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Reasons to Love Toronto Now: because the Toronto Birth Centre makes labour much less laborious

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The earth mother craze has reached an apotheosis in Toronto. To accommodate the growing demand for safe, hospital-free childbirths, the Ministry of Health recently opened the Toronto Birth Centre in Regent Park. The new $6-million facility offers a happy halfway point between home and hospital births—patients get the privacy, comfort and custom care they’d have at home, plus medical equipment like oxygen tanks, IV kits, Doppler systems for monitoring the baby’s heart rate and TENS machines for pain control. Birthing centres are considered as safe as hospitals for low-risk births.

Their upsides ripple out over the entire health care system, freeing up hospital beds for high-risk pregnancies, reducing unnecessary C-sections and inductions, and saving taxpayers millions every year. But the real beneficiaries are the moms and their babies. Each of the three serene birthing suites is done up like a swank boutique hotel, with an adjustable bed and a free-standing tub specially designed for water births. Women are also encouraged to integrate their own cultural birthing traditions: some Indigenous moms have incorporated smudging ceremonies, sacred songs and drumming circles. More than 300 women have given birth at the centre in its first year. Above, a few of our favourite TBC alumni.

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