Welcome! We hope the information that follows, empowers, encourages and guides you. Navigating and understanding your pregnancy can be a tricky, steep course full of surprises, challenges and big changes! Before we get started, whatever your story, background, hopes or fears, please know you are not alone in this journey. However big (or small) your support system may be, there are valuable resources in your community to help, clarify or guide you in this new chapter!
I think I’m pregnant!
Home pregnancy tests
- Maybe your period is late and your breasts are throbbing; but maybe your symptoms aren’t so obvious, whatever the reason (or symptom), home pregnancy tests are often the first answer to your “maybe”. Found at grocery stores, corner stores and even dollar stores, pregnancy tests (however cheap or expensive) measure the level of hcg in your urine. hCG or human chorionic gonadotropin is a hormone that is initially secreted by the embryo (and later the placenta) to maintain your pregnancy. Most home pregnancy tests can detect this hormone in your urine about 10 days following your missed period, however, some pregnancy tests are more sensitive and can detect hCG before 10 days. Wherever you choose to buy your home pregnancy test, please ensure that the test has not expired and package is not damaged. Be sure to read and follow package instructions.
Are you pregnant? What Are Your Options http://www.nafcanada.org/are-you-pregnant.html
Adoption 101 http://adoptiveparents.ca/wp/adoption-101-2/
Government of Alberta: Adoption https://www.alberta.ca/adoption.aspx
Central Alberta Pregnancy Care Centre https://www.pregnancycare.ca/
Alberta Health Services Abortion Services
Alberta Health Services Sexual and Reproductive Health Services
Options (continue, what to expect, termination, adoption services)
- Excited? Anxious? Surprised? Sad? Frustrated?
There’s an endless array or emotions you may be feeling at this point and you are allowed to feel how you feel. Regardless of your reaction, it is recommended to make an appointment with your family physician or midwife following a positive pregnancy test.
See a doctor or midwife (choice of care provider, what’s the best choice for me)
College of Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta: https://search.cpsa.ca/physiciansearch
Red Deer Primary Care Network: http://reddeerpcn.com/Clinics/Pages/default.aspx
Alberta Health Services: Healthy Parents Healthy Children https://healthyparentshealthychildren.ca/
Alberta Health Network Page14182.aspx
Alberta Health Services Best Beginnings http://www.birthandbabies.com/best-beginning-program/
Red Deer Primary Care Network http://reddeerpcn.com/Programs/Pages/Pregnancy-and-Babies.aspx
First trimester 4-12weeks
The time of pregnancy is divided into trimesters. The first is 4-12 weeks. Believe it or not, you are already considered 4 weeks pregnant by the time you even miss a period. It’s weird, but it’s true. So that trimester tends to feel like it goes by the fastest. We have already mentioned painful breasts, which is one symptom of early pregnancy, but there are a bunch of things that you could be feeling/seeing that will remind you (constantly) that you’re pregnant.
Nausea and vomiting - Some people are lucky and barely notice any changes. And some people feel all the things. Persistent nausea, vomiting, food aversions, and constipation are among the more common symptoms. There are things that can help you manage those symptoms, so you’re not necessarily stuck with them, but there’s no guarantee you will feel amazing in pregnancy.
Breast symptoms - Boobs! Often the first thing you notice when you get pregnant. They are bigger, tender, and can get in the way. This is your body’s normal adaptation to pregnancy and is hormonally driven. Your body has a lot to do to accomodate this growing baby, and making breast tissue and milk ducts is one of them.
Fatigue - Exhaustion. It’s a real thing, and can really kick your butt. Dozing off at your desk at work and going to bed at 8pm are fairly common in pregnancy. Your body is actually working very hard at supporting this new little person. So, rest when you can, learn to take naps, stifle your social life for a while, take warm baths and just relax as much as you can. If you have other children, it’s ok to ask your support system for help.
Sex drive changes
Food safety - When people are pregnant, they are a little more sensitive to food poisoning. And some germs can cross the placenta and really affect the growth and development of a baby. For that reason, there are a few foods that carry a higher risk and should be avoided in pregnancy. Check out some of these resources to help you figure out what you should eat in moderation, and what to avoid all together.
Tests offered in pregnancy (dating US, FTS, NIPT, routine bloodwork)
Diet/Supplements/Food Safety - Autumn/Jen
Second Trimester 12-28 weeks
Physical Changes, symptoms
(nausea, fatigue, bloating, boobs, constipation, headaches, sex drive)
Tests offered (anatomy US, GDS, bloodwork)
Labour/pregnancy support (doula)
Vaccines in pregnancy
Activity and exercise
Maternity leave/work plans
Preterm labour signs and symptoms
Blood type in pregnancy, why does it matter?
Fetal movement counting, what is normal?
