New birth centre helps deliver first baby

Ottawa's new Birth and Wellness Centre welcomed its first baby into the world on Saturday.

The facility is designed to host 450 births a year and take some of the pressure off the hospitals, letting them handle more high-risk births.

A natural birth was important to Melanie and Simon Lapointe. They had decided to work with midwife Grace Sohmer throughout their pregnancy and new dad Simon says they'd been hoping the centre would open in time for their daughter Olivia Mae to be born.

"Being the first birth there we had the whole centre pretty much to ourselves and so it was great because the amenities there were just awesome and it ended up being a water birth, which was awesome because their tub was just massive," he said.

Melanie said she was able to use the tub and a ceiling sling for upper body support to manage her pain throughout the delivery which lasted 6 and a half hours, relatively short for a first-time mom.

The couple said they were pleased with an experience that allowed them to have their midwife with them the whole time. She is continuing to provide care in the first few days of parenthood.

The centre is funded in part by the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care and by Ottawa Public Health.

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