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Do you know what your Prenatal Care (Birthing) Options are in Halifax?

Updated: Jul 28, 2022

Did you know there are 3 different Maternity Care Options to choose from in Halifax and that they all are covered by MSI?


When you become pregnant, there will be many decisions you will need to make, and one of the first ones is what type of care are you looking for during your pregnancy and birth and which one is best for your family?


Imagine you find out you’re pregnant, run to your doctor and the conversation with them goes like this:

Dr: Congratulations! This is such an amazing time in your life and a very important experience! Have you thought about what kind of birth you want to have?

Me: What do you mean? I didn’t think I needed to think about it… I though you would just refer me to an Obstetrician.


Dr: OMG no! It’s not as simple as that. There are a few different options available to you, depending on what type of birth you want to have. You should take into consideration what you are more comfortable with and what better matches your and your family’s needs before deciding. Here’s some information and a chart comparing your options.

Me: Thank you so much! I will have a look at it with my partner and we will think about what we want to do for the birth of our baby. With your support we will be able to choose the best option for us.

Wouldn’t it be amazing? We can only hope this is our reality one day!


Until then, I have put together this guide for you!

I so often hear,

“But why I am just learning about this?” “Why did no one tell me this before?”

Unfortunately, most of the times our family doctors assume we all want a hospital birth and to have an Obstetrician following our pregnancies. So, I have decided to share with you what your options are in this post!

As I mentioned before, there are 3 different maternity care options in Halifax and I am going to compare them now:

1. Obstetrician

This is the most common type of care provided in HRM and the only option in some parts of Nova Scotia (unfortunately). Your pregnancy care is usually transferred from your family doctor to an obstetrician once you’re in the second trimester. Your family doctor needs to refer you to them. With them you will have your appointments either at their clinic or at the prenatal clinic at the IWK.


Once your baby is ready to be born, you will birth them at the IWK with whatever Obstetrician is on shift at that time, very rarely families get to birth their babies with the Obstetrician that is following their pregnancy.

Obstetricians are trained to care for all types of pregnancies, especially high-risk pregnancies.

2. GP that does deliveries

There are a few GP’s/family doctors that do deliveries. If this is something you are interested in doing, you need to ask your family doctor to refer you to one of them specifically for your prenatal care.


They usually work in teams of 2 doctors and one of them is most of the times able to be at the birth of your baby.

When you’re being followed by a GP that does deliveries, you will also birth your baby at the IWK, and will be under their care unless there is a need for an Obstetrician to intervene. Appointments are usually held at their clinics, that can be in different parts of the city.

3. Midwives

The midwifery program put by the IWK is amazing, but it’s also very small. Unfortunately, many of the families that would like to enter the program are not able to do so, due to lack of resources. So, if this is the route you want to go, you need to call them and get on the waiting list as soon as you find out you are pregnant!


Midwives usually work in teams of 3 and have a very limited amount of families they can support. With them, you have the option of birthing your baby in the hospital or at home (as long as you are a certain distance away from the IWK).

In Halifax, at this point, you can only have water births with the midwives. Hopefully this changes soon! If you are interested in renting a birth pool for your water birth, check ours out. We have 3 different kinds for you to choose from.


Midwives are trained to support families that are having normal, uncomplicated pregnancies; if at any point during your pregnancy/birth there is a need, your care can be transferred to an obstetrician.


Decision time!

To make the decision that best suits your needs and the ones of your family, you should take into consideration the following:

  • Which type of caregiver will you feel more comfortable with?

  • How much information/time do you want to have with your care provider?

  • Is your pregnancy normal or high-risk?

  • What kind of experience and what type of setting would you like for the birth of your baby?


Remember that everyone has an opinion, but in the end, all that matters is who YOU will feel more comfortable with, who can provide you with the things that are important for you and your family and who will respect you and your family’s wishes.

To learn more about the different options you have for your prenatal care, register to one of Mercedes' 'How to Have an Amazing Birth' - free info sessions or contact Mercedes.

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