The Cité-de-la-Santé hospital in Laval is closing more than half of the beds in its maternity ward this weekend because of a high number of births and a significant staffing shortage.
Only six out of 13 obstetrics beds will be available from July 23 at 4 p.m. until July 26 at 4 p.m.
Obstetrics activities have increased in several hospitals across the province, putting pressure on Quebec's health-care system, which is already facing a nursing shortage.
Hospitals in the neighbouring regions of Lanaudière and the Laurentians will be asked to take on the overflow of patients if they have the capacity.
"We want to avoid transfers as much as possible," Geneviève Goudreault, assistant director of the Integrated Health and Social Services Centre (CISSS) of Laval, said.
The CISSS plans to spread over several days deliveries requiring labour induction and caesarean sections, depending on how busy the Laval maternity ward is.
"The decision is always based on safety," she said.
Several Montreal hospitals are also in a fragile state, but could be asked to accept additional patients if necessary.
In anticipation of the high number of deliveries this summer and the lack of skilled workers, the CISSS had implemented various measures in the spring, from recruiting volunteers to training staff working in other services.
But the staff holidays made the drop in services inevitable.
Goudreault says the CISSS has about 70 vacant positions, despite recruitment efforts.