Babies & Birthing


"Childbirth is a wonderful experience, a very special time in a family's

 life and we feel honoured to share this with you."



mother holding her newborn baby

Welcome to Cambridge Memorial Hospital Babies and Birthing Program. We are a community hospital-based obstetrical program in the Waterloo Region, delivering over 1400 babies each year. Our  vision is to provide excellence in family centered care that focuses on the values of comfort, respect and choice. Childbirth is a wonderful experience, a very special time in a family’s life and we feel honoured to share this with you. We are here to provide you with care and support that considers you and your family’s unique needs.


This program is committed to providing safe, quality patient and family-centred care to families. Whether you are here for a birthing experience, or taking care of your sick child, the interdisciplinary team encourages you to play an active role. We will strive to create a person-centered environment that promotes diversity and optimal healing, by respecting your cultural traditions and expressed wishes.


**For all enquiries and registration information, please call (519) 621-2333 ext. 4255


Antenatal Assessment (Triage)


If you are in labour, you will be seen immediately when you come to the hospital. Before admission to the birthing area, an assessment will be made by a physician and nurse to ensure that active labour has begun. The assessment is in the Birthing Unit in Wing A, Level 1.

Omama's Step by step guide to pregnancy  

Birthing Unit  

The Birthing Unit consists of six labour/birthing/recovery (LBR) rooms, an assessment and triage area. A multidisciplinary team of nurses, obstetricians, midwives and family physicians provide care during labour, birth and the post-partum period.    

When you give birth, you and your baby may remain in your birthing room for about three hours to facilitate bonding, initiate breastfeeding and to provide some privacy for you and your loved ones to celebrate the birth of your new baby. After this time, you and your baby will be transferred to the Postpartum Unit in Wing A, Level 4


Post-Birth Care  

After you give birth, you will be transferred with your baby to one of 15 large postpartum rooms.

We are here to help you learn how to care for yourself and your baby. We will provide you with a “Post-Birth Teaching Checklist.” If you or your partner have any questions or concerns, please ask. 


Your success in achieving your feeding goals is important to us. We are trained to support, assist and educate you. Rest is important for yourself and your baby as you prepare for your discharge home. Your support person is welcome 24 hours a day.


Handwashing is the most important thing anyone can do to prevent the spread of infection. For you and your baby’s safety, everyone who comes into your room must wash their hands when they enter, when they have touched something other than your baby (e.g. changed a diaper) and when they leave. To protect the health of you and your baby, family or visitors are not to visit if they are ill.   

Your baby may have bloodwork and a hearing test done prior to discharge. Otherwise, they will be booked to return to the Women & Children's Outpatient Clinic, midwife or community centre (hearing testing).    

Resources for Parents 

Postpartum recovery video: Here Comes Baby - Postpartum Recovery / Bienvenue bébé - Le rétablissement après l'accouchement   
Breastfeeding: One-on-one virtual support and an Online e-course are among the resources offered.   
Information on Postpartum Mood Disorders.   
Perinatal Mood Disorder Resources in Ontario   

Healthy Babies, Healthy Children (HBHC)  

In partnership with the Regional of Waterloo Public Health, CMH has successfully implemented the prenatal component of “ Healthy Babies, Healthy Children (HBHC)”. This provincial initiative provides universal risk screening/early intervention for all pregnant women in Ontario. The initial risk assessment is carried out in the New Beginnings Registration Clinic. To enquire about or register for HBHC please call (519) 621-2333 ext. 4355.  

Infant Care

This section contains practical information on safe sleep, bathing, soothers, diapering and more. 


Pre-registration & Prenatal

This section contains links to education resources and how to pre-register to give birth at CMH.

Breastfeeding Support

This page contains information, resources and supports to help with breastfeeding


Pain Management Options 

The pain experienced during labour varies greatly from one person to the other. Many choices are available to manage pain. 


If you are giving birth, please bring:

☑ HEALTH CARD: Ontario Health Card and Insurance information      
☑ MEDICATIONS: Medications you take regularly in labeled pharmacy containers      
☑ FEMININE PADS:  (2 packs)      
☑ CLOTHING: underwear (3 – 6), slippers, pyjamas, housecoat, socks, nursing bra & pads, extra change of loose-fitting clothes      
☑ PERSONAL CARE ITEMS: Toothbrush & paste, mouthwash, soap, brush, shampoo, lotion, lip balm, etc.      
☑ MORE ITEMS: Things that can make your labour  and your stay after giving birth more comfortable (e.g., pillow, music, hot pack, breastfeeding pillow (optional), etc.)      
☑ POPSICLES (optional)      

Please bring for your newborn:

1 – 2 packs newborn diapers     
wipes, barrier cream     
clothing for trip home     
undershirts, socks & hats     
receiving blankets     
safety-approved car seat 

If you are the support person of the person giving birth, please bring:

pillow, sleeping bag     
change of clothes     
food & drinks labelled with name   

Due to allergies, do not bring to the hospital:

latex balloons     

Please bring any personal assistive devices that you require for your appointment. For example, any communication or mobility device you may need like a walker, hearing aid, etc.

Kindly note that CMH has a no scent policy.  Kindly refrain from using or wearing perfumes, scented deodorants and scented products before coming to hospital.

CMH offers care for newborns requiring close monitoring in a 6-bed inpatient unit. Parents are encouraged to stay and care for their babies. Each room has a sleeper-couch the parent can use. 


