By Trudi Rumball, Registered Acupuncturist
Such an exciting moment when you get a positive on your pee test!! For some, it is a moment they have been desperately waiting for, and for others it may be a total surprise. Regardless, it is a moment filled with ALL the emotions. Soooo now what?
If you want to have a midwife for your pregnancy care, put down your pregnancy test immediately and apply. Seriously though, the wait list is long, and our midwives are not adequately funded by the government to meet the amount of mothers who want to have a midwife. In my opinion, every woman should have the opportunity to have a midwife and I hope that Alberta Health Services eventually increases the funding allotted for midwives.
What is a midwife? A midwife is a health professional who is medically trained in pregnancy, birth and postpartum care. If you get accepted into midwifery care, you will meet with your midwife throughout your pregnancy, the same as you would a doctor, because they can administer all the same tests, do check ups, give requisitions for ultrasounds and required testing, and help deliver your baby! They also provide care 6 weeks postpartum for you and your baby. With a midwife, you have choice of where you want to birth, whether it’s at home, a birth center or a hospital. I was fortunate enough to receive midwifery care for both of my pregnancies, and my experiences were phenomenal.
If you have a high-risk pregnancy or do not want/get a midwife, my recommendation is to do your research. Tour the hospitals; research the GP’s or OB’s where you want to deliver. Read reviews on RateMD, Crowd Source on Facebook, or through friends to hear about other mother’s experiences.
Hire a doula! What’s a doula, you ask? A doula is a trained birth coach. You meet with your doula during your pregnancy to go over your birth plan, and she can answer all your questions and inform you what your choices are for your birth. When you go into labor, she will be there with you, for the entire experience.
Why do you need a doula if you have a midwife and a partner? A midwife may get to your birth and check to make sure you and baby are doing well, but if you are in early labor, they will likely have to leave and come back later (when things are progressing more). Midwives have many ‘courses of care’ and are needed by other clients, so they are rarely able to be with their client at the early stages through to the end. A doula is someone that you hire privately, and they can stay with you throughout your labor, help with pain management, and provide emotional support for you and your partner. For example, imagine if you are at a hospital with an amazing nurse, and her shift ends. She needs to go home. Maybe the next nurse does not have the same energy or bedside manor as the previous nurse. If you have a doula, your birth support is constant throughout the entire process. If you are planning to have your baby at home, it is another set of hands to help set up the birth space, do hip squeezes, prepare warm towels, refresh water and give your partner a break without leaving the birthing mother alone. Every birth I have ever attended, the partners have been so grateful to have that extra support.
How much does a doula cost? Anywhere from $500 to $1200 in Edmonton. It is well-worth the investment. I also would encourage you to do research on doulas. There are over 100 doulas in the Edmonton area, and many offer extra training such as massage, acupuncture, hypnobirthing or When Survivors Give Birth. Find a doula that fits you and what you require for your birth. Doulas do free consults as well, so interview a few!
Inform yourselves. Do prenatal classes, whether it is private or in a group, to educate yourselves on the process, the interventions, the good the bad and the ugly. Know what you want for your birth. Birth doesn’t always go as planned, but it is so vital to know what your choices are and what every situation means.
Self-care is also essential. It is safe to continue chiropractic, massage, craniosacral, acupuncture and osteopathy. However, you must inform your health care providers and make sure they have prenatal training. Continuing self-care throughout your pregnancy keeps your body and mind relaxed and reduces stress and tension, which inevitability leads to a better birth experience.