Third Trimester 28-42 weeks
Physical changes, symptoms
(nausea, fatigue, bloating, boobs, constipation, headaches, sex drive)
Do I need any more ultrasounds?
Group B streptococcus, what the heck is that?
Making a postpartum plan
A woman’s labour story is uniquely her own. A story she will likely remember for all of her days.
Braxton hicks/toning contractions
- In order to prepare and tone the uterus for labour, some (but not all) women will experience Braxton Hicks or toning contractions. Characterized by noticeable episodes of tightening where the abdomen is firm to the touch and then relaxes…... Some women experience these “warm-up” contractions as early as the second trimester but they often occur in the third trimester. Braxton Hick’s are usually more noticeable during rest and can be triggered by dehydration or over activity. Although
Early labour signs/management
When to call/when to go in
- Rupture of membranes, bright red bleeding, decreased fetal movement (<6 in 2 hours), regular & painful contractions,
Postdates, what’s normal, why is this taking forever
Prairie Midwives - Red Deer
West Country Midwives - Olds
St Mary's Medical Clinic
Riverside Medical Clinic
Central Alberta Pregnancy Care Centre
Pregnancy Loss, Miscarriage, Severe Fetal Complicaton
What is a miscarriage?
A miscarriage is the loss of a pregnancy during the first 20 weeks. It is usually your body's way of ending a pregnancy that has had a bad start. The loss of a pregnancy can be very hard to accept. You may wonder why it happened or blame yourself. But a miscarriage is no one's fault, and you can't prevent it.
Miscarriages are very common. For women who already know they are pregnant, about 1 out of 6 have a miscarriage.footnote 1 It is also common for a woman to have a miscarriage before she even knows that she is pregnant.
What causes a miscarriage?
Most miscarriages happen because the fertilized egg in the uterus does not develop normally. A miscarriage is not caused by stress, exercise, or sex. In many cases, doctors don't know what caused the miscarriage.
The risk of miscarriage is lower after the first 12 weeks of the pregnancy.
What are the common symptoms?
Common signs of a miscarriage include:
Bleeding from the vagina. The bleeding may be light or heavy, constant or off and on. It can sometimes be hard to know whether light bleeding is a sign of miscarriage. But if you have bleeding with pain, the chance of a miscarriage is higher.
Pain in the belly, lower back, or pelvis.
Tissue that passes from the vagina.
How is a miscarriage diagnosed?
Call your doctor if you think you are having a miscarriage. If your symptoms and a pelvic examination do not show whether you are having a miscarriage, your doctor can do tests to see if you are still pregnant.
How is it treated?
No treatment can stop a miscarriage. As long as you do not have heavy blood loss, a fever, weakness, or other signs of infection, you can let a miscarriage follow its own course. This can take several days.
If you have Rh-negative blood, you will need a shot of WinRho within 72 hours. This prevents problems in future pregnancies. If you have not had your blood type checked, you will need a blood test to find out if you are Rh-negative.
Many miscarriages complete on their own. But sometimes treatment is needed. If you are having a miscarriage, work with your doctor to watch for and prevent problems. If the uterus does not clear quickly enough, you could lose too much blood or develop an infection. In this case, medicine or a procedure called a dilation and curettage (D&C) can more quickly clear tissue from the uterus.
A miscarriage doesn't happen all at once. It usually takes place over several days, and symptoms vary. Here are some tips for dealing with a miscarriage:
Use pads instead of tampons. It is normal to have mild or moderate vaginal bleeding for 1 to 2 weeks. It may be similar to or slightly heavier than a normal period. The bleeding should get lighter after a week. You may use tampons during your next period, which should start in 3 to 6 weeks.
Take acetaminophen (Tylenol) for cramps. Read and follow all instructions on the label. You may have cramps for several days after the miscarriage.
Eat a balanced diet that is high in iron and vitamin C. You may be low in iron because of blood loss. Foods rich in iron include red meat, shellfish, eggs, beans, and leafy green vegetables. Foods high in vitamin C include citrus fruits, tomatoes, and broccoli. Talk to your doctor about whether you need to take iron pills or a multivitamin.
Talk with family, friends, or a counsellor if you are having trouble dealing with the loss of your pregnancy. If you feel very sad or depressed for longer than a couple of weeks, talk to a counsellor or your doctor.
Talk with your doctor about any future pregnancy plans. Most doctors suggest that you wait until you have had at least one normal period before you try to get pregnant again. If you don't want to get pregnant, ask your doctor about birth control options.
After a miscarriage, are you at risk for miscarrying again?
Miscarriage is usually a chance event, not a sign of an ongoing problem. If you have had one miscarriage, your chances for future successful pregnancies are good. It is unusual to have three or more miscarriages in a row. But if you do, your doctor may do tests to see if a health problem may be causing the miscarriages.