I am going to a doctor, can I have my baby at the Birth Center?

There is nothing in the Arbour Birth Center policies which would prevent a physician from using the birth center. However, there are no physicians in Calgary, at this time, who will do out-of-hospital births. This means that you will need to be in the care of a registered midwife.

Is there a fee to use Arbour Birth Center?

Arbour Birth Center is a private birth center therefore there is a flat fee of $500.00 plus $52.50 GST for the use of any one of the birth suites for any time during labour and birth.  For more specifics about fees and refund please read the information under BOOKING (main menu). 

Why is there a non-refundable portion of the fee? 

The non-refundable portion of the total fee provides for communications and tours, documentation of bookings and the medications to be purchased for each woman who books with the expectation she will use the birth center.  In the last 10 years the cost of medications and Alnox (laughing gas) has increased between 40 and 45%.  This increase in cost is necessitating the birth center increase the non-refundable portion of the fee from 10% to 15% for all new clients beginning October 2019.  

Do I need to bring sanitary napkins and diapers to the Birth Center like at the hospital?

No. The birth center stocks sanitary napkins and diapers. You will need to bring personal items such as clothes, toiletries and baby clothes. Upon booking you will receive a list of suggested supplies. 

What equipment is kept at the Birth Center?

The Birth Center is furnished with all of the equipment required by the Midwifery Standards of Competency and Practice for out of hospital births. This includes: oxygen equipment for mother and baby, equipment if baby needs help to breathe at birth, a means of keeping baby warm, supplies to start an intravenous drip, medications to control bleeding, and equipment and supplies for suturing.

How many people am I allowed to have with me?

First, it is not an issue of the Birth Center controlling this. The mother is the person who makes the decisions and she decides who she will have with her. She can have as few or as many people as she wishes.

Can I bring my child(ren)?

Children are welcome at the Arbour Birth Center. We strongly advise that you have a responsible adult who is there only to look after the needs of the child(ren). There is a DVD player for you to bring a favourite movie, a VHS with some older children's movies, cable TV and a few toys and books to entertain young people waiting.

What happens when I go into labour?

When you go into labour, you call your midwife. She will assess you and between the two of you, you will decide when the time is right to go to the Birth Center. Each registered midwife has a key to the birth center. She will meet you there, let you in and provide ongoing care.

Is there someone at the Birth Center all the time?

Birth Center staff are not there full time. Registered midwives are oriented to the center and provided with their own key. Your midwife is the health care provider who opens the center for you and will be with you all the time you are there.

How is the Birth Center staffed?

The Birth Center has a director, an administrator and several people responsible for cleaning the birth center. The birth center is not staffed 24 hours a day and does not have midwives on staff. Each registered midwife in Calgary and area has a key. When a mother goes into labour, she notifies her midwife who will open the birth center and care for her. 

Can I use other services (i.e. doula, chiropractic, acupuncture) during my labour at the Birth Center?

Yes. These are services and people that you have chosen. You invite or contract with them to be a part of your birth team. You are the one who decides who will be with you.

What if something goes wrong?

Midwives are skilled in picking up problems early and dealing with them. Often the problem can be corrected. If there is a concern, but mother and baby are in no immediate danger, then they transfer into hospital by private vehicle with the midwife following. If either mother or baby are at risk (which is rare), then EMS is called. There are two ambulance stations close to the birth center and response times are short. The paramedics work with the midwives to transfer the mother/baby to the hospital obstetric unit where the fastest care can be provided.

How long can I stay at the Birth Center after the baby is born?

The usual length of stay is 2 - 4 hours. You and your midwife will determine when you and your newborn baby are ready to return home or if there is any need to be followed more closely in hospital.

Does the hot water for the tubs ever run out?

The birth center does not have a hot water tank as you would find in the average home, even though we look like a home. The facility has a 100 gallon hot water tank with quick recovery, so you should never run out of hot water.

What about cleaning the tub?

Our tubs are air jetted, not water jetted, meaning that water does not circulate through a pump and the jet system is dry. What this means is that we do not need to run harsh chemicals through the water system and no residue will build up in the pipes. We use a two-step method to surface clean our tubs: first we clean them with a common household cleaner containing bleach, and after that we spray on a medical disinfectant and wipe that off. The tub is then clean and ready for the next use.

Can we use a birth plan?

Midwives encourage mothers and their families to develop a birth plan, which serves several purposes. It encourages families to think about how they want their birth to go and to prepare for it. It is also a communication tool with the midwives. Through discussion of the birth plan, midwives can find out if expectations are realistic or feasible. They can be sure that parents have thought about various options. At the time of labour, it can remind midwives about your various individual preferences so that they can do their best to help you have the birth you want.

What if the birth center is full when I arrive in labour?

Since 1994 there have been only two occasions when all three suites have been unavailable. In this event, the manager will notify all midwives by e-mail that the birth center is unavailable and notify them again when there is a suite sanitized and stocked for use again. We anticipate every woman booked has a 5 week period of time when she may use the birth center.  

If I do not live in Canada, but will be visiting in Calgary may I come to Arbour Birth Center to have my baby in Canada? 

Arbour Birth Center does not have a staff of midwives. This means firstly that you need to find a Registered Midwife. To apply for midwifery care, go to and complete an application. If there is a midwife with room in her practice at the time your baby is due, you will be contacted. The fee for a midwife is independent of the fee to use the birth center. If you are accepted into midwifery care, you may apply to book Arbour Birth Center. 

What is it like to labour at the Arbour Birth Center?

We have included some photos below from an actual birth that occurred at the Birth Center to give potential users an idea of what it may be like. In essence, it is quiet, unhurried and intimate, giving you the time and focus to labour the way you wish while giving you the power to decide how your labour will proceed.