Choice of Hospital

All of the midwives at Pomegranate have privileges at BC Women’s Hospital and Burnaby Hospital. Each one has its uniquely positive aspects. The following is an attempt to outline these, based on our own experience and feedback from clients, in order to help you make an informed choice about which will suit your needs best.

If you have any further questions, feel free to ask your midwife. We will talk to you about which hospital is your first choice. Even if you are planning a homebirth, we always have a backup hospital plan. Our office staff will send in the appropriate hospital registration forms for you, usually around 20 weeks.

PLEASE NOTE: If you start labour on a day when your first-choice hospital is full and not accepting patients, we will do our best to arrange for you to be admitted at another hospital where we have privileges. If these are also full, we will then try to go to a hospital with other midwives willing to accept our transfer of care. If this is not an option, your care will be transferred to a doctor at another hospital, but we will remain for supportive care. Of course, the other option available to is to labor & birth at home, unless there are medical reasons not to do this.

BC Women’s Hospital

4500 Oak Street (between 28th & 32nd)

Information: 604-875-2424

Approximate births per year: 7000

Only a virtual tour is available, onsite tours are run, although you can create your own tour (minus the Labour & Delivery unit): street entrance, parking, L&D entrance, cafeteria, Second Cup/Tim Horton’s, etc.

Geographical restriction

BCWH currently only takes patient registrations from those living in Vancouver postal codes OR those who have had a previous birth there OR those having a high-risk birth inappropriate for their local hospital (e.g. preterm before 32 weeks). This is due to the already large volume of deliveries, which occasionally results in a lack of beds and/or nursing staff, and can create patient safety concerns during surges of volume.

Large number of staff

All of the hospitals have highly skilled and caring staff. During a normal labour, you are unlikely to have a need to take advantage of the staff available other than the nurse(s) assigned to you. If your labour starts to take a turn towards difficult or complicated, we may consider consulting with other careproviders (usually anesthetists, obstetricians or pediatricians). Since BCWH is a large, tertiary care hospital, it has the largest number of consultants available – although this does not guarantee immediate availability since they are usually kept quite busy in such a large hospital. During slow periods such as nights and weekends, appropriate consultants will always be available at any hospital, but at BCWH they are always in-house (i.e. in the hospital), while at other hospitals they may be close by but outside the hospital, carrying a pager.

Teaching & research hospital

As a high-volume site which cares for a variety of both low and high-risk patients, BCWH plays a crucial role as a teaching hospital. This means that you are likely to encounter students, especially resident doctors if the need arises to consult obstetrics, pediatrics or other specialties. There are commonly nurses experienced in other areas being trained to do obstetrical care. While technically still learners, all of these learners are already highly skilled and experienced and play a key part of the team at BCWH. It is always your choice if you do not want residents or other learners involved in your care, but you should remember that by reducing the pool of available helpers/consultants you may have to wait longer.

BCWH is also a research hospital, so you may be asked to take part in a study either during labor, or in the postpartum period. It is always your choice if you want to participate.

Labor & Delivery and Postpartum wings

As of September 2017, the birthing area at BCWH is in the Holly/Cedar wing. Rooms are large and comfortable, with big tubs and most have windows or skylights. Unless you go home within a few hours of delivery, you will be transferred to a postpartum bed in one of the three postpartum wings: Arbutus, Balsam or Douglas.

In 2018, the new wing at BCWH is slated to be open for birthing. These rooms will be labour/delivery/recovery/postpartum rooms, aka single room maternity care (SRMC). This means that the room you birth in, is the room you stay in postpartum.

Private rooms

There is a myth that BCWH has some shared labour rooms. This is untrue. What is true is that a few (10%) of the postpartum rooms are shared. All postpartum beds are allotted on a first-come-first-served basis, so these are the last to be filled. Having paid directly or through extended health insurance coverage will not ensure a private room. Extended insurance will pay for The BrightStart Bundle, which includes free parking, complementary coffee, gift shop vouchers, complementary baby photos, and TV and phone use.

