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Hospital  >  Care Programs  >  DAN Women & Babies Program  >  Pregnancy, Birth & Newborn Information  >  Pregnancy and prenatal care  >  Having a baby at Sunnybrook: Your care journey from pregnancy to birth and beyond
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Navigating MyCare
during pregnancy and birth

Congratulations on your pregnancy! While no two patients or their pregnancies are the same, this will help provide you with some information on the care you and your family will receive.

Your care pathway

1

Care during pregnancy

Finding a care provider

The first step is to have your pregnancy confirmed by your family doctor through a blood test and/or ultrasound. After you receive the results, your family doctor can send a referral to one of Sunnybrook’s obstetrics team. You can also self-refer for obstetrical care. Sunnybrook’s Division of Family and Community Medicine and Seventh Generation Midwives also deliver babies at the hospital.

Learn more about our obstetrics team
Learn more about our division of family and community medicine
Learn more Seventh Generation Midwives

Your first appointment

Your care provider will confirm your first prenatal appointment, usually around 10 to 12 weeks of pregnancy. At this visit, please bring a list of supplements and medications you are taking. You will also be asked about your family history and your partner’s medical history – for example, is there a history of gestational diabetes, high blood pressure or any genetic diseases on either side of the family.

If you are a low-risk pregnancy, you will see your care provider every month. If you are considered to be having a high-risk pregnancy, you may be referred to the high-risk obstetrics unit and you will be cared for by a maternal fetal medicine specialist.

Learn more about our high-risk obstetrics unit

Prenatal tests and ultrasounds

Throughout your pregnancy, there are a number of tests that your care provider may recommend. These tests assess your health and your baby's health. Not all tests are required by all patients; please discuss any questions you may have about prenatal testing with your care provider.

Learn more about prenatal tests and ultrasounds

Prenatal classes 

We offer a variety of classes for parents-to-be. These classes prepare you for pregnancy, birth and the newborn period. Families usually attend prenatal classes one to two months before your expected date of delivery, and we recommend that you register early in your pregnancy to reserve your spot.

Learn more about prenatal classes and registration

Staying healthy during your pregnancy

During your pregnancy journey, you may have questions about many things, including nutrition, exercise, your feelings, drug and alcohol use. Please speak with your care provider if you need more information – we are here to support you and ensure you have as happy and healthy a pregnancy as possible.

View our healthy pregnancy guide to read more about these and other topics

Pregnancy tips and information during COVID-19

Have questions about how the COVID-19 pandemic will affect your pregnancy?

View pregnancy tips, information and resources related to COVID-19

2

Having your baby

When to come to the hospital

You may seek care at obstetrical triage in M5 if you are having pregnancy-related concerns and are unable to see your physician or midwife. When you are in labour, your care provider will give you specific information about when to come to the hospital. You will be assessed in obstetrical triage to see if you will be admitted or sent home with information about when to return. There may be a wait as those with the most pressing concerns are seen first.

View information about obstetrical triage
"Am I in labour?" - View tips and resources
View our hospital packing checklist

Your room while labouring

We have 20 private rooms in our Birthing Unit for low-risk deliveries. These rooms are bright and spacious and have room for you, your care team and your support person during labour and delivery.

If you deliver your baby by Caesarian section, your baby will be delivered in one of three operating rooms specially designed for women having Caesarian sections.

Please note: Sunnybrook's obstetricians use a model of group coverage. This means there is always a dedicated obstetrician covering the Birthing Unit at all times. Patients will usually have their own physician for scheduled elective Caesarean sections during

View information about our birthing unit
View information about planned Caesarian sections

Induction

Your health care team may recommend that your labour be induced. This happens when there’s a concern about your health or your baby’s health.

Learn more about the different ways babies are induced

Pain options

You probably have a lot of questions about pain relief for childbirth. Everyone's experiences in labour are unique and what works for another woman may not be the right option for you. Our team will work with your preferred approach to working through your labour. 

Read about natural pain options
Read about epidurals and spinals

3

After your baby arrives

Skin-to-skin

Following your baby’s birth, your baby will be placed on your chest, skin-to-skin. Research has shown this stabilizes your baby’s temperature, heart rate and breathing, and it also triggers important changes in your body such as helping your breast milk to come in. Your nurse will work with you to start breastfeeding.

View breastfeeding tips and resources

Your stay after delivery

If you have a vaginal birth, your stay in hospital will be about 24 hours. If you have a Caesarean birth, your stay in hospital will be roughly 24 to 48 hours. Your care team will ensure you and your baby are well and safe to go home before you are discharged.

After your baby is delivered, you may be transferred from the Birthing Unit to the 25-bed Maternal and Newborn Unit which also cares for new families.

Breastfeeding

Support after you deliver your baby at Sunnybrook includes daily inpatient breastfeeding classes taught by the nurses and International Board Certified Lactation Consultants, a telephone helpline, a 7-day-a-week appointment schedule and a hospital grade pump rental service.

View breastfeeding tips and resources

Taking care of yourself 

Your nurse will check on your condition every four hours, for the first 24 hours, after a vaginal birth. If you’ve had a Caesarian section, you’ll be checked every hour for your first day after delivering your baby. Your nurse will keep an eye on your vaginal discharge, your bladder and bowel activity and more. Ask your health-care team if there’s anything you need to bring home, like a rental breast pump or sitz bath.

View information about what to expect following the birth of your baby

Taking care of your baby

From breastfeeding, to diapering, to tummy-time, you may have a lot of questions. Be sure to ask your nurse if you need more information about caring for your baby. Before you leave the hospital, your baby will have a test to check their hearing and also have a metabolic screening (a blood test done on all newborns to ensure your baby gets the best start in life).

Caring for your newborn: tips and resources

Your baby’s OHIP card and registering their birth

You must apply for your baby's OHIP card at the hospital where you gave birth. Go to obstetrical triage on M5 to fill out and sign the application form. The triage clerk will give you a temporary OHIP slip for your baby. Your baby’s permanent OHIP card will be sent to your home in four to six weeks. Use the Newborn Registration Service to register your baby’s birth, apply for a birth certificate, apply for a Social Insurance Number (SIN) and register for Canada Child Benefits.

Visit the Newborn Registration Service website

Traveling home: An approved infant car seat

Be sure to bring an approved infant car seat, that faces backward, for your departure. Your baby’s car seat should have a Canadian Motor Vehicle Safety Standards sticker which indicates that the seat meets national standards and is legal to use in Canada.

View infant car seat information

4

Back at home

Returning home

Returning home with your baby can be an exciting yet tiring time.

Two important things to do:

  • Ensure your baby is seen by a primary health care provider (a paediatrician, family doctor or midwife), within 24 to 72 hours of leaving the hospital for checkup
  • Make an appointment with your health care provider (this is usually the person who has cared for you during your pregnancy) six weeks after delivering your baby

Breastfeeding clinic

Our breastfeeding clinic provides counselling, education and care plans to all women who deliver their babies at Sunnybrook. We only care for Sunnybrook patients, please be ready to provide your Sunnybrook hospital card number.

View breastfeeding clinic information

Your mood

You may have many feelings ranging from joy and excitement to guilt and sadness. These feelings are normal after having a baby. If you or a loved one suspect you have postpartum depression, you aren’t alone. There is support and help. Let your health care provider know immediately if you’re having difficulty coping at home. Few women experience severe depression and suicidal thoughts – please connect with your health care provider urgently or come to the Emergency Department if this describes you.

View resources

» Download a PDF version of this care pathway

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