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The Ottawa Hospital (TOH) has Obstetric Units at 2 of its 3 campuses: the Civic and the General.   About 7,000 babies are born each year at TOH, with almost an even split between campuses.   It is the only hospital in the Champlain LHIN that delivers tertiary care obstetrics, so serves as the referral base for most of Eastern Ontario.

At both the Civic and the General campuses, all Anesthesiologists are quite versed in providing high quality obstetrical anesthesia care.  Therefore we are able to offer 24 hour a day, 7 days a week coverage on our Birthing Units.  Our services are provided in a team approach with the obstetricians, family physicians, midwives and nurses, and include epidurals for labour, anesthetics for caesarean delivery, post-partum pain management, and consultation for advice and management of medically complex pregnant women.  In addition though, both sites have developed subspecialty groups of Obstetrical Anesthesiologists so that up-to-date changes occur with the times not only in the delivery of patient care, but also in education/maintenance of skills of our residents, fellows, and nursing colleagues.

Because we provide care for “normal” pregnant women as well as those who are considered “high risk” (medical issue in either the mother or the baby), our “numbers” for the services we provide are on the higher side.  Approximately 65-70% of our pregnant ladies will have an epidural when labouring; at TOH only about 5% of women deliver their babies without any medication of some sort.  Our caesarean section rate is approximately 30%, and about half of these are planned cesareans, which are done under spinal anesthetics.  For example, during a typical week we do 3-4 elective cesareans, approximately 2 urgent cesareans, and about 7-9 epidurals in a day.  Other cases we may be involved in on our Birthing Units include cervical cerclage insertion (spinal anesthetic usually), a D & C for women who miscarry early on in their pregnancy, a manual placenta removal (if it doesn’t come out on its own after the baby is born), and epidural blood patches when needed.

Our Anesthesia Department provides consultations for those women who need it, in conjunction with the High Risk Obstetrical units.  Any Family Physician, Midwife, or Obstetrician who practices obstetrics at TOH can ask for an Anesthesia consult – the patient does not necessarily have to be “high risk”.  Some women have several questions about how we can help them with the pain of labour, or have had a previous bad experience in labour, and this is reason enough to ask for a referral.   Other women have quite extensive medical histories and need our close involvement with the rest of the obstetrical team in order to keep both mom and baby safe during delivery – we do a lot a planning as a team for these cases.

Several patient handouts/booklets have been developed by our OB Anesthesia team.  These include:

All of these handouts are available either on this website, or from your primary health-care provider.