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Birth and child care in UK/Canada differences

Birth and child care in UK/Canada differences

Old Oct 19th 2015, 5:44 am
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Default Birth and child care in UK/Canada differences

My Canadian wife and I are returning to the UK in January and are due to have our first child in April.

Obviously this is the first one for us but I'd be keen to know what are the major differences between the UK and Canada around birth. For example, I know baby showers are not commonplace in the UK as they are in N America and midwives in the UK, far from being wishy washy doula style birth companions (as at least is my wife's impression of their position in Canada) are the footsoldiers of the U.K. Maternity system.

She also seems completely perplexed by the idea of a toddler group or playgroup - the sort they have at the local church hall where the mums stay for a cup of tea while the children play. She seems convinced that because most are held at a church hall, it must be a bible study group or indoctrination session of some sort.

Advice would be most welcome.
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Old Oct 19th 2015, 11:54 am
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Default Re: Birth and child care in UK/Canada differences

It's been a very long time since I gave birth *anywhere* , but I seem to remember posting about this before and ranking France 1, UK 2, Canada 3, in terms of giving birth & post-natal care for both mother and baby. (3 being good/adequate).

My sister *did* have a baby very recently in the UK, and there was minimal interaction with doctors; mainly midwives then health visitors (I don't think that's what they call 'em officially anymore), who we both think are the bees knees .


As far as the mother & baby/toddler/play groups go, think of the "church hall" as a community centre equivalent. I.e. Just because it's called a "church hall" doesn't mean the church (any church) has anything to do with the activities based there, other than renting/providing the space.
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Old Oct 19th 2015, 2:32 pm
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Default Re: Birth and child care in UK/Canada differences

Originally Posted by tweed_wearer View Post
She seems convinced that because most are held at a church hall, it must be a bible study group or indoctrination session of some sort.
My first thought was that for that to be the case, Canada would be where it happened, not the UK.

But then maybe that's why she's thinking it because that's exactly what might be expected here. Probably they start the day with a rendition of Oh Canada too.

Originally Posted by Shirtback View Post
As far as the mother & baby/toddler/play groups go, think of the "church hall" as a community centre equivalent. I.e. Just because it's called a "church hall" doesn't mean the church (any church) has anything to do with the activities based there, other than renting/providing the space.
Yep.

How many ever went to a jumble sale thinking ultimately they'd go to heaven.
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Old Oct 19th 2015, 3:39 pm
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Default Re: Birth and child care in UK/Canada differences

Originally Posted by tweed_wearer View Post
My Canadian wife and I are returning to the UK in January and are due to have our first child in April.

Obviously this is the first one for us but I'd be keen to know what are the major differences between the UK and Canada around birth. For example, I know baby showers are not commonplace in the UK as they are in N America and midwives in the UK, far from being wishy washy doula style birth companions (as at least is my wife's impression of their position in Canada) are the footsoldiers of the U.K. Maternity system.
That was the big difference for us. Our oldest 2 were born in Toronto where a doctor came by periodically while my wife was in labour and in attendance for the actual birth. Our 3rd was born in the UK (London) where it was a midwife and a couple of nurses which was a bit unnerving as our son had the umbilical cord wrapped around his neck upon exit.

Originally Posted by tweed_wearer View Post
She also seems completely perplexed by the idea of a toddler group or playgroup - the sort they have at the local church hall where the mums stay for a cup of tea while the children play. She seems convinced that because most are held at a church hall, it must be a bible study group or indoctrination session of some sort.
They have them at local community centres too. Atheists welcome!
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Old Oct 19th 2015, 7:26 pm
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Default Re: Birth and child care in UK/Canada differences

I was a Midwife for many many years in the UK. You will be fine. The midwife will carry out all of the care and deliver the baby, but the doctor will be on hand should any major problems occur, so you get the best of both worlds! Postnatally the midwife will visit you in the home and then handover to the Health Visitor. I agree about the church playgroups, they are not usually religious groups just a venue for everyone to get together. Good luck with everything!
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Old Oct 19th 2015, 11:58 pm
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Default Re: Birth and child care in UK/Canada differences

I don't know anywhere in the UK that had a daycare in a church

Everything you mention is neither here nor there in the scheme of having a kid. What matters is you're close to people who can pitch in when you're knackered beyond belief or you want to pop out for a drink or dinner without the kid.

In our experience, the UK (Hertfordshire, London, Yorkshire) has better access to childcare, toddler group, and other child/parent friendly facilities than Canada (Vancouver, Lower mainland).

Also, baby showers were quite common in the UK when i was around.
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Old Oct 20th 2015, 12:05 am
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Default Re: Birth and child care in UK/Canada differences

Thanks all.
We will be in Leeds with family elsewhere in Yorkshire, South Manchester and North Manchester. For childcare and a helping hand it certainly beats Vancouver with a mother-in-law in Northern Sask.
All of the playgroups I have found in our intended area of Leeds are in Church halls. I know very well that they are not religious groups (my mum took me to one myself, when I was in short trousers), however, I wanted to know why my wife found the concept of the volunteer-run playgroup so baffling.
I find it slightly surprising that the UK does volunteer-run playgroups on a more extensive level than Canada given the much greater emphasis in Canada on volunteering.
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Old Oct 20th 2015, 12:07 am
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Default Re: Birth and child care in UK/Canada differences

and El Richo, I'm sure that baby showers have grown in populatity as an American import, however, in Yorkshire, not so much. At work there is a whip-round where people put a couple of quid in an envelope and sign a card for you (boss usually puts in a tenner) and one of the secretaries takes it to Mothercare (Mamas&Pappas if you're lucky)
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Old Oct 20th 2015, 2:45 am
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Default Re: Birth and child care in UK/Canada differences