Dedicated OR

Because BCWH only does obstetrics and gynecology, the OR does not carry the same infection risk as other general hospitals where sick or injured people may be sharing the recovery room. For this reason, babies born in the OR at BCWH are allowed to stay with their mothers during the two-three hour recovery process, as are partners. Breastfeeding and bonding is encouraged during this time. In other hospitals, babies and partners may be asked to wait for mom back in the postpartum room.


BCWH policy allows for waterbirth, although it will be requested that you get out as soon as the baby is born and before the placenta comes. Most L&D rooms have tubs that are large and comfortable, as well as waterproof  monitors that can listen to your baby as necessary.

Donor Milk Bank

If you are having serous breastfeeding problems, enough that supplementing is necessary, BCWH has the only provincial donor milk bank which provides an option to formula.


Large parking lot, all parking paid in advance by the hour or day – cash, credit or PayByPhone app. 30-minute free drop-off area near Admitting.

Some street parking that is free on Oak street, but becomes a tow-zone during morning rush hour.


Burnaby Hospital

3935 Kincaid Street

(southeast of Boundary & Canada Way)


Births per year: 1500

Community-based hospital

Burnaby maternity is smaller than BCWH, which is a tertiary care centre for the whole province. Research shows that low-risk women have decreased chances of intervention if they deliver in smaller care centres. It also means that there are fewer staff and patients at any given time, leading to a quiet and calm atmosphere.


The labor rooms are similar in size to BCWH. There are tubs in half of the rooms. The postpartum rooms are shared, although if the ward isn’t busy, you may get a room to yourself anyways.

Team building

Because of the smaller number of employees on staff, it is more likely that your team (midwives, nurses, consultants) will have worked together previously and developed a collegial relationship. The obstetrics team does not generally have residents involved, other than the very occasional family practice resident (only in observational roles); sometimes there are student nurses on the floor.

General hospital

As a general hospital that provides care other than obstetrics and gynecology, Burnaby Hospital can offer a wider range of services. For example, surgical or neurological care, for those who have specialty needs.

Donor milk

It is possible to order donor milk (by prescription) from BCWH during weekdays, if you have someone who can courier it you.


Large covered parkade; paid on exit by hour/daily rate (lower rate that Admitting/ER lot).

Smaller parking lot near Admitting/Emergency; paid in advance by the hour or day – cash, credit or PayByPhone app. In labor, all patients must stop at Admitting.

Some street parking that is free at night.

Considerations in choosing your hospital

  • Kind, caring staff
  • Highly skilled staff
  • Family-friendly
  • 24-7 anesthesia/obstetrics/pediatrics available
  • Rooming-in with baby
  • NICU available
  • Hospital food
  • Being disturbed by noise from neighbors’ babies, staff with various duties, etc.
  • A normal labour will mostly be experienced at home. By the time you arrive at the hospital, how your room looks will not be of utmost importance to you!
  • Are you generally healthy and having a straightforward pregnancy? If you are experiencing pregnancy-related complications, a larger hospital like BCWH may have more specialists to choose from. On the other hand, certain other issues (e.g. known heart condition) are better served at a general hospital that has the specialists to treat your case (e.g. cardiologists) while the midwives/obstetricians maintain care of your pregnancy.
  • Does your baby have a known anomaly or condition that could benefit from care at BC Children’s?
  • If you would not accept blood products, talk to your midwife about which hospitals have Cell-Saver Technology available in the event of a hemorrhage.
  • Are you planning a home birth? If so, you should register at the hospital closest to you.
  • If you are planning a cesarean section delivery, is it important to you that your partner and baby to remain with you in the recovery room?
  • Which hospitals are you eligible for?
  • Do you live closer to any particular hospital? Will transit time be affected by rush hour traffic? Driving in labor is painful, and the side effect is that it will slow down your labor at least a little bit. The longer you are in the car, the more profound this effect may be, so the goal is to spend as little time in transit as possible.



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