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Departments / ProgramsObstetrics

Obstetrical Unit

The Almonte General Hospital (AGH) Obstetrical Unit has been providing excellent obstetrical care to mothers and babies for generations. The Hospital's highly trained doctors and nurses, midwives, modern birthing facilities, and smaller size combine state-of-the-art obstetrical services with exceptional personal care and attention.

The AGH Obstetrical Unit provides outstanding care at every stage of pregnancy and birth. AGH is the only rural hospital in this region providing a full range of obstetrical services, including 24-hour, 7-day-a-week coverage by an obstetrician and round-the-clock anaesthetic/epidural services.

The former four-room OBS ward, labour/delivery room and private room has been replaced by five private rooms with their own washrooms, two labour/delivery rooms, a new assessment room, a new family teaching room and a new operating room to support OBS cases.

The Hospital's OBS team includes Obstetrician/Gynecologists Dr. Bahaa Awwad, Dr. David Caloia, Dr. Elliott Cohen, Dr. Ardelle Stauffer. Round-the-clock anaesthesia services for the program are provided by Dr. Heather Abramenko, Dr. Michael Dolan, Dr. Franz Ferraris, Dr. Melissa Forbes, Dr. Colin Sentongo, and Dr. Elizabeth Wood.

A full range of pre-natal services

  • Obstetrical services provided by Obstetricians and General Practitioners
  • Midwifery services provided by Ottawa Valley Midwives
  • Complete ultrasound facilities on-site
  • Pre-natal classes offered by the Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit

Modern birthing facilities, offering a full range of pain management options

  • 24-hour access to epidural services
  • Medication can be administered intravenously or by inhalation
  • A whirlpool tub and showers for non-medicinal pain management
  • Midwifery services provided by Ottawa Valley Midwives

During labour, AGH provides a full range of pain-relief options. The birthing facility includes showers and a whirlpool tub for women who find warm water soothing during labour. Pain medication can be administered intravenously, and, in some cases, the patient can control the amount of medication she receives herself. Nitrous oxide - also known as laughing gas - can be inhaled through a mask. As well, epidural services are available around the clock from a qualified anaesthetist.

The nurses who work in the Obstetrical Unit are experienced in caring for labouring women, post-partum mothers and newborn babies.

Midwifery services

Mothers-to-be who want to give birth at the Almonte General Hospital (AGH) with a midwife attending can now do so.

Ottawa Valley Midwives have been granted privileges at AGH and began delivering babies there in mid-September 2009.

The change means that Ottawa Valley Midwives' clients from Mississippi Mills, Arnprior, Lanark, Carleton Place, Perth and Munster choosing a hospital birth can deliver at AGH instead of the Queensway-Carleton Hospital in Ottawa.

"Midwives offer the same care as any primary care practitioner who delivers babies," says Ottawa Valley Midwives partner Leslie Viets. "The same types of testing, technology and pain-relief medication are available with a midwife-assisted birth as with a physician-assisted birth."

Ms Viets said everyone at AGH, including obstetricians, family physicians, OBS nurses and other staff have warmly welcomed the midwives to the Hospital.

"Our patients who have given birth at AGH have been just thrilled with the care," she said. "The new OBS unit is just great."

Midwifery services are fully funded by the provincial government. Ottawa Valley Midwives' caseload is 210 births a year and Ms Viets said the midwives expect to attend 40-60 births at AGH during their first year at the Hospital and about 80 births a year after that. The Hospital averages approximately 350 deliveries per year.

A midwife typically meets an expectant mother early in her pregnancy and sees her regularly throughout. Once labour begins, the midwife often goes to the home of the mother-to-be to check whether active labour is in progress or can also meet her patient at the hospital. The midwife attends the woman continuously during labour and delivery at the hospital. Barring any complications, the new mother can then choose to stay in the hospital or go home with her baby within hours of the birth. The midwife visits the mother and baby at home on days one, three and five and sees them at a clinic two, four and six weeks after birth.

About 75 per cent of Ottawa Valley Midwives' patients opt for a hospital birth and the rest choose a home birth.

"A common misconception is that women who choose to be attended by midwives are opting out of available testing, technology or medication," Ms Viets said. "This is not the case, although the continuity of care and the range of options we provide can lead to less demand for certain types of intervention."

The Ottawa Valley Midwives are graduates of the four-year baccalaureate Midwifery Education Program at McMaster and Laurentian universities.

Midwives follow protocols for care established by the Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada and by the College of Midwives of Ontario. "During a delivery, if anything deviates from normal, we consult with the obstetrician on call and, if the situation requires it, care could be transferred to the obstetrician," Ms Viets said. "The midwife would remain involved throughout and resume responsibility for care after the delivery."

Established by Ms Viets and Anne-Marie Carter-McAuslan in 1998, Ottawa Valley Midwives is based in Carleton Place and has nine midwives on staff, including Ms Viets, Saija Chadha, Hariet Ann Ferrant, Amelie Marie Pierre Bender, Miriam O’Brien, Kristen M. Stevens, Rachel Sutton, Brianna Thompson and Tanya Yakolev.

Safety and security for newborns at Almonte General Hospital

The security of our youngest patients is a matter that the Board, physicians and staff at Almonte General Hospital take very seriously.

When a baby is born at AGH, mother and newborn each receive a hospital bracelet with matching identification numbers unique to them. This traditional system is in place at all hospitals allowing, health-care providers to properly identify mom and baby.

AGH added an additional level of security with the Hugs® Infant Security System. This system provides comprehensive protection to newborns by adding a tamper-proof bracelet to the newborn’s ankle. When a baby is born and the traditional unique identification bracelets are put on, the staff then puts a tamper-proof tag on baby’s ankle. If any baby is moved to an unauthorized zone, an alarm sounds and the system activates all exit doors in the unit to a lock down, keeping newborns safe and in the obstetrical unit. The tag is removed when mom and baby are discharged.


"AGH has wonderful doctors and nurses. We received exceptional one-on-one care and personal attention. AGH has everything you need - you don't have to go to the city to have your baby."
- Tammy W. of Almonte.

"I used the whirlpool during labour and was in the birthing room, and they are excellent facilities. I got all the care I needed without having to travel to the city."
- Karen M. of Carleton Place.

"We were 100 per cent looked after; we didn't need or want for anything. Family and visitors were welcomed and I was able to keep my baby with me all night. I can't say enough good things about the AGH obstetrical unit."
- Julie H. of Bolingbroke.

Pregnancy and birth are joyful experiences. The Almonte General Hospital Obstetrical Unit team - with its wealth of training and experience and commitment to personal care and attention - would be pleased to share your birth experience with you and your family. When you have your baby at AGH, you'll discover why "small is beautiful".

For more information, contact:
The Almonte General Hospital
75 Spring Street
Almonte, ON K0A 1A0