Preparing for Birth

Thank you for planning to have your baby in the Richmond Hospital Birth Centre.

Our goal is to support you and your family throughout your birth experience in an environment which is person-focused, family-centered, inclusive, and safe. We encourage you to take on an active role in your care.

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Please note: this video provides general information for Richmond Hospital Birth Centre. Please contact Birth Centre staff for the most up-to-date details.

Please click on ‘About Us’ to learn more about Richmond Birth Centre.

Two people embracing a baby.

Our philosophy of care is family-centered which means we encourage family to remain together as much as possible. You are encouraged to have a support person stay with you during labour and after you give birth. Your baby will remain with you unless higher medical support is required.

Special exemptions for more than one support person to be present are granted in consultation with our staff.

While your other children are welcome to visit their newborn sibling, we cannot safely accommodate them to stay overnight in the hospital at this time. You will need to make childcare arrangements for any other children while you are in hospital.

Hospital Room

All families will labour and give birth in one of our private labour rooms. However, if it is extremely busy, families after birth may be asked to transfer to a shared “semi-private” postpartum room on our unit with space to accommodate two families.

Preferred Accommodation Program

The Richmond Hospital Preferred Accommodation Program provides the option to request and pay for a private or semi-private room as opposed to a standard ward room.  Depending on the type of coverage, your extended health plan may pay for all or part of the daily room charges.  Check with your insurance provider.

All families at the Birth Centre will be offered a private (individual) room for labour and birth at no additional charge.  However, if it is extremely busy, families may be asked to transfer to a shared “semi-private” postpartum room after childbirth with space to accommodate two families.  Enrolment in the Preferred Accommodation Program honours the request to stay longer in your private room after birth. 

Proceeds are used to support patient care, benefitting the hospital and the local community.

For more information about daily room fees, please inquire in-person at the Richmond Hospital Main Desk, located near the Yellow Zone elevators.  

*Effective February 1, 2023, the Richmond Hospital Birth Centre Preferred Accommodation Program will no longer include a daily parking pass for free parking.*

In accordance with VCH site policies, our unit is a smoke-free and fragrance-free facility. For details, please visit:

Our staff will thoughtfully consider requests for photography of labour and birth as long as the safety, comfort, and privacy of other patients and staff is not negatively affected.

We recommend that you arrive with a support person who can provide English language translation. Language interpreter services are available upon request. Please advise our team if you require an English translator.

Labour and birth preparations are important to start thinking about before you come to the hospital. A few ideas to consider are: taking prenatal classes, writing down your birth wishes, and identifying your support people.

What are Prenatal Classes?

Prenatal classes are courses led by a trained childbirth educator to help educate parents on what to expect – both physically and emotionally - during childbirth and the early days of parenting.

For a complete list of prenatal classes in your area, talk to your health care provider. Here are a few suggestions:

What is a Birth Plan?

A birth plan is not really a “plan,” but rather a list of your hopes, preferences, and wishes for your labour and birth that is shared and reviewed with the healthcare team. It can help to improve communication so everyone is on the same page.

Things to consider include how you’d like to be addressed, preferred birthing positions, how you might cope best with labour pain, whether or not you want pain medication in labour, and your preferences if you need medical assistance.

Click here for a copy of a labour and birth guide, including a template for a Birth Plan.

What is a Doula?

A doula is a support person with a sole focus to provide continuous emotional, physical, cultural, and psychological support during labour, childbirth, and throughout the postpartum period. They are hired privately by families prior to coming to the hospital. They do not offer medical care or advice.

Continuous support during labour may improve outcomes for birthing parents and infants, including increased spontaneous vaginal birth, shorter duration of labour, and decreased caesarean birth, instrumental vaginal birth, use of any analgesia, use of regional analgesia, low five-minute Apgar score and negative feelings about childbirth experiences

To access doula services, ask your doctor, midwife, nurse, or local health provider to assist with a referral. You can also contact the Doula Services Association’s Referral Line at 1-877-365-5588 (toll free) or 604-515-5588 within the Lower Mainland.

For more information, please visit:

Indigenous doulas can help support the cultural, spiritual, and traditional needs of Indigenous pregnant people and their families as they prepare to give birth.

For more information visit the Doula Services page on the First Nations Health Authority website.

What are the SmartMom and SmartParent apps?

SmartMom and SmartParent are Canadian prenatal education programs that provide trustworthy educational text messages to guide expectant families through pregnancy. The information is current, evidence-based, and developed by perinatal and child health experts. The program offers topics to discuss with your health care provider and resources available both online and in your local community.

SmartMom and SmartParent are endorsed by the Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada (SOGC) and BC Ministry of Health. At this time, services are only offered in English.

Click here to enroll in SmartMom. Click here to enroll in SmartParent.

Here you can find information on how to access healthcare providers and other services if you are new to Canada.

Our staff humbly and gratefully acknowledge the Richmond Hospital Birth Centre to lie on the unceded traditional homelands of the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh Nations.

Indigenous doulas can help support the cultural, spiritual, and traditional needs of Indigenous pregnant people and families as they prepare to give birth. For more information visit the Doula Services page on the First Nations Health Authority website.

For resources on Indigenous Health Programs: