Preparing for birth

A doctor for your newborn 

Before your child is born, it is extremely important that you find a doctor who will care for your baby once you leave the hospital (family doctor or pediatrician). Please make an appointment with this doctor within 48 hours of your newborn’s discharge from hospital. 

To help you find a family doctor, Ontario residents may contact Health Care Connect and Quebec residents may contact: Clients in search of a family doctor. 

Prenatal classes 
Ottawa Public Health offers free prenatal classes in person in both English and French. The in-person classes are divided into 3 weekly sessions: Birth Basics, Breastfeeding Basics and Baby Basics. They are facilitated by a public health nurse and offered at 4 branches of the Ottawa Public Library. 

For more information and to register, please visit the City of Ottawa website. Call the Ottawa Public Health Information Line at 613-580-6744 to speak with a public health nurse or email at

Free prenatal breastfeeding information sessions

Do you have questions about breastfeeding? Come out to this important learning session and discover where you can get support in the Ottawa area. Make sure you know how to get off to a smooth start, learn important skills and have your questions answered by a Lactation Consultant. Exclusive breastfeeding is important for your child's optimal health and development. Make sure you are ready before your baby arrives. Each new mother will receive a valuable information package and priceless confidence, all free of charge.

These sessions are available in English and in French.

To register, please call 613-722-4000 ext. 440 or register online.

Smoking and pregnancy 
Smoking and exposure to second-hand smoke during pregnancy places both mother and baby at risk. If you are thinking about quitting or would like to help someone else quit smoking, you are not alone. Our City has many resources ready to help people who want to quit smoking. Group and individual sessions are available for expectant parents. Call Ottawa Public Health information at 613-580-6744, extension 28020 or visit the City of Ottawa website for up-to-date information about programs available to help people quit smoking. 

Hôpital Montfort also offers a smoking cessation program. Health care workers will inform you about our program and support your efforts if you wish to quit smoking. 

Your partner’s role 
Partners play a vital role throughout pregnancy and during the birth of their child. We encourage partners to actively participate in the various stages of pregnancy and seek out information to better prepare for their new role as a parent. You can also call Ottawa Public Health information at 613-580-6744, extension 28020 to find out about other resources. 

Assessment unit (Obstetrical Triage) 
If you are more than 20 weeks pregnant and showing signs or symptoms of concern to you, drop by the obstetrical assessment unit (triage) at the Family Birthing Centre entrance, 2B105. The health professionals on site will assess your condition and your baby. A treatment plan will then be discussed with you. If you have questions or concerns, please contact your family doctor or midwife first. If necessary, you can reach the triage nurse at 613-746-4621, extension 3708, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. 

If you are less than 20 weeks pregnant and need to consult a health professional, please contact your doctor or midwife, or come to the hospital’s Emergency department. 

During your pregnancy, your doctor or midwife will discuss with you the importance of keeping track of your baby’s movements throughout the day. To learn more about fetal movement counts. 

Early Labour Lounge 
If you are in early labour but do not need to be admitted, your health care provider may suggest that you spend a little time in the early labour lounge. This lounge is equipped with a few distractions, including a TV, DVD player and a nearby whirlpool bath to help you manage your contractions in complete privacy and safety. 

Birth plan 
birth plan, developed by Family Birthing Centre professionals is available at your request to familiarize you with the different options you will have for your labour and delivery. 

Your comfort during labour 
Various pain relief methods can help you cope with the pain of labour and delivery. To find out about the methods available at Hôpital Montfort, please read our brochure, “Pain relief during labour and delivery: What are my options?”. 

Your baby’s well being 
To learn more about the different methods used in hospital to monitor baby during your labour, consult our info sheet “Caring for your baby during labour and birth” by clicking on the link. 

Personal items to bring with you to the hospital 

Print a copy of the following list of personal items to bring to the hospital.

For mom

  • Reusable water bottle
  • Support kit: massage oil, tennis balls, wood roller (massage techniques)
  • Maxi pads (1 bag)
  • Health card
  • List of medications and vitamins you take at home, or their bottles
  • Entertainment: MP3 player, books and magazines
  • Lip balm, hand cream, etc.
  • Your favourite pillow, nutritious snacks
  • Birth plan, if you wish
  • Pen, note pad
  • Pyjamas, slippers with non-slip soles
  • Loose-fitting, comfortable underwear, bra, nursing pads
  • Personal care items (soap, shampoo, kleenex, hair dryer, etc.)
  • Money to pay for television and telephone service
  • Clothing to wear following discharge from hospital (approximate size: month 4 of pregnancy)
  • Avoid bringing: jewellery, large amounts of money or other valuables. The hospital does not accept responsibility for losses or thefts.
  • Since l'hôpital Montfort has a policy enforcing a scent-free workplace, we advise you to bring scent-free personal toiletries and hygiene items.

For her partner

  • Sleeping bag and pillow
  • Camera
  • Money for parking, food and telephone calls
  • A change of clothes and personal care items
  • List of telephone numbers
  • Food
  • Reusable water bottle

For baby

  • Size 1 newborn diapers (one bag)
  • Baby wipes (alcohol and fragance free)
  • Pyjamas
  • Blankets
  • Clothing for hospital discharge (to suit the season/temperature)
  • Regulatory car seat that meets Canadian road safety standards. It is extremely important that you know how it operates before your child's birth. Bring it to the hospital on departure day. 

    For more information about car seats and available services in Ottawa, please visit Child Passenger Safety Ottawa Public Health website or contact a public health nurse at Ottawa Public Health Information, 613-580-6744. 

*NOTE: PDF documents are available in a different format upon request at