Your baby's length of stay in the Special Care Nursery (SNC) will depend on the symptoms your child is showing. For more information, please read the Special Care Nursery pamphlet.


What to bring for your baby when in hospital:

  • 1 – 2 packs of age appropriate diapers     
  • wipes, barrier cream     
  • sleepers     
  • clothing for trip home     
  • undershirts, socks & hats     
  • receiving blankets     
  • safety-approved car seat 

What to bring for yourself:

  • pillow, sleeping bag
  • change of clothes
  • food & drinks labelled with your name   


Calling about your Baby

The Special Care Nursery (SCN) is staffed day and night. If you are out of the hospital and want to ask about your baby, you can call the SNC and speak to your baby's nurse at any time.  When you call, a nurse will ask for the 4-digit patient privacy code that you chose when your baby was admitted.


Members of your health care team are available to talk to you every day about your baby's progress and answer any questions you have. 


Baby Sleeping

  • Health Canada and the Canadian Paediatric Society recommend that babies be placed on their backs to sleep.  "Back to Sleep" is the safest sleep position for your baby.
  • Sometimes, babies in the SCN are placed in other sleep positions such as on their sides or tummies.  This may be for several reasons, such as prematurity or breathing problems.  If a baby is placed in different sleep positions, he or she is always connected to a monitor so nurses can watch their heart rate and breathing very closely.
  • Your nurse will talk to you about your baby's sleep positions.  When your baby is getting ready to be discharged home, we will begin to place baby on his or her back to sleep.  By doing this, your baby can get used to sleeping this way before going home.

Visiting the Special Care Nursery

  • Children under the age of 16 are not permitted onto the unit unless they are the sibling of the new baby AND are up-to-date with their vaccinations.
  • Visitors may not come if they are sick. Many infants in our care are at high risk for infection with undeveloped immune systems.

Thank you for your visit. At anytime you wish to provide feedback, we encourage you to share them directly with your healthcare team as soon as possible. You may also speak with the social worker, spiritual care advisor, charge nurse, or management (see below). 


If you shared a concern that you feel has not been addressed, connect with the Patient Experience Lead at

 john doe

Laura Clarke, Manager Women & Children - ext. 3391

Kim Towes - portrait

Kim Towes, Director, Surgical Programs - ext. 2346

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The length of your stay depends on how you and your baby are feeling. Mothers giving birth vaginally usually stay in hospital 24 hours after the baby is born. Mothers giving birth by Caesarean (C-section) are generally in hospital 48-72 hours (two or three days) after the baby is born. Early discharge may be discussed with your doctor or midwife.

  • To ensure a comfortable stay, you will need to pack for your new baby, your support person and yourself.  For a checklist of recommended items to pack see Admissions and What to Bring (Childbirth Care) above.
  • Please leave valuables at home.  We cannot be responsible for lost, stolen or damaged items.
  • Please note that CMH does not supply the following items:  diapers, pads and undergarments.
    Infant security tags, baby blankets, hospital scrubs or “greens”, gowns and other linen are hospital property and should not be taken home.

For the safety of you and your baby, two support persons are welcomed during your labour. If a C-section is needed, only one support person may accompany you into the C-section room and the recovery room. Close family members may wait in the family waiting room. You are encouraged to balance rest with visitation after your baby is born. Your primary support person is welcome anytime. Your children are welcome to visit their new baby sibling as long as they are accompanied by an adult.

There are no set visiting hours. For your comfort, and the comfort of other families, we ask that no more than 2 visitors be at the bedside. The hours between 8:00 pm and 6:00 am are considered quiet time. 

During your active labour/induction, you will be admitted to a private room where you will stay during your labour, the delivery of your baby and your immediate recovery. You will be moved to either a private, semi-private or ward room (dependent on your coverage and/or bed availability) after your recovery.

Childbirth Care:

Mom & Baby app: OMama  M + B 2B track your fertility, make a budget, record prenatal visits, create birth plan and labour playlist, track baby's feeds, growth and so much more.


Best Start: Are You Pregnant?


Postpartum recovery video: Here Comes Baby - Postpartum Recovery / Bienvenue bébé - Le rétablissement après l'accouchement

Postpartum Mood Disorders

Perinatal Mood Disorder Resources in Ontario


Region of Waterloo Public Health:   
Breastfeeding resources

Breastfeeding videos

Parenting and Child Health


Special Nursery Care:

Cue Based Feeding

The Birthing Unit is located in Wing A, Level 1. The Post Partum Unit, Special Care Nursery and clinics are located in Wing A, Level 4. Parking in Lot #2 is closest to these units. 

Parking and entrances map at CMH

The Birthing Unit can be accessed off of the Main Entrance. After Hours, you can access the Birthing Unit through the Emergency Department. 

Post-partum Unit, Special Care Nursery, Paediatrics, Women & Children's Outpatient Clinic, Public Health Clinics (post-birth) are located in Wing A, Level 4. Check in with unit, located near the elevators, who will direct you. 


Babies & Birthing

Main Phone: 519-621-2333 ext. 4355

Birthing Unit ext. 4300 
Special Care Nursery ext. 4310
Paediatrics ext. 4455
Postpartum Unit ext. 4355
Outpatient Clinics ext. 4355
Post-Birth Public Health Clinics ext. 4355

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