Happy Wednesday everyone! Today I thought I would share links to my favorite prenatal and post partum resources. Outside of perinatal massage therapy, there are a variety of alternative therapies, books and websites that can help enhance your pregnancy and post partum health. Firstly, I have separated my favorites in to three categories: pregnancy, birth, and post partum. Next, I have organized them by type: individual, book or website. If you are a new or expecting mama, I hope you will find this list helpful! If you want to share some of your favorite resources, feel free to let me know by email, or leave me a comment below.
I have had the absolute pleasure of working with acupuncturist Jill Moran TCMP of Ashi Acupuncture for the past six years. She is very gentle, kind and supportive. Her dedication to delivering the highest level of care to clients is exceptional. Jill works from two locations; one in downtown Victoria, and the other in the West Shore so she is available to expecting mothers in a variety of neighborhoods.
If you have not yet tried it, community acupuncture is an effective and budget friendly option for perinatal pain relief. Jean-Paul Thuot of Stillpoint Community Acupuncture brings years of experience and a deep sense of calm to every session. He has been a pioneer in making acupuncture accessible to everyone. He now has two clinic locations; one in Langford, and the other in Vic West.
Midwives Beth, Lyanne and Laura of Arbutus Midwives are an amazing team of women offering midwifery care to the families of the West Shore. Having worked with them for the past four years, I genuinely feel they provide the perfect balance of nurturing yet professional care.
While not located in the West Shore, midwife Michelle Buchmann of Dandelion Midwifery is another favorite of mine. She has decades of experience supporting and encouraging women. When I was a doula, I attended several births with Michelle and found her to be warm and patient. She has a deep understanding of the emotional aspects of pregnancy, labour and birth.
I have had the opportunity to work with chiropractor Dr. Alanna Fenton of CBI Health Group (Eagle Creek) at her previous location. Dr. Fenton is very knowledgeable about women’s health, and experienced in maternity and pediatric chiropractic care. She is trained in the Webster technique to assist in turning breech babies. Dr. Fenton perfectly blends muscle release with manual adjustments for a highly effective result.
Chiropractors Dr. Robin Dunkley and Dr. Amy Samcoe of Back to Back Chiropractic are two wonderful chiropractors working with women and families in the West Shore. Like Dr. Fenton, they approach the body holistically and combine adjustments with muscle release to maximize the effectiveness of a session.
Counselor Jennifer Vining has an exceptional local reputation for providing practical yet compassionate mental health care during the perinatal years. Her realm of expertise is working with women experiencing fertility challenges, prenatal anxiety, post partum depression or grieving an infant loss.
Chris Higginbottom is an amazing maternity and newborn photographer in Victoria. Not only is her artwork truly beautiful, she is so sweet, easy to work with and exceptional at her craft.
Penny Simkin, world renowned physiotherapist, doula and childbirth educator, has collaborated with a handful of other experts in the field to create the ultimate guide for pregnancy, birth and infant care. Pregnancy, Childbirth and the Newborn is by far the most practical, informative yet positive guidebook that helps women get the most out of their perinatal experience.
Although she has long since retired, physiotherapist Elizabeth Noble was one of the first in North America to focus her education and practice on prenatal and post partum health. I have used her book Essential Exercises for the Childbearing Year as a manual for my own massage therapy practice. It is filled with easy, useful exercises that teach women how to take control over their bodies and optimize mobility throughout pregnancy and beyond.
The provincial Healthy Women & Children site provides comprehensive and accessible information about pregnancy, birth, babies, and toddlers. It also includes current schedules for which infant vaccines are normally given, and when.
Island Health’s pregnancy resource site helps expecting mothers and families find information and resources to help them make healthy, informed choices about every aspect of pregnancy. From here, you can also register with the Right From the Start program which gives you access to community health services and support.
