Canmore Hospital to Extend Quality Birthing Experience to More Bow Valley Mothers

For Jackie Robertson, the delivery of her daughter, Hadley, at the Canmore General Hospital meant more than a convenient location. The hospital has two private rooms dedicated to women in labour.** Robertson’s positive birth experience didn’t start the day she went into labour, but weeks before, in November 2015 when she experienced symptoms that can signal pre-term labour.

During her two-night stay, Robertson described the nurses as “so responsive to what was happening and they made me feel comfortable and safe and same with the doctors that were here.”

This experience deeply touched her, Robertson said, and made her excited to give birth at the Canmore General Hospital. Robertson did not go into labour that day, but on February 3, 2016, she gave birth to her daughter, Hadley, in one of the two dedicate labour and delivery rooms at the hospital – the same room her own mother had given birth to her in nearly 30 years earlier.

The delivery rooms are private, away from the bustle of the emergency department, equipped with space for her husband to spend the night. Ultimately, for Robertson, it was the continued intimate care she received that really made the experience stand out.

Robertson was surprised to see her delivering nurse stay after her shift to see the birth through and to meet the new arrival. “They see this every day, so you’d kind of expect it’s just a job, but she wanted to be there to the end to witness it,” said Robertson.

She had heard warnings that, in larger hospitals, you shouldn’t expect to see your delivering doctor until the very end of your labour, so Jackie was happily surprised when it turned out this was not the case.

Dr. Peter Sullivan “was popping his head in from the minute I was admitted until right when she was born, so I saw him constantly throughout the day,” said Robertson.

Over the years, the Canmore and Area Health Care Foundation has purchased large items for the labour and delivery rooms above and beyond what Alberta Health Services can provide. From infant warming units to birthing beds, and fetal monitoring equipment with a telemetry function. “Most small, rural community hospitals would not have that,” Barb Shellian, Director for Rural Health.

The equipment donations have ranged from $10,000-$40,000 each, but the largest contribution to the obstetrics unit is currently under way, courtesy of foundation, said Shellian. The foundation is funding the cost to expand the unit from two to four beds, with an estimated cost of at least $750,000.

With a growing community, the addition will be immediately put to good use. When Robertson came by for her checkups near the end of her term, she often heard “you don’t want to go into labour yet, there are four women currently in labour and there are only two labour and delivery rooms,” she said.

Of course, the hospital always has room to accommodate deliveries, but the two additional rooms will allow for all mothers-to-be to experience the same level of privacy while giving birth.

**Update: The Canmore General Hospital celebrated the opening of the two new additional labour and delivery rooms in July 2017.


Jackie Robertson gave birth to her daughter Hadley at the Canmore General Hospital. Robertson’s mother gave birth to her in the same hospital room nearly 30 years prior.

ken Pillipow