The Arbour Birth Center was the first freestanding birth center established in Western Canada. Founded by Diane Rach in 1994, over 900 babies have now been born at the facility.
The Birth Center was opened to address a growing demand for an alternative location to labour and give birth. It is a unique and convenient facility that provides the comforts and ambiance of home, and is equipped with furniture and equipment specifically for birthing.
Though the facility is physically and administratively separate from any hospital or other health care facilities, it is located within minutes of the Foothills Hospital and emergency services. Keeping a birth centre physically separate allows the mother to enjoy total privacy & control over her surroundings, while encouraging a sense of comfort, safety and love.
The Arbour Birth Center policy supports the midwifery practices of keeping mother and baby together to help the baby transition and initiate breastfeeding. Usually the family is ready to return home 2 - 4 hours after the baby is born.
* In order to book the Arbour Birth Center an expectant mother must be in the care of a Registered Midwife.
Women may desire to give birth at the Birth Center for a variety of reasons, including:
- Wanting an out-of-hospital birth, but the home is not a viable option (too far from hospital; not set up in a desirable way; not comfortable for the mother)
- Privacy issues with home living arrangements (family or roommates)
- To be in a location where the mother is the centre of the attention and not feel obliged to care for others while in labour
- As a compromise between hospital and home
The Arbour Birth Center exists within a residential-type building with two floors. The Birth Center's facilities (birthing suites, kitchen and living room) reside on the upper floor, and a midwife clinic (the Calgary Midwives Collective) and the Birth Center's administration are located on the lower floor.