It’s important to receive early and consistent prenatal care. In Calgary, Family Doctors, Obstetricians, and Midwives look after your medical needs and deliver your baby. If you have a Family Doctor, start there. They will conform your pregnancy and help you create a plan of action. For those that do not have a family doctor, you can contact Healthlink for a list of practicioners that are accepting new patients. If you would prefer midwifery care in Alberta, you should fill out the Request for Care, even if there are no midwives currently serving your area.
Depending on your health, any complications that may arise in your pregnancy, and what your goals are, you will have different needs. If your pregnancy becomes high-risk (meaning you and/or your baby are at an increased risk) you will be referred to an Obstetrician. Most pregnant people can continue to be cared for by their doctor or receive midwifery care.
When choosing the right primary care provider for you and your baby you can ask several questions to help establish if the doctor/midwife’s philosophies align with your own.
Where do you deliver babies?
Doctors deliver in hospitals. In Alberta midwives may attend homebirths, hospital births, or work within a birth center.
Will you be the one who attends my baby’s birth? If not, who will?
In most cases doctors share call within their practise. You can expect that some one on their team will attend your baby’s birth, depending who is on call. Many of our local midwives work within a partnership or two person team. Much like our on call system here at Chinook City Doulas, you will meet with both of the midwives regularly and can expect that one of them will attend your birth.
What routine tests, appointment schedule, and procedures can I expect throughout my pregnancy and postpartum period?
How often will you see you care provider? When and how many ultrasounds should you expect? When will you have internal exams? What other tests will you have?
What options do you support for my pregnancy and birth?
You may want to consider whether specific tests are optional, what your doctors protocols are for labor, birthing positions, medication, induction, and more. If you have strong feeling about a specific procedure you should bring it up now.
How will I be supported for feeding?
Ideally, your primary care giver is comfortable supporting all types of infant feeding and can provide you with the support you need. In hospital, you will receive some support from the postpartum nurses and be referred to the staff Lactation Consultant should difficulties arise.
Further, you can expect a visit from the Postpartum Community Care team who will connect you to a Lactation Consultant, if needed. Midwives may have different levels of support they are comfortable providing. You can also have a Labour Doula or Postpartum Doula to provide private support, in addition to the medical care you receive.
Choosing the right primary care provider for you, your baby, and your family can have a significant impact on your birth experience. Choose some one you feel comfortable with, that you can talk openly to, and who’s opinions you trust.