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Philosophy of Care

Pregnancy and birth are a normal part of life. Having a baby is one of life's most special experiences. We are here to guide you through your pregnancy, labour and birth with support and information to help you to achieve the healthiest outcome possible for you and your baby, while respecting your needs, preferences and values.

Our Approach

We support all types of families with inclusive, accessible, and comprehensive maternity care services. This includes families created through pregnancy and birth, adoption, surrogacy, multi-partner relationships, choice and circumstance. We uphold your right to receive care that is free of discrimination on the basis of race, ethnicity, political or religious beliefs, marital status, age, education or economic status, gender identity, sexual orientation, physical or mental ability.

We take a women-and-family-centered approach to care, recognizing you as the primary decision-maker. Our goal is to promote shared decision-making between you, your family (as you define it), and your maternity care providers in a respectful manner.

We will support you to make informed choices by providing information on the benefits and risks of tests and procedures and will discuss alternatives with you. Respecting your values and preferences means giving you time to think about your options and make decisions. We encourage you to ask questions and respect your right to accept or decline any test or procedure.
The best available evidence informs our care. We recognize you may receive different information or conflicting advice from the Internet, friends or family members. We also acknowledge that care practices and medical opinions change over time and it can be confusing to know the right choice to make.

The most up-to-date information and evidence on the safest and best way to care for yourself and your baby will be provided by your maternity care providers. Options about tests, procedures, or practices will be given to you and we will support you to make the best choice for you and your family.

Your doctor or midwife works with our maternity care team to ensure the best, safest birth experience for you and your baby. You will receive one-to-one nursing care - where a nurse is assigned to care solely for you - during active labour during labour.

Your doctor of midwife will always remain involved in your labour and birth, even when additional specialists are involved.

  •  If concerns arise during labour and birth, you may receive care from an obstetrician, a specialist in complicated pregnancies and births.
  •  If you choose an epidural, this will be given by an anesthesiologist, a specialist in pain management and the care of patients during surgery.
  •  If there are concerns about your baby's health, they may be cared for by a pediatrician, a specialist in baby and children's health.

Following birth, you will be supported by nurses who will monitor the well-being of both you and your baby. You will learn about baby care and get help with infant feeding, so you are ready to care for yourself and your baby once you return home. Your maternity care provider will check on you daily to see how you are doing.


BC Women's is a teaching hospital affiliated with the University of British Columbia. This means we train the next generation of maternity care providers including medical students, midwifery students and nursing students. Learners may participate in your labour and delivery care, under direct supervision, and only with your permission. Residents may also be involved in your care. Residents are doctors who have completed their medical degree and are engaged in supervised training before practicing in their chosen speciality. Talk to your maternity care provider if you have questions.


Research shows support people can reduce your chances of some complications, like a caesarean section. We honour your wishes about who you want with you during your labour and birth. Having support people with you can provide a sense of safety and allow you to better express your needs.

Your support can come from your partner, spouse, a family member, friend or a doula. They can bring you water, hold your hand, and provide encouragement during labour.

Ultimately, it will be your baby who determines the progress of your labour and birth. It's important to be flexible and open to changes throughout your labour and birth.


Making Decisions

We recommend using the B.R.A.I.N. acronym to help you make decisions during pregnancy, labour and birth.

BRAIN graphic    

Making a Labour and Birth Guide

Learn more about Making a Labour & Birth Guide to help you and your doctor/midwife understand what is important to you.

SOURCE: Philosophy of Care ( )
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