This timeline includes some of the significant events in the history of women’s and maternal health.

Isolated Maternity Ward, Nurses’ Home, Winnipeg General Hospital, ca. 1900

1881 (3 Jan) – Female admitted to Winnipeg General Hospital (WGH) for ‘accouchement’ (the process of giving birth to a baby)

1883 – Woman admitted for ‘pregnancy’ and discharged as “cured”

1883 – Christian Women’s Union opens a house on Bannatyne and McDermot to be used as a maternity hospital for “unfortunate girls, poor married women, and rural patients who might come to the city to secure good medical attention”

1883 (Dec) – the WGH Board moved not to accept any more “lying-in” (bed rest after birth, ranging in longevity from between two weeks to two months) cases since a Maternity Home had opened in the city

1895 (13 Sept) – First Caesarean section performed at WGH (by Dr. Andrew McDiarmid and Dr. J. S. Gray, patient was Mrs. William Gordon)

1888 – Christian Women’s Union Maternity Hospital closes, and asks WGH to take over responsibility for patients

1888 – Maternity facility at WGH opens, with opposition from some doctors

Drawings of buildings, 1888, Safeguarding Motherhood Official Opening of Maternity Pavilion Booklet, 1950, Pg. 22. HSC Archives/Museum 2009.11.17

1892 – 81 patients admitted to Maternity with 73 confinements

1898 – Misericordia Hospital provides maternity services

1904 – Grace Hospital provides maternity services

1911 – Maternity Building closes for five months, possibly due to an outbreak of scarlett fever in the city

1911 – Maternity building torn down to make room for new Nurses’ Home; Maternity Hospital moves into the Annex Nurses’ Home

1912 – Victoria Hospital provides maternity services

1913 – WGH East and West Wing additions opened. Maternity wards opened on West 4 and West 5

Nursery on Maternity Floor, Winnipeg General Hospital, babies in trolley being taken to their mothers for feeding, ca. 1914. HSC Archives/Museum 999.4.18

1913 – Gynecology clinic held twice a week in out-Patient Department

1916 – St. Boniface Hospital Maternity Wing opens

1917 – Pediatric Clinic opens

1919 – Venereal Disease clinic opens

1920 – Prenatal Clinic opens

1923 – The Department of Obstetrics enlarged; Dr. F.G. McGuinness and Dr. W.F. Abbott appointed Clinical Assistants in Obstetrics

1924 – 16-bed North Arm is reserved for venereal diseases in Women

1926 – Postnatal Clinic opens under the Social Service Department

1928 – Concordia Hospital provides maternity services

1931 – Over 1,000 births were recorded at WGH, the first time this milestone was reached

1932 – Dr. O. Bjornson, Obstetrician retires as Professor of Obstetrics and Dr. R.B. Mitchell appointed

1935 – Dr. Elinor Black appointed Assistant Obstetrician and Dr. Blake Watson, Assistant Gynecologist

1936 – An attractive Maternity Annex, with accommodation for four patients, nursery and service room, is created by closing in the open W4 Balcony

1938 – Manitoba selected by Canadian Medical Association as the district for a two-year Pregnancy Survey

1941 – Alteration of two public ward rooms on West 4 and acquisition of space on “G” flat provides ten additional semi-private beds and two public ward beds for the Obstetrical Department

1941 – Dr. Ross Mitchell resigned as Obstetrician and Dr. F.G. McGuinness was appointed

1944 – Winnipeg Rh Laboratory was established in Children’s Hospital

1945 – Special Committee appointed for the planning and development of a modern maternity pavilion at Winnipeg General Hospital, dedicated to the Mothers of Manitoba

1946 – Foundation of the Maternity Pavilion completed; excavations for new Maternity Pavilion began in autumn, with 72 reinforced concrete piles driven down to hard-pan at a cost of $34,167.00

1947 – A Newborn Service – predecessor to Neonatology – is established under the direction of the Pediatrician and the Pediatric Staff

