Are you planning, pregnant or postpartum? If so, I’m going to tell you something healthcare providers probably won’t. You should be the primary decision maker in your own care! Our reactive healthcare system has trained us to be passive in our care and that should not be the case. If you don’t consider yourself an informed decision maker when it comes to your health, pregnancy is the time to start.
Often you seek medical attention once you are already sick; however, pregnancy is totally different. Most pregnant people are healthy, so our traditional thinking needs to change. We shouldn’t just react; we should proactively seek to maintain our wellness. Your OB or midwife are focused on managing your pregnancy, responding to complications and giving you the clinical information you need. Beyond their clinical responsibilities they have little time to focus on your wellness and ensuring you feel your best. That’s where complementary care providers come in and can make the difference between tolerating a pregnancy and thriving throughout.
Complementary medicine is a group of therapeutic disciplines that can be used in combination with conventional medicine. Complementary maternity services include chiropractic care, pelvic floor physiotherapy, lactation support, doula care and much more. These services can help manage the “normal discomforts of pregnancy,” offer needed support and can reduce complications.
The question for many is where to start? “How do I find providers I can trust, and what services do I need?” Many people ask their maternity care provider, friends and family or go to social media for recommendations. This may work for you, but many are frustrated by the conflicting information and the amount of time required to research and book providers. An alternative that many are turning to are wellness networks that have a community of vetted experts experienced in maternity care. Whether you search on your own or work with a company that specializes in maternity wellness, make sure you feel comfortable asking questions to ensure each provider is a good fit for you. Many providers offer complimentary discovery calls that allow you to discuss the type of care they can provide. This helps you decide if you want them as part of your wellness team – so be sure to take advantage of that.
Everyone’s proactive care needs are different, but you should try to think of it as a journey and choose where you need support. During early pregnancy you may work with a naturopath to help combat the nausea and fatigue that is common during the first trimester. Since naturopaths offer holistic care they can continue to work with you throughout pregnancy to help you maintain the right diet and lifestyle choices to feel your best throughout pregnancy. During the second trimester perhaps you start seeing a chiropractor to help maintain your posture and to decrease back pain. Another great addition to anyone’s wellness team is a pelvic floor physiotherapist. They can help you prepare for labour and play a big role in your postpartum recovery. Doula services during labour and postpartum can provide invaluable support. Finally, services initiated during pregnancy can also be helpful for postpartum recovery and some can be beneficial to your newborn as well. Unfortunately, maternity care doesn’t continue into the postpartum period and as such the “fourth trimester” is often overlooked. Everyone should have access to an expert led postpartum recovery program to heal from the demands of pregnancy and birth.
Too often, maternity services are thought of as a luxury instead of a necessity. We would never expect someone to run a marathon without training or expect them to recover without any assistance, yet this is exactly what we expect from people after childbirth. Society makes pregnancy, birth and postpartum recovery seem trivial. For that reason, people incorrectly believe they don’t require special care or services during this time. This couldn’t be more wrong! Take charge of your wellness and build your team of supportive holistic care providers. Nurturing and caring for yourself during pregnancy positively impacts your health and the health of your baby.