WININIPEG — St. Boniface General Hospital is modernizing and expanding its maternity and gynecological services, adding maternity beds and dramatically increasing the number of private maternity rooms.
Health Minister Theresa Oswald announced Monday that the government would spend $2 million on the renovations
And she said the matter was "personal" for her, recalling her experience giving birth at the hospital nearly four years ago.
Since her pregnancy was considered high risk, she said she was placed in a special ward, but there were no private rooms and her husband was unable to stay with her overnight after she gave birth to her son.
"Singularly the worst part for me, because those rooms were smaller, Dad couldn’t stay overnight. It was the worst thing," she said.
Oswald said private postpartum (after birth) rooms "facilitate the bonding between babies and parents" and also help with infection control.
The renovations will boost the number of postpartum maternity beds to 30 from 27 and increase the number of postpartum private maternity rooms to 23 from three. The hospital will also relocate the gynecological in-patient unit to allow for the development of five additional private rooms.
Lisa Albensi, director of women and child health programming at the hospital, said deliveries at St. B have been rising significantly over the past five years. There are about 5,300 births a year at the hospital — more than half of all births in the city.
Albensi said the renovations will also allow the hospital to expand the number of "courtesy" rooms for mothers who have been discharged but whose babies are still in need of care.
"Especially for our out-of-town moms, this is just going to be fantastic," she said Monday.
The St. B renovations are expected to begin later this fall and be complete in about a year.