1947 – Cervical cancer detection begins at Winnipeg General Hospital

1947 – Request from the City of Winnipeg that all doctors be given equal opportunity to send patients to the new Maternity unit regardless of race, creed, religion, or association of doctor

Obstetrical data, 1948, Safeguarding Motherhood Official Opening of Maternity Pavilion Booklet, 1950, Pg. 10, HSC Archives/Museum 998.13.68 F4_SF2_P1_016

1948 – Contract for the new Maternity Pavilion is awarded to Bird Construction Company Limited, with work commencing in the last week of June; by the end of the year the steel and concrete structure was completed and four of the five storeys had been bricked in

1949 – Outbreak of Hemolytic steaphloccus aureus in maternity wards of most Greater Winnipeg hospitals emphasizes need for the new, separate, maternity building

1950 (January) – Volunteers solicit contributions from citizens, businesses, and industrial firms to equip Maternity Pavilion with latest technology in patient care, linens, and furniture

1950 (26 April) – Maternity Pavilion opens at 700 Notre Dame, officiated by Mr. John T. Boyd

1950 (6 May) – First patient admitted ahead of schedule amid influx of patients from St. Boniface General Hospital to WGH due to flood-related closures, necessitating immediate transfer of patients from WGH maternity wards to Maternity Building; transfers began at 2:00 pm and were completed by 4:00 pm, with the first meal arriving at 5:00 pm

1950 (6 May) – First baby born  at 2:57 pm, daughter to Mrs. Walter Goosen (Also spelled Goossen and Gossin) who had been evacuated from Morris hospital due to spring flooding; in total three babies were born on first day of operation

Maternity Pavilion, 1989. HSC Archives/Museum

1950 – Only two floors of Maternity Pavilion are open due to nursing shortage

1950 – First set of twins, the 453rd birth, were Sharon Roslyn and Larry Bruce Decter

1950 – Transfer of full-term and premature infants from old Maternity wing to Pavilion

1951 – White Cross Guild donated 100 copper vases to Maternity Pavilion

1951 – Dr. McGuinness, Obstetrics-Gynecology – a staunch advocate for a separate Maternity Pavilion – resigned due to his age

1951 (18 Jan) – West 5, a former maternity ward, re-opens for women’s surgery

1952 – X-ray unit operates in Maternity Pavilion for chest x-rays and obstetrical roentgenology (radiology)

1953 – Half of the third floor opens; lack of space for other services such as locker rooms and record offices

1953 – Cytology exams begin

1954 – Goodwin Shovels (vaginal retractors) developed at WGH

1956 – Rh Lab moves from Children’s Hospital to the Maternity Pavilion

Nutritional Lab in Women’s Pavilion, ca. 1950. HSC Archives/Museum 998.13.68 F4_SF2_P1_016

1956 – 5th floor of Maternity Pavilion is converted from student residence to semi-private wards for gynecological patients

1957 (1 April) – Maternity Pavilion becomes Women’s Pavilion to reflect expanding functions and services in the area of women’s health

1957 (April) – Gynecology operating room established on 4th floor Women’s Pavilion

1957 – Infective Ward on West 1 opens

1959 – Gynecological services double with opening of Ward S5, and a second operating room opens

1959 – Women’s Pavilion is fully operational, and is already over capacity

1960 (4 March) – Tunnel joins the Maternity Pavilion to the rest of the WGH complex

1960 – Premature Nursery relocated to the first floor of the Pavilion; Intensive Care Nursery is ready, waiting for staff

1960 – Gynecology Clinics now held in the Out-Patient Department of the Pavilion

1961 – School of Nursing begins concurrent teaching program in Obstetrics

1961 – Kitchen and dining room in Women’s Pavilion is closed; a small cafeteria remains in operation

1961 – A tocodynamometer (measures frequency and duration of uterine contractions) and a Birtheeze (air-tight compression chamber to relieve pain) have been added to the Labour floor

