Oh hey! It’s been a while since I’ve chatted with you here on the blogs, while the Wonderful Dani has been busy typing away, teaching you about sleep & joint pain – but it’s time to talk a bit more about my favourite topic. Pregnancy & preconception care.

Preconception care & pregnancy

Are you planning to get pregnant this year? I’m so excited for you! Nothing lights me up like helping women prepare for their bubs (except maybe the news when bubs has arrived and you’re both doing well!) I wanted to chat with you a bit about how Naturopathy fits within your pregnancy care model.

The pregnancy care model –

During pregnancy, the team that you have supporting you is pretty darn important. The ‘typical’ care team that you hear of most Mamas having is –

  • A GP who you will see until you’re about 12-20 weeks
  • A range of midwives through your local hospital, or maybe just one midwife if you’re going through a private hospital (potentially)
  • Maybe an obstetrician, more so if your pregnancy is deemed ‘high risk’

Okay – so isn’t this enough??!

Your GP will likely support you with ordering some blood tests, ordering ultrasounds, potentially giving you some medication if you’re experiencing really bad nausea and writing you a referral to your local hospital. Great.

The midwives in the hospital will monitor you with:

  • baby’s growth & positioning
  • your blood pressure
  • weight gain
  • ordering more ultrasounds
  • ordering more blood tests
  • monitor for gestational diabetes & preeclampsia

Additionally, they will get you involved with a hospital birthing class & be there with you to support you while birthing your baby. The midwives will stick to hospital procedures throughout the course of your pregnancy and birth.

Obstetrician – you’re generally seeing one of these professionals if you and bubs require a bit of extra monitoring, or potentially if you’re going through the private system. Studies in Australia indicate that if you’re going with a private Obstetrician in Australia, you’re actually more likely to have a caesarean – regardless of if it’s something that you want or need.

An Alternative Pregnancy Care Model –

Many women are now choosing to progress through pregnancy and birth with their own chosen support team. For some women, this still means working with the professionals listed above while adding in extra practitioners to support them, while for others it means going through a private midwife and having a powerful and safe homebirth, and others even choose to freebirth.

Regardless of where you choose to birth, I am a big believer that it’s important to have a bit of extra support – both in the lead up to and during pregnancy. And that’s where I come in. As a Women’s Health Naturopath, I am so passionate about supporting women through this time, we are increasing chances of positive perinatal outcomes (ie. Healthy baby and Mum & more positive postpartum experience).

How does Naturopathy fit in pregnancy care?

In one on one consultations with my clients, both here at our Women’s Health Clinic in Croydon & online Australia wide, I work with my clients to identify their individual needs during preconception care & pregnancy, and provide them with guidance.

That might look like:

  • Supporting a client’s hormone levels to optimise chances of conception
  • Helping a client make achievable and realistic goals around dietary changes to optimise their overall health & fertility – this one is really important, both for baby’s health & in preparing for postpartum
  • Supporting a client’s mental & emotional wellbeing during pregnancy
  • Giving trimester specific dietary support
  • Providing blood test analysis & prescriptive advice on how to improve levels
  • Helping you to reduce the less favourable symptoms of pregnancy (morning sickness, constipation, etc.)

There’s so much that we cover in consults, and it varies so much person to person.

Additionally, I provide Naturopathic preconception care for men, too. You can read a bit more about why that’s important here.

Other people to add to your pregnancy support team –

A private midwife:

To support you either in home birth or hospital birth, provides you with continuity of care & advocates for your desired birth.

A doula:

Doulas are not medical professionals. They are there to support and guide you (and your partner, if appropriate) through birth emotionally, with natural pain relief techniques, massage, etc. While doulas aren’t medical professionals, studies have shown that having a doula present at birth & supporting a mother through pregnancy increases birth satisfaction, decrease epidural rates & supports maternal mental health. There are so many benefits, and doulas can be present at both home births & hospital births, alongside your midwife or obstetrician.

A pelvic floor physio:

Seeing a pelvic floor physio can help you to prepare and support your pelvic floor during pregnancy and for the postpartum period.

A Clinical Pilates instructor:

It’s really important that if you’re doing exercise classes during pregnancy, you choose care providers who are specifically trained in supporting you in your pregnancy. Viv and her colleagues who we share a space with at our Croydon clinic, Synergy Massage & Wellness, are trained specifically in this and can help you with pelvic floor support & other exercises to help prepare your body for labour and postpartum.

What if I can’t afford it?

Of course, you don’t need all of the above support to have a happy and satisfactory pregnancy and birth. This isn’t realistic for everyone. What is most important is that you are informed & empowered about how you want your birth to go – of course there are times when intervention is needed, but it’s getting to understand what that means and how you can still feel satisfied and happy with your birth experience, even if things don’t go according to plan A. Having a back-up plan of what you want if interventions do end up happening is really helpful in taking away some of that stress. Additionally, when it comes to exercise there are some good resources online to help support you with exercise during pregnancy. Keeping active is really important. You can also talk to your GP or midwife about this. Perhaps your GP would even be able to support you with a referral to a physio (which may reduce your out of pocket expenses).

More than just one on one:

We know that one on one consultations simply aren’t right for everyone, and that’s why we are in the process of putting together some really great resources for those of you who would prefer to watch webinars or do self-paced online courses. Please keep an eye on our webinars page to see what we have available. By joining the mailing list we will also let you know when new resources are uploaded.

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This blog does not provide individualised health advise. The information mentioned in this blog is educational in nature and is here to help you make informed decisions regarding your health. It is essential that you work with your healthcare practitioners to assess what is right for you.

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