baby must use the same last name as appears on the mother's health card while in hospital.
     
  • When can I start breastfeeding my baby?
    Breastfeeding will be initiated in Labour and Delivery shortly after your baby is born. The nurse will offer instruction and guidance, encouraging good position and proper latch. The process is reinforced, during your post-partum stay. The breastfeeding facilitator is available to visit any mother who is having difficulty nursing her baby. Mothers who wish to bottle-feed their babies are asked to provide their own. If they do not have infant formula it will be supplied in disposable bottles. Manual breast pumps are available for purchase or you may rent an electric breast pump.
  • When does my baby receive his/her first bath?
    The nurse will demonstrate the initial bath of the newborn to the new parents. This usually occurs eight (8) hours after delivery, once the baby's temperature has stabilized. Your nurse will teach you about other aspects of baby care during your stay. Be sure to ask any questions that you have.
  • What is newborn hearing screening?
    All newborns in Ontario are screened within the first few days or weeks after birth for hearing problems. You may need to go to a clinic for follow-up testing to confirm the results of your baby's first test.  
  • What does the nurse do?
    The nurses' role of teacher and advocate is ongoing as the new parents get acquainted with their new baby and become confident in baby care and self-care. Families are encouraged to work closely with nursing staff to identify their learning needs for an effective plan to be formed onsite, as well as community resources. As we are a multi-cultural community, cultural differences are considered and respected. We focus on your care first and balancing your medical requirements with your need for family support and comfort.
     
  • When are visiting hours?
    Headwaters does not have restricted visiting hours, so you can have visitors at any time. A sleeper chair is provided in the LDRP rooms for overnight visitors. Remember, the new mother needs rest so choose visitors carefully.
  • How long do I stay in the hospital?
    The length of stay is usually 24 hours for an uncomplicated vaginal birth and 48 hour stay for the normal caesarean birth. Patients with medical problems may stay longer than this.

    Headwaters promotes 24 hour rooming with baby, unless there is an issue with Mom or Baby. You will need help during the first 24 hours to assist you with baby and your own personal care. A sleeper chair is provided for parent, a family member, or friend to stay.
  • What programs are available for me when we go home?
    Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health   
    If you’re looking for reassurance or help to make sure your baby is feeding well and getting enough milk, you’ve come to the right place. Our public health nurses are available by phone and in person – and our services are free!

    Healthy Babies Healthy Children (HBHC)
    HBHC is a parenting support program for:  Pregnant women Parents with young children (who aren’t in school yet). It’s free, and we come to your home! To find out more, call Let’s Talk Parenting at 1.800.265.7293 x3616.

    Let’s Talk Parenting 
    Speak to a public health nurse about pregnancy, breastfeeding, parenting or child health. Our pregnancy and parent help telephone line.

    Dufferin County EarlyON and Family Centres