7 Prenatal Resources We Loved During Pregnancy
Here at Maples to Mountains we like to keep things local and as down-to-earth as possible. There are so many ‘how-to’s’ and ‘what you should do’s’ online everywhere that can make life, especially pregnant life, overwhelming. So we’ve decided to each share five of our favourite resources in our location to help those of you search for and potentially use in your area. We figured that these resource descriptions would provide you with a good starting point for some tools you may want during your own pregnancy. We’ve also focused on prenatal choices and resources to support a healthy pregnancy. So here are our faves!
Both of us have had pretty amazing pregnancies and being pregnant was one of the most cherished moments in our lives. The feeling of having a life grow inside of you is indescribable.
From Jas: It is amazing how much love you can have for someone you have never met. As I mentioned back in Our Home Birth Story post (you can read it by clicking HERE), I was fortunate to have a pretty smooth 9 months, less some nausea and fatigue in the first trimester. I didn’t experience vomiting, but I would get the feeling that would prompt me to grab a trash can or run to the restroom. And the fatigue… my word, that was a struggle for me. Praise to you mamas with one or more children they need to care for while trying to cope with the nausea and fatigue of pregnancy. All of those mamas chasing after toddlers whilst feeling the fatigue and nausea of the first trimester (and beyond!) were my biggest inspiration to get my butt in gear most days!
From Ash: Similar to Jas, I had an amazing pregnancy! My first trimester my main concern was fatigue, with only a little nausea, and throughout the remainder of my pregnancy I had some sciatic nerve pain (which at times was pretty unbearable). Nothing a little massage didn’t help! Unlike Jas, I found it more challenging to bond with my ‘bean’. I mean, I knew there was a baby growing, and I loved being pregnant, but I think as a first time mom, I felt so unsure of what being a mom actually meant. No one can prepare you for the love you will feel for this tiny human with ten fingers and ten toes. The room was ready, diapers and clothes were set, but it didn’t hit me until I brought him home. And then it hit me like a lightening bolt. I imagine for number two I will be less patient and much more excited, but I think it just goes to show you that everyone feels differently and experiences pregnancy differently.
Like most pregnant women, we wanted to be as healthy as possible throughout those nine months; we made sure to take our vitamins, tried our best to eat well, and did our best to lead a healthy lifestyle.
Jas says “I always intended to eat the cleanest diet while pregnant, but during the first trimester, even water tasted 'off' to me. So I did my best to eat as healthy as I could, although I'm not gonna lie, there were some beef donairsand a couple of poutines spirinkled in there along the way (conflicting with my mostly plant-based diet just slightly ;) ). After the first trimester, I was able to get back to my regular diet which was great because that was really important to me”.
Ash says “I did my best and followed the rule if I ate something on the indulgent list: ‘everything in moderation’. I had just finished one and a half rounds of an intense bootcamp and wanted to make sure I kept my weight in check. But similar to Jas, there were evenings of late night runs to Marble Slab, and extra stops along the way home for delicious poutine.”
Alright, without further ado, here are the prenatal resources that we used while pregnant. Some are only in Kelowna and used by Jas, while others were in Sudbury and used by Ash.
1. Acupuncture: I wanted to see an acupuncturist that was knowledgeable in fertility and pregnancy… and I found Rhianda Linsdell in Kelowna. She provided treatments to me prior to becoming pregnant, and then once pregnant to assist with the nausea and fatigue. I was nervous for my first appointment, but I was actually surprised at how relaxing the appointments were, and I looked forward to the sessions with Rhianda. I continued seeing Rhianda throughout my first trimester, and then again beginning at 36 weeks pregnant to help with cervical dilation (because if there was any way to make labour easier, I was buying a ticket!). I would highly recommend Rhianda. She is so lovely, kind, knowledgeable and skilled.
2. Mama Network: It’s amazing how things work out. Within a span of 2.5 months, three of my besties (including Ashley!) and I had all found out we were expecting. I have to say that this is one of the best things that could have happened. It was absolutely incredible to go through the whirlwind of pregnancy at the same time. There were a lot of phone calls, meet-ups, and texts about the wonder of pregnancy: baby’s size week-to-week, body changes (so. many. changes!), group bump photos, prenatal fitness, and sharing in all of the emotions. I know not everyone is going to have friends that are pregnant at the same time, but I would highly suggest trying to find that network, even if it is just one other expecting mama. Maybe a prenatal class, through a friend, or maybe through the Peanut app (like Tinder for meeting mama friends). The bonus here is that you’ll have a friend to connect with during the postpartum period and while on maternity leave.