I had my babies in the UK and have only good things to say about the experience. I was a bit nervous about having a midwife instead of an OB, but I really need not have worried. She was amazing. I loved the continuity of care from midwife to health visitor. I loved that they came to my house when my babies were newborn. With my second pregnancy, which was twins, I had shared care between my midwife and a consultant. The babies were delivered by the midwife. As for baby groups, I didn't really enjoy them. The ones near me were mostly full of child minders who let their kids run wild. Some of the groups I went to were held in church halls but none of them was a religious gathering. They weren't run by the church. The ladies who ran them just hired the hall. You can send me a message if you have any questions.
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Old Oct 20th 2015, 3:42 am
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Default Re: Birth and child care in UK/Canada differences

In support of any Canadian Midwives on here, they are definitely not "wishy washy doula style birth companions". They are an alternative to OB GPs- they do everything the GPs can do and ask for help from the specialist Obstetricians at the same point. They give a great personal antenatal care through to delivering the baby. I think the OP's wife means Obstetric nurses who have a more supportive role in labour although they are still hugely important and personally I wouldn't describe them as wishy washy or doulas.
Becoming trained as a midwife in Canada is fiercely competitive, so I hope the ones that make it are the best of the best! We have a couple of highly experienced ones locally and personally I think they work at a slightly higher level than the UK, but maybe we are just very lucky! The attitude of other doctors was very negative towards them when we arrived but that seems to have changed. Attitudes of the older generation of locals haven't changed- some see them as almost "witch doctors", but fortunately word has spread amongst the mums , making the midwives extremely difficult to get in with.
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Old Oct 20th 2015, 4:22 am
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Default Re: Birth and child care in UK/Canada differences

In Canada, I believe the team of midwives you see during your pregnancy are the same midwives that will deliver your baby at the hospital. In the UK, the midwife you see during your pregnancy is a community midwife who doesn't work at the hospital. Hospital midwives deliver your baby. When I delivered, I had never met the midwives before. It was odd, but I still think the system in the UK is good. My community midwife came to see me at home after the babies were born. I didn't have any babies in Canada, so I can't say which is a better experience.
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Old Oct 20th 2015, 5:15 pm
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Default Re: Birth and child care in UK/Canada differences

Originally Posted by tweed_wearer View Post
and El Richo, I'm sure that baby showers have grown in populatity as an American import, however, in Yorkshire, not so much. At work there is a whip-round where people put a couple of quid in an envelope and sign a card for you (boss usually puts in a tenner) and one of the secretaries takes it to Mothercare (Mamas&Pappas if you're lucky)
Maybe it's just North and East Yorkshire that do them (apart from Hull, the parents give Dodgy Carl a list and he goes nicks stuff from the shops as a present). I was at one back in the Spring when we were home.

Surely your missus knows that if it's not from Yorkshire, it's shite.

Enjoy. I'm jealous!
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Old Oct 20th 2015, 8:09 pm
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Default Re: Birth and child care in UK/Canada differences

Originally Posted by tweed_wearer View Post
My Canadian wife and I are returning to the UK in January and are due to have our first child in April.

Obviously this is the first one for us but I'd be keen to know what are the major differences between the UK and Canada around birth. For example, I know baby showers are not commonplace in the UK as they are in N America and midwives in the UK, far from being wishy washy doula style birth companions (as at least is my wife's impression of their position in Canada) are the footsoldiers of the U.K. Maternity system.

She also seems completely perplexed by the idea of a toddler group or playgroup - the sort they have at the local church hall where the mums stay for a cup of tea while the children play. She seems convinced that because most are held at a church hall, it must be a bible study group or indoctrination session of some sort.

Advice would be most welcome.
The bit about church halls is what I thought when I came to Canada- far more playgroups here in the local church hall than back in the UK but they aren't run by religious types- although my local community here is far more religious than where I used to live in UK. I'm getting used to it

I've also had babies in both countries and all three with midwives.. I felt safer in the UK but probably because where we live now is about an hour away from first big hospital unit and two hours from Toronto. There wasn't any local anaesthetic cover when I had my third here.. I figured I shouldn't need it based on the other two births but had I needed one quickly it would have been a case of ringing all local anaesthetists to see if one was available
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Old Oct 20th 2015, 8:53 pm
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Default Re: Birth and child care in UK/Canada differences

Originally Posted by el_richo View Post
I don't know anywhere in the UK that had a daycare in a church.
I *do* know of non-denominational/not religious playgroups & daycare in church *halls* in the UK from the late sixties to the present day.

Mainly Yorkshire (West & North), but also Co. Durham, Essex and London.

(I attended in Eldwick & Harlow; nephew & niece attended/attend in t'other locations )

Last edited by Shirtback; Oct 20th 2015 at 8:59 pm.
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Old Oct 20th 2015, 9:59 pm
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Default Re: Birth and child care in UK/Canada differences

Originally Posted by Shirtback View Post
I *do* know of non-denominational/not religious playgroups & daycare in church *halls* in the UK from the late sixties to the present day.

Mainly Yorkshire (West & North), but also Co. Durham, Essex and London.

(I attended in Eldwick & Harlow; nephew & niece attended/attend in t'other locations )
Maybe where i grew up it was because the churches were always trying to pay for a new roof so not many people wanted their kids playing in a run down fantasy land
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