If someone planned on having their baby this fall in Portage, there is a chance they may be out of luck. Earlier this month it was announced the Portage District General Hospital Obstetrics unit would be closed on weekends from 12 p.m. Friday until Monday at 7:30 a.m.

This would not only require people to travel to Winnipeg, but they would also have to see brand-new doctor they most likely do not know.

Portage resident Amber Mayer had her first baby at 37 weeks. It's still full-term, but puts her three weeks early from her due date. She notes whether she delivers her next child early, on time, or late, she will still have to go to Winnipeg.

She explains how this is a concern for her. 

"I'm a little stressed out because I have to be further away from my (2-year-old) son while I'm driving to give birth, and I also have to arrange care for my pets while I'm away. The doctors will most likely keep me for 24 hours, so this means 24 hours away from my friends and family. If they want to visit, they'll have to drive in an hour to do that and, especially during harvest season, this makes it harder for my husband, as well."

Exceptions do exist if it's an absolute emergency and a mother is already eight centimetres dilated, and doctors have no choice but to receive them.

"That being said, they would much rather prefer you just go straight to Winnipeg, more specifically, Saint Boniface," adds Mayer. "I'm also concerned that if I end up going into immediate labour and things are progressing very quickly, what happens if I'm already eight centimetres by the time I hit Elie? I'll just have to pull over and call for an ambulance if I'm alone. It's very frustrating in a modern-day like 2023 to be going through something like this."


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