Preparing a Professional Support Team

I’ve had a lot of people comment about my post on Ella’s birth story. Most comments were along the lines of “wow, that sounds like such a wonderful birth”. And those people are right – it was. It truly was amazing. And the one thing that kept me calm (mostly) and feeling empowered throughout the process was that I had spent time throughout my pregnancy preparing for the day. Mentally, physically and spiritually. I knew I was more than capable, and I also knew I had lined up professional support in case I needed it.

I used my experience with Henry’s birth to help me prepare. I took all of the great things and carried those with me, and reflected on the less positive aspects of his birth and learned from them.

One thing I struggled with throughout Henry’s birth and postpartum was that I had just moved to a new city and I didn’t know a lot of support people. I had my husband, our amazing team of midwives and my doula, so I felt quite ready, but when issues came up, I felt like those were the only resources I had. When I had issues with breastfeeding, I felt unprepared and didn’t know where to look for resources. So, from that I learned to do my research beforehand. I learned that I should create a list of practitioners and support people who I would be comfortable working with if I needed them. Knowing I had done my research before Ella was born helped me to feel extra ready and calm (so calm in fact, that the nurses didn’t think I was ready to be admitted to the hospital when I was actually 10cm dilated!).

So, I’ve been feeling that I want to share the list of people I think every pregnant woman should have on hand throughout their pregnancy and postpartum. This list isn’t meant to overwhelm, or to send you into a googling frenzy, but simply to get you thinking. My support people were able to help me find the resources I needed, but I like to read reviews, and “ask around” before working with a new support person. I need to know that their methods and view points align with my own. But when issues arise and you want to deal with them quickly, you don’t always have time to research the professionals that you may want to consult.

The list below only includes people who are trained to work with pregnant and postpartum women. Equally as (or perhaps even more) important though, are your personal support people that you need throughout pregnancy and beyond. Those people may include your partner, a family member and/or some close friends. Someday I’ll write a whole post about closing those people, and the importance of the role they can playing your birthing experience.

Even if the list only makes you a little more aware of what type of help you may need, then it has done its job. And in case you are curious, I’ve used every single one of the people in the list below between my two pregnancies.

Types of Support People Pregnant Women and New Moms may need:

  • Midwife – a health professional who provides primary care for healthy women and their babies throughout pregnancy, birth and for a period of postpartum (varies on location, but often is up to 6 weeks postpartum)
  • Obstetrician – a medical doctor who specializes in pregnancy, childbirth and a woman’s reproductive system
  • Doula – a trained professional who provides physical, emotional, and informational support before, during and shortly after childbirth
  • Lactation Consultant – a health professional who specializes in the clinical management of breastfeeding
  • Massage Therapist – great for helping to relieve pain and discomfort throughout pregnancy. Be sure to check your therapist has been trained to work with pregnant women, as the techniques can vary and often they have specific pillows/tables for pregnant women.
  • Chiropractor – very helpful for relieving pain and discomfort throughout pregnancy; can also help to ensure your body is well adjusted and aligned prior to the actual birthing of your baby
  • Nutritionist (Hello! That’s me!) or Dietician – a trained person who can help you with dietary choices and issues throughout pregnancy (nausea, gestational diabetes etc.), and can offer support for a healthy diet postpartum and for breastfeeding. You can check out my services here.
  • Naturopathic Doctor – Can offer a blend of modern scientific knowledge with traditional and natural forms of medicine.
  • Pelvic Floor Physiotherapist – Even if you think you are “fine” after giving birth, I encourage you to see a pelvic floor physio. They can assess and treat pelvic floor dysfunction (leaking, incontinence, painful intercourse etc.) which are common for women who have given birth

There are likely many other professional people that can offer support to pregnant women and new mothers; the list above only touches on a few that you may find helpful. At the very least, I hope the list gets you thinking about the support you may want/need throughout your pregnancy and postpartum period.

Are there any support people in the list above that you hadn’t considered before?

♥ Erin

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