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An obstetrician is a specialized doctor who looks after you during your pregnancy, labour and birth. There is always an obstetrician in the hospital. Obstetricians take turns being on-call (available) to assist with birthing babies. They also deal with any obstetrical emergencies.

Because obstetricians take turns being on-call, it is possible that your doctor may not be there for your baby’s birth. We cannot guarantee the gender, race or religion of the doctors or nurses who will take care of you during your labour, birth and hospital stay. If you don’t know the doctor who is with you for your labour and birth, tell her/him about any special conditions you and your doctor agreed upon.

The Ottawa Hospital has an active group of Family Physicians who provide obstetrical care. They work at both the General and Civic Campuses and have various practice settings and call group arrangements. Their offices are clinic-based (not in the hospital) and are throughout Ottawa. Personalized pre-and postnatal care is provided in their community clinics. They provide care for you and your baby during labour, as well as during the immediate postpartum period, at the hospital. Many of these doctors also run the Monarch Centre, an innovative multidisciplinary maternal and newborn clinic providing postpartum follow-up after hospital discharge.

As family physicians, they do not see pregnancy as an illness, but as a natural stage of life. Family physicians can provide you with breastfeeding education before and after your delivery. They are experts in normal pregnancy and delivery care; they also have the medical knowledge and skills to identify and address any potential complications in a timely manner. Find them at the Ottawa Docs Deliver website.

Education and Research

“A resident is a medical doctor who is training to become a specialist in a certain area of medicine. A resident in obstetrics, family medicine, paediatrics, anaesthesia or other types of medicine may help take care of you and your baby.”

Family Physicians

Some Family Physicians give obstetrical care and may have on-call arrangements with the hospital to deliver babies. They have special training in obstetrics. Some Family Physicians will transfer you to an obstetrician or midwife for your obstetrical care and delivery and resume carrying for you after the birth. Please talk to your Family Physician about the services she/he offers.


Midwives are specialists in normal childbirth. They provide 24-hour care from early in your pregnancy, through labour, birth and for the first 6 weeks after birth. Midwives are members of the health-care team at The Ottawa Hospital.

If you want to have your baby at the hospital, your midwife will take care of you unless you begin to have problems. Your midwife will consult the on-call obstetrician if necessary. If there is any concern about you and your baby, the obstetrician and the birthing unit nurses may take over your care. Your midwife will stay with you and support you.

Talk to your midwife about how and where you want to have your baby.


An anesthesiologist is a doctor who specializes in pain relief. There is always an anesthesiologist in the hospital.

The anesthesiologist can give pain relief during your labour. There are many types of pain relief you can have. Some types use medication and some types do not.

Please remember that the anesthesiologist is also responsible for helping in other areas of the hospital. If there is an emergency somewhere else in the hospital, the anesthesiologist may not be able to come to you right away when you ask for pain relief. Please be patient – she/he will come as soon as possible.

A Doctor for your Baby

We recommend that you choose a doctor for your baby before the baby is born. This could be your Family doctor or a Pediatrician (a doctor who specializes in caring for children). If you have chosen a midwife, then she will take care of your baby.

If your Family doctor or Pediatrician sees patients at The Ottawa Hospital, she/he should see your baby before you go home. If your doctor doesn’t see patients at The Ottawa Hospital, one of the hospital doctors will take care of your baby until you go home. If your baby has any problems, a neonatologist may see your baby.

A Neonatologist is a doctor who has special training in taking care of sick babies. There is always a neonatologist or pediatrician available for the Birthing Units, the Rich Little Special Care Nursery (Civic Campus) and the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (General Campus).

Nursing Services

Nurses at The Ottawa Hospital Birthing Units and Mother Baby Units have special training so they can take excellent care of you and your family. A nurse will be there to support you during your labour and the birth of your baby. The support she provides will help you have a better birth experience.

If your baby is sick and requires special care, nurses from the Special Care Nursery or the Neonatal Intensive Care Nursery will care for your baby and help you by answering your questions and teaching you how to help your baby.

Advanced Practice Nurses (APN) are nurses with additional training and education. They are also part of our team. You may see an APN in clinic or during your hospitalization.

Psychology Services

Many pregnant women and their partners feel unsure and anxious at times during the pregnancy. Talking with each other or with family and friends can make you feel better.

Sometimes it is hard to talk to your family and friends. You might feel better if you talk to a professional about your feelings. If you would like to talk with a professional, ask your doctor or midwife. They can refer you to someone who can help.

Social Work Services

Many people have concerns related to pregnancy and the birth of a baby. You may have questions on your mind such as:

  • Medical situations involving you and/or your baby
  • Alcohol or drug use or other dependency problems
  • Mental health concerns
  • Previous miscarriages or other recent losses
  • Safety in your home
  • Adoption arrangements
  • Problems you might have if you are new to Canada

Our social workers can help. They can talk with you about your concerns. They can help you plan ways to deal with them. They can provide support if you lose your pregnancy or your baby.

Spiritual Care

The Ottawa Hospital’s Spiritual Care Team knows that having a baby is an important event. You may use our services for spiritual care no matter what religion you are. We also give spiritual help when asked, to people who don’t belong to a religion.

Our spiritual care includes:

  • Planning an official naming ceremony
  • Helping you understand your new experience
  • Helping you understand and deal with your feelings
  • Helping family members talk about their concerns
  • Supporting you as you start your life as a new family
  • Helping you make decisions
  • Talking about cultural and faith concerns
  • Referring you to community resources that offer spiritual care

The Ottawa Hospital supports ceremonial and religious customs to celebrate the birth of your baby. Some birthing rooms are suitable for ceremonies. Please talk to your doctor/midwife, your spiritual or faith leader and our Spiritual Care Department in advance if you would like a special ceremony.

Food and Nutrition Services

The Ottawa Hospital uses Canada’s Food Guide to Healthy Eating to plan the daily meals. If you need or want a special diet, please be sure to tell the nurse when you are admitted.

The Food and Nutrition Services Department can provide diets for food allergies or cultural preferences (such as Kosher, Inuit, vegetarian, etc.). The nurses will arrange for you to meet with a staff member to discuss your food needs.

Each nursing unit has a pantry and galley where you can find juice, milk, tea, coffee, bread and ice for patients. There is also a refrigerator and a microwave if you want to bring food from home. Please label all containers with your name and room number.

Education and Research

The Ottawa Hospital is a large teaching hospital. It is linked with many educational institutions, including the University of Ottawa, Algonquin College, Heritage College and La Cité Collégiale.

You may meet students from nursing, social work, spiritual care and other areas during your care at The Ottawa Hospital. They are supervised by qualified Ottawa Hospital and university or college staff.

Medical students, residents and fellows often work with the doctors and nurses. They might help take care of you or your baby.

A resident is a medical doctor who is training to become a specialist in a certain area of medicine. A resident in obstetrics, paediatrics, anaesthesia or other types of medicine may help take care of you and your baby.

A fellow is a medical doctor who is studying in a very specialized area of medicine. A fellow from maternal-fetal medicine or neonatal-perinatal medicine may also take care of you or your baby.

The Ottawa Hospital has many research projects related to pregnancy, birth and the period right after birth (post-partum). Research projects help to increase our knowledge about these important areas of medicine. You might be asked to take part in one of our research projects. You may take part if you want to, it is your choice.

Last updated on: September 26th, 2023