Renovated birthing rooms open at Bluewater Health

The rooms were designed to allow mothers to stay in the same room throughout labour, birth, recovery and postpartum

Mike Lapaine, president and CEO of Bluewater Health along with Chief Joanne Rogers and Elder Mike Plain from Aamjiwnaang First Nation celebrate birth and renewal at the Sarnia hospital. (Photo provided)

Eight newly-renovated, private rooms for labour, birth, recovery, and postpartum have just opened at Bluewater Health.

The fresh rooms offer a new experience for new mothers at Bluewater Health. The goal is to have mothers stay in one room, together with their birth partner, for labour, birth, and recovery of their newborn baby. Mothers will also be the first to hold her new child. Bluewater Health said this way of caring for maternal patients is considered best practice for mom, baby, and family.

Aamjiwnaang First Nation drummers and dancers participated in a celebration of birth and renewal at Bluewater Health. (Photo provided)

One of the rooms was specially designed for Indigenous births. Its size accommodates larger families and traditional ceremonies, and features Indigenous art. Traditional birth customs such as cedar baths and liquid smudging can be performed on-site. The room was blessed by Elder Eliza John from the Aki Kwe, also known as Bkejwanong and Walpole Island First Nation.

Two drummers, four dancers and an elder, from Aamjiwnaang First Nation, led the hospital in celebration following the dedication. The event celebrated birth and renewal, and brought awareness to Indigenous customs and traditions.

“The blessing of the Indigenous birthing room was an excellent opportunity for Bluewater Health to strengthen our relationship with First Nations communities,” said Mike Lapaine, president & CEO of Bluewater Health. “It will help us be more aware in the care we provide to Indigenous patients and families that come to our hospital.”

The rooms were renovated with the support of Bluewater Health Foundation.

“We’ve been working with Bluewater Health for some time to achieve this result,” said Joanne Culley, Aamjiwnaang healthy babies healthy children nurse. “It’s so important to have a safe and welcoming environment for First Nations families, to give our babies the best start in life.”

Bluewater Health said it is pursuing other opportunities to ensure it is meeting the healthcare needs of Indigenous peoples in the communities. It is supporting the development of a Bluewater Health volunteer Indigenous Advisory Panel and an Indigenous Navigator role.

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