Chapter 4 Infographic: Labour and birth in Canada

389,912 births a year in Canada

Where women give birth in Canada

  • Hospital
  • Home
  • Birthing Centre

The majority of women

  • report that their overall experience of labour and birth was positive
  • had their husband or partner with them during labour and birth
  • 6% of women of reproductive age have a disability
  • 46% of adult women are overweight or obese
  • 27% of pregnancies are affected by a chronic illness
  • 3% of all births are multiple births
  • 20% of all births are among women over 35 years old
  • 8% of infants are born prematurely
  • 4% of total births are affected by a congenital anomaly


  • Epidural rates have risen from 53.2% in 2006/07 to 57.8% in 2015/16.
  • Induction rates have risen from 12.9% in 1991/92 to 21.8% in 2004/05.
  • Assisted vaginal birth rates have declined from 17.4% in 1991/92 to 13.2% in 2015/16. The rate of vacuum extraction has increased from 6.8% to 9.2% while the rate of forceps-assisted birth has declined from 11.2% to 3.4% over that same period.
  • Caesarean births have risen from 17.6% in 1995/96 to 27.9% in 2015/16.
  • Vaginal births after caesarean (VBAC) have declined dramatically, with the repeat caesarean birth rate having increased from 64.7% in 1995/96 to 81.0% in 2015/16.

For references consult Chapter 4: Care during Labour and Birth in: Public Health Agency of Canada. Family-Centred Maternity and Newborn Care: National Guidelines. Ottawa (ON): PHAC; 2018.

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