The first step after finding out you’re pregnant is finding a caregiver. There are a few options in Calgary: family doctors specializing in maternity, obstetricians, and midwives. If you choose to go with a family doctor or an obstetrician, you will be referred to a specialist through your current doctor. It is important to speak to your doctor as soon as you know you are pregnant to make plans for care during your pregnancy.
If you are interested in midwifery care, immediately reach out to try and get in touch with one of the many midwifery clinics in Calgary or surrounding area. To fill out a registration form for midwifery care, go to the Alberta Association of Midwives’ website, alberta-midwives.ca/find. It is important to note that registering on their site is not a guarantee for acceptance because there are not enough midwives throughout Alberta, so reach out to individual midwifery clinics to inquire.
The next step is seeking educational support during your pregnancy as well as for your upcoming role as a new parent
Many people are unaware that there are several choices for prenatal and perinatal education, so do your research.
In Calgary and area, you can register for prenatal and parenting classes through the Alberta Health Services Perinatal Education Program, Birth & Babies, birthandbabies.com. They offer over 30 different courses for everyone in your family and network: expectant parents, moms, dads, siblings, caregivers, and grandparents. Costs range from free of charge (one class for two hours) to $235 (10 classes for two hours).
There are several private companies and associations that offer classes, as well. There are many philosophies and styles for preparing for birth and parenting, including Lamaze, HypnoBirthing, Birthing From Within, and the Bradley Method. Ideally, your instructor or educator should have training in multiple methods, so you get the best of everything. Prices vary. You can get some classes for free, there are stand-alone classes for $30 to $50, and there is also a series of classes ranging in price from $140 to $450. These classes are definitely not created equal, so make sure you get the information on class size, what topics are included, how many classes are included, your educator’s experience and training. Everyone has different priorities for the classes they want to take, so make sure the ones you choose include what is important to you.
Now it is important to consider your support team
Are you considering a doula but unsure of what a doula’s role is? A doula will provide you with hands-on support and expertise to guide you during birth. They can provide you with informational support for common medical language and procedures used during labour, and they can help you navigate any decision-making you may encounter during this time. Physical support during labour can include helpful positions, massage techniques, and providing you with hot or cold compresses and hydration. Emotional support can include helping boost your confidence, encouraging your efforts, and helping to keep you calm.
In addition, a doula can enhance your partner’s support role, giving your partner suggestions on how they can help you, and showing your partner helpful tips to better support you. For a list of doulas in Calgary, visit Calgary Doula Association’s website, calgarydoulas.ca, or visit the Doula Match’s website, doulamatch.net. It is a good idea to interview several doulas to get a good match, and it is important to ask about their experience and fees as they can vary. Fees typically range from $700 to $1,400, depending on the doula’s level of experience.
Once you have a baby, life can become overwhelming; having support postpartum can be a huge help
In Calgary, Post Natal Helpers Ltd. provides part-time child care services for families with newborns, as well as toddlers, preschoolers, and/or special-needs kids. Among other prenatal classes, Kindred Hearts YYC offers a one-day weekend course on what to expect postpartum. Calgary Birth Essentials supports families through their pregnancy, birth, and beyond with childbirth education, birth and postpartum doula support, breastfeeding, and early parenting education.
Considering a postpartum doula can be another great investment option. A postpartum doula can help you learn the skills involved with having a new baby such as swaddling, bathing and diapering, and they can also help you with sleep strategies, easy meal support, and supplies.
A postpartum doula can help you get more rest or help with your newborn, so you can spend some time with your other children. Many postpartum doulas will do overnight shifts, as well. For a list of postpartum doulas available in Calgary, visit the Calgary Doula Association’s website, calgarydoulas.ca. Prices typically range from $25 to $40 an hour.
Knowing the community resources available to you can help make this exciting time of transition a smoother ride. Be sure to have everything in place so you can enjoy your time during pregnancy, birth, and life with your new baby.
Sharon is the owner of Calgary Birth Essentials. For more information, call 403-803-7467 or visit calgarybirthessentials.com.
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