Reason to love Toronto: Because giving birth is (almost) like a day at the spa

Reason to love Toronto: Because giving birth is (almost) like a day at the spa

(Image: Christopher Wahl) 

Let’s put aside, for a second, the debate about hospital births versus home births. Let’s just acknowledge that 99 per cent of women in Canada deliver their babies in hospitals—some with midwives, some with doctors, some with epidurals, some without. Now let’s talk about the hospital rooms where the event takes place. Many are dingy and cramped, with walls so thin you can hear other women howling in agony next door. After delivery, moms might be transferred to a postpartum room that’s shared—toilet, shower and all—with one or two other women. Preemies are taken to intensive care rooms, packed with incubators, that offer families as much privacy as a bus shelter. In this quasi-public environment, moms and dads brave their first magical, terrifying parental night.

The experience is about to get better for the 4,500 women a year who are lucky enough to deliver in Sunnybrook Hospital’s sprawling new maternity ward. The $198-million facility is equipped with 20 relatively palatial private rooms with Wi-Fi, ensuite bathrooms (many with whirlpools), and windows overlooking the leafy Don Valley. The high-tech NICU floor features 48 private, curtained rooms nestled in the building’s interior to mimic the insulation of a womb. The waiting area is tricked out with a fireplace, flat-screen TV and even video games. It’s all designed to put families at ease, and they should enjoy the comforts while they can—it’s the most peace they’ll get for the next 18 years.