Don’t fret if you don't meet anyone while you're pregnant, for Ash, one of her closest mama network friends came after she had the baby. And once baby is born, reach out to similar resources (Sudbury has Best Start Hubs provided by the city, Aqua Babies and Stars and Stollers). It’s amazing how easy it is to start a conversation with another mama at these events. You instantly share a connection and bond - motherhood. Also, if you’re in Sudbury and trying to create a mama network, Meg Kant @TheBlissfulDoula created a great Facebook Page: Pregnant in Sudbury. It’s a great place for people to ask questions, voice concerns and reach out to others in the area. I will definitely be using it during my next pregnancy.
3. Chiropractic Care: I had been seeing Dr. Tim Wood at Mission Family Chiropractic for a couple of years before pregnancy, initially for moderate-severe low back pain. That pain had been treated prior to finding out I was pregnant, but I had continued receiving adjustments to continue my treatment and maintenance plan. I was very worried about how pregnancy might affect my back and whether the body changes that occur with pregnancy might cause the low back pain to return… and be even worse. I made the decision to continue seeing Dr. Wood after researching chiropractic care in pregnancy and discussing with my midwife. I was able to complete my pregnancy without any back pain which I am so grateful for and really did not think would be possible for me.
4. Prenatal Fitness: In Kelowna, the local YMCA offers a FREE Prenatal Yoga & Aquafit program where each class runs once per week in the evening. A couple of friends and I loved attending these classes together. It was a great time for us to connect and socialize, as well as do something good for our bodies. Yoga is so helpful for the body and mind during pregnancy; helping to stretch and strengthen the body for pregnancy and labour as well as calm the mind and de-stress. I would highly recommend searching out your community to see if there are any free prenatal classes offered, and to take full advantage of attending the sessions. It’s a great way to meet other expecting mamas! The YMCA also offers a free prenatal education program.
Prenatal Yoga at ARC Climbing Yoga Fitness, was my go to activity in Sudbury. As I didn’t have too many friends who were also expecting (in town), I tried to meet other expecting mama’s at Yoga. However, it ended up being a pretty small class, and difficult place to make connections. But that’s okay, it was exactly what I ended up needing. Some relaxing ‘me time’ where I could focus on my body and my baby. The only downfall was that the class was offered on the weekends, making it difficult to attend regularly.
In Kelowna, Jas also touts the praises of working with a doula. She worked with Kathleen Baker from All Birth who was absolutely wonderful. Not only does Kathleen offer doula support, she also instructs childbirth education classes, provides placenta encapsulation, and provides rentals of birth pools and supplies.
6. Registered Massage Therapy @La Renaissance European Day Spa was my sciatic pain relief! My doctor told me to get a massage (she didn't sound super keen on sending me to a chiropractor), so I finally went and afterwards regretted not going sooner! It was amazing. In order to reduce the pain quickly, I went once a week for four weeks straight and then every two weeks leading up to birth. Luckily, Brian has great benefits, so with the written script from my doctor, the majority of my massages were covered. So definitely take a look at your benefit plan to see. Not only was the massage an amazing pain reliever, but it was also super relaxing and put me to sleep on several occasions. It sounds strange because you wouldn’t imagine being laid on your stomach would be comfortable, but they have this awesome foam cushion that surrounds your torso with a large opening for your belly. The baby also loved it! He kicked away the entire time!
7. Various birth prep courses. If you're anything like me (ash), you're an insane type A personality, needing to plan and prep as much as possible. Lucky for me, on top of all the amazing resources my Doula, Meg Kant provided, she also partnered with ARC Climbing Yoga Fitness (for link to register click HERE) to provide a Birth Prep and Prenatal Yoga course. It was extremely welcoming, casual, fun and super informative. All of the mama’s and mama supporters sit in a big circle while Meg casually gets down to the nitty gritty about labour and delivery. She uses props, games and other fun engaging activities to keep the mood light and fun. After completing Meg’s portion of the class, you go on to learn about how prenatal yoga is extremely beneficial and complete a prenatal yoga class. Sudbury Health Unit offers a free birth course to prep you (for more information click HERE), we also attended this course (my husband was questioning the need for two, but amused me and came). This course was more formal, longer, and for us, repetitive from what we already learned previously. But if registering for a course is something you need, but don't have the budget to pay, this one is free and super informative! You sit around several tables and go through all important elements of labour and delivery. They also cover after birth, what to expect, and car seat ‘how-to’.
Kelowna Health Centre, similar to Sudbury, also offers a free prenatal education class. In addition, another great free resource is the Okanagan Regional Library - we have access to SO many books across the Okanagan area. I borrowed many prenatal education books as well as books about breastfeeding, baby sleep, and just babies in general from the library.
Thanks for reading about our top 7 resources during pregnancy. We hope you’ve enjoyed our second collaboration post and have found it informative and helpful. Let us know if there are some that you have found in our areas or in yours that may benefit others as well! Leave us a comment!