NWT’s birthing tubs, well past their due date, will soon be available

Inside a birthing room in the new maternity ward
Inside a birthing room at Stanton Territorial Hospital. James O'Connor/Cabin Radio

Birthing tubs at the new Stanton Territorial Hospital will at last be available by the end of December, but only “for pain management during labour,” the territory’s health authority said.

The tubs were one of the most keenly anticipated features of the new hospital when it opened in May 2019, but so far nobody has been able to use them.

In February, hospital managers said the problem was a lack of trained staff.

Now, the NWT’s health authority says staff training is expected this month and the tubs “will be in use by the end of December.”



The health authority said “some minor equipment” was still needed, as was a final review of policies and procedures, to ensure the tubs can open once training is complete.

However, there is a catch. You won’t be able to simply request a birthing tub.

“Planned water births (or immersion births) – where a decision is made in advance that the baby will be delivered in the water – will not be available at the time of the tubs being put into service,” a spokesperson for the health authority told Cabin Radio this week.

“When the tubs are first put into service, they will be initially used for pain management during labour.

“Actual water births, where the baby is delivered in the water, will be phased in at a later time.”