The Matraea Center in Duncan has a lovely online store where they sell all natural island made body care products for pregnancy, birth and beyond. You can take a drive up there, or you can purchase online and have your order shipped to you! Everything is created by midwives for perinatal clients so it is safe to use during pregnancy and/or breastfeeding. My favorite products are their radiant belly butter, soothing nipple fix, botanical witch spray, better baby bum cream, and soothing perineal wash tea which can be brewed and added to a peri bottle or sitz bath at home.
Doulas Jay, Laura, Ashley and Barb of VIDA doulas are the most amazing group of women. They are a team of very skilled doulas who are passionate about birth and post partum care. They are also highly experienced educators, and teach the most fun and comprehensive prenatal classes in Victoria!
Penny Simkin’s Birth Partner is an essential read for partners, parents or friends who plan on supporting the mom-to-be during labour and birth. This book is available through Penny’s website, in local book stores or online at chapters.ca or amazon.ca
Another fantastic guidebook from Penny Simkin (are you sensing a theme here?) is When Survivors Give Birth. It is an insightful and compassionate read for childbearing women who have been victims of sexual abuse. As a massage therapist, I have found this book particularly useful in bettering my understanding of the emotional process for these remarkable mothers. I honestly feel it is a must-read for practitioners and partners who are supporting survivors of trauma. Without doubt it has made me a more informed, compassionate and sensitive therapist.
Ina May Gaskin is a pioneer in the midwifery profession. She has spent her career developing and teaching holistic, woman-centered childbirth methods. Her book Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth focuses on positivity and teaches women how to experience labour and birth in a natural, joyful way. like Penny Simkin’s above, Ina May’s book can be found in most local book stores, or online chapters.ca or amazon.ca
A realistic and informative vaginal birth simulation can be viewed here.
A realistic and informative caesarian birth simulation can be viewed here.
I have been referring to physiotherapist Mike Hudza here in Colwood for many years. He provides complete hands-on, individual therapy sessions and has helped all of my patients achieve results. His treatments are thorough (appx 30 minutes) and during that time, he is focused solely on you. It means you are not left sitting with an ice pack or tens machine while he goes to work on another patient. I find this is very rare in the world of physiotherapists. He is conveniently located across the hall from my office which means patients have the opportunity to book back-to-back visits with the both of us!
Pelvic floor physiotherapist Pippa Tucker can be found at Natural Balance in Langford. She is available to the women in the West Shore area. While I do not know her personally, I have referred a number of clients to her and my patients have given me very positive feedback.
Physiotherapist Jodi Ganton of Rise Health has an excellent local reputation for helping women manage pelvic pain during and after pregnancy. Her clinic is in Bay Street so she is most accessible to women in the Victoria area. She teaches locally and has been a presenter at Mothering Touch’s motherfest.
Tammy Timms is a local public health nurse and lactation consultant who offers support and education for breastfeeding families.
Ina May’s Guide to Breastfeeding is many a new mother’s bible. It offers practical tips to set you and your newborn up for breastfeeding success, as well as how to troubleshoot the most common breastfeeding issues. It is available on both amazon.ca and chapters.ca.
Physiotherapist Cecile Rost’s book Relieving Pelvic Pain During and After Pregnancy is a wonderfully illustrated handbook for treating preinatal pelvic instability. I have been using her techniques in my practice with great success and find that her exercises are effective and easy for patients to do at home. Like most of the others, her book is also available online at chapters.ca and amazon.ca.
Cecile Rost has an excellent website; rosttherapy.com, that teaches women how to live with and treat their own pregnancy induced pelvic girdle pain. The techniques she have developed are easy and effective. Cecile has also developed a handy smart phone ap so you can stabilize and mobilize your pelvis on the go!
Best Babies is a community funded program offering food supplements, nutrition support, counseling, prenatal classes and resource referrals for new and expectant mothers. The program is located in several municipalities: Esquimalt, Westshore, Saanich, the Peninsula, and Fernwood.
La Leche League Canada is a national resource community that encourages, promotes and provides mother-to-mother breastfeeding support and education.
The Pacific Post Partum Support Society is a provincial organization offering phone support to women and families experiencing post partum depression or anxiety. Their website is loaded with information and self-help resources.