1962 – Patients are now discharged on the fifth post-partum day due to nursing shortages

1963 – Gynecology Ward placed under 24-hour supervision to improve continuity of care for patients

1963 – Miss K.M. Clarke becomes Administrative Assistant in charge of Obstetrics and Gynecology wards

1964 (Jan) – First fetal (intrauterine) blood transfusion in North America

1964 – Dr. T.M. Roulston became the first full-time head of newly established Obstetrics and Gynecology Department

1964 – P.K.U. heel test instituted

1964 – Dr. Elinor Black retires, but continued to teach clinics until her death in January 1982

1965 – Revision to the School of Nursing program in Obstetrical Nursing to include more emphasis on adolescent mothers, unwed teenage mothers, dental care, grief and community health services

1965 – Family Planning Clinic, established by Dr. T.M. Roulston, opens

1965 – Clinic for abnormal prenatal cases opens

1965 – Beds on S1 converted to minor gynecology cases and isolation wards, to be used for Obstetric overflow if necessary

1966 – Ultrasound services begin

Rh Lab, 1965. HSC Archives/Museum

1967 – T-1 Nursery space expanded for intensive care of infants; Infant Tracheotomy Trays initiated, Intra-Uterine Trays increased, Infant Resuscitation Trays increased

1967 – City and provincial health nurses meet with the Head Nurse and Supervisors regarding care of patients after discharge from the Pavilion

1967 – Obstetrical Nursing course places emphasis on the family-centred approach to child bearing, family planning, growth and development of the infant; student nurses care for same mother and child before, during, and after birth

1967 – Reading and Study room, and two classrooms for students, interns, and residents is constructed in the basement

1968 – Opening of a prenatal clinic for unwed mothers

1968 –Winnipeg growth chart for intra-uterine weight is developed

1968 – First department in Canada to introduce complete testing for sexually transmitted diseases for all prenatal patients

1969 – Monitoring infants in utero begins; Fetal-Maternal Monitoring Unit pilot project is underway

1969 – ‘High-risk’ prenatal clinic continues to grow

1969 – Colposcopy clinic opens

1969 – Clinical Investigation Unit opens

1970 – Changes in the Criminal code regarding therapeutic abortions and sterilizations; Winnipeg General Hospital bears the major share of these procedures, and therapeutic abortions increased significantly

1971 – “Rooming-in” and relaxed clothing for infants allowed; switch to commercially prepared formula

1972 – Agreement is reached with Federal Government to upgrade midwives and nurses for Northern nursing stations, and in Winnipeg hospitals

1972 – Caesarean section room staffed by operating room personnel

1972 – Neonatal Intensive Care officially begins with dedicated Intensive Care Nursery

1973 – Health Sciences Centre Winnipeg was established by the Government of Manitoba; Women’s Pavilion became Women’s Centre

Nurses at Women’s Centre, 1973. HSC Archives/Museum

1973 – Winnipeg Police Union donates newborn intensive care equipment to Women’s Centre

1976 – Women’s Centre first to have a maternity anesthetist available 24 hours a day

1979 – Women’s Centre became Women’s Hospital

1979 – Dr. Frank Manning helps to develop Biophysical Profile Score

1980 – Fetal Assessment Program set up by Dr. Frank Manning

2000.4.13 P4_P2_025 Laurie Temelton with the McLeod Family as they leave the Women's Hospital
Laurie Temelton with the McLeod Family as they leave the Women’s Hospital, 1980s. HSC Archives/Museum 2000.4.13 P4_P2_025

1981 – Neonatal Transport Unit launches, serving an 80 mile radius around Winnipeg

1981 – Gynecologic Oncology Fellowship Program founded by Dr. Garry Krepart

Gynecology Intermediate Care Unit, ca. 1980s. HSC Archives/Museum 1984_1

1981 – Fetal Assessment Unit undertakes a unique screening program for potentially high-risk pregnant women

1981 – Breast Screening Centre established

1982 – Labour and Delivery suites renovated

1985 – 35th Anniversary of Women’s Hospital

35th anniversary of Women’s Hospital promotional button, 1985. HSC Archives/Museum 2015_02_0

1985 – Antenatal Home Care Program established

1986 – Neonatal Intensive Care Unit opens

1986 – Neonatal Transport Unit gets air ambulance

1987 – Pediatric Intensive Care Unit opens

1988 – Dave Branton and Bob Neufeld are the only male nurses employed in a labour and delivery unit in Canada at HSC

1989 – Neonatal Transport Unit supports communities throughout Manitoba, Northwestern Ontario, and Nunavut

1991 – Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative launched through UNICEF to support breastfeeding

1991 – Intermediate Care Nursery opens

1991 – Kangaroo Care (where mother and baby rest skin-to-skin) begins

1993 – Mature Women’s Program created as a joint initiative of the Women’s Hospital Ambulatory Care Department and Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Sciences

1997 – Women’s Units at the Misericordia Hospital (1 April 1997) and Grace Hospital (1 November 1997) close

1998 – Midwifery Education Program upgrades start (end in 2001)

1998 – Breastfeeding Service is developed by Kathy Hamelin

2000 (April) – HSC becomes an operating division of the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority

2000 (September) – Women’s Family Birthplace opens

2002 – Patient Care computers installed at Women’s Hospital, making administration more efficient and allowing more time for patient care

2004 – Bringing Babies and Books Together program starts by distributing Robert Munsch’s Love You Forever to babies born 27 January

2005 – Neonatal Family Support Program/Veteran Parent Program launches

2005 – Intermediate Care Nursery expanded to a third area in the Thorlakson Building in order to accommodate the growing number of babies requiring supportive care

2005 – Breastfeeding resource room available for all students and staff

2006 – Mature Women’s Centre moved to Victoria General Hospital

2007 – HSC Women’s Hospital Redevelopment Project announced

2008 – New I.D. armbands in use on maternity wards

2008 – Province announces $1 million in new supports for maternal and child health services province-wide, including the new Women’s Hospital

2008 – New HSC Women’s Hospital to be located on the former Weston Bakeries site at the corner of Elgin Avenue and Sherbrook Street, with direct connection to HSC Children’s Hospital

2009 – Breastmilk Banking Program established – the first in Manitoba

60th Anniversary of Women’s Hospital pin, 2010

2010 (March) – Deconstruction begins at site of new HSC Women’s Hospital

2010 (May) – Women’s Hospital at 700 Notre Dame celebrates their 60th birthday

2011 (June) – Groundbreaking for the new HSC Women’s Hospital

2011 – Prenatal Connections program in development

2012 – Partners in Inner-City Integrated Prenatal Care Project begins

2013 – Women’s Surgical Unit transitions to a new system of surgical sterilization in preparation for the new building

2013 – Official Project Kick-Off events celebrate progress of new hospital with tours; staff and stakeholders explore three built-to-scale patient rooms (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, Labour/Delivery/ Recovery, and inpatient rooms)

2014 – New HSC Women’s Hospital set to have private patient rooms, and multiple decentralized care stations

2015 – Mothers/Methadone program begins

2016 – Breast Milk Donation Drop site opens in Winnipeg at the Birth Centre; Manitoba mothers can donate their milk for use in NICU at HSC and St. Boniface

2016 – New labour and delivery model of care instituted at Women’s Hospital in preparation for the new HSC Women’s Hospital

2017 – Electronic Patient Record use in Women’s Hospital expands, in preparation for the new HSC Women’s Hospital

2019 – HSC receives additional funding from WRHA for nursing staff due to high demand for obstetrical services

A satisfied customer, ca. 1979. HSC Archives/Museum 2000.4.7 F4_P2_024