Finding out you are expecting a baby is one of the most exciting times in your life, but it can also become one of the most overwhelming times. Having a professional to guide you through this next chapter in your life is invaluable. From the moment you find out you are pregnant a Naturopathic Doctor (ND) can help answer your questions and get you started on a prenatal plan. As a mother of two and Naturopathic Doctor I have listed the top 5 reasons to include an ND in your prenatal care team.

1. Immediate Care
Most women do no see their Obstetrician or Midwife before approximately 10 weeks of pregnancy. During the first 10 weeks, moms and partners have a lot of questions. Some of these questions are related to food, exercise, sleep, morning sickness, fatigue, etc. Naturopathic Doctors are there for you from week 1 and can answer all of your questions. Not only is it important have these questions to get answered, there are also critical nutrients and factors to consider for healthy baby development in the first trimester (weeks 1-13).

2. Discuss nutrition, healthy weight gain and additional supplement support 
Understanding what to eat, what you can eat and what foods, if any, you should be avoiding can be confusing especially if you are experiencing nausea! It is important to ensure you are getting enough carbohydrates, protein and healthy fats as well as ensuring you are getting your micronutrients (vitamins and minerals). With your ND, you will discuss: plate proportions, foods to limit or avoid, foods you should include in your diet and healthy weight gain during each trimester.
When taking supplements and prenatal vitamins, it is important to understand what you are taking. There are 3 things to be mindful of when it comes to your supplements:

  1. The forms of the vitamins/minerals that are in the product, as some forms are easier absorbed and are better tolerated by the body, which will ensure your body is using what you are taking.
  2. The doses of the vitamins/minerals/herbs in the product. Each vitamin/mineral/herb will have a therapeutic dose and some products do not contain enough of each ingredient to provide a therapeutic value.
  3. The product does not contain fillers and chemicals. It is surprising, but some of the products on the market contain added fillers and chemicals that you do not want to be putting into your body, especially when pregnant. This is why it is so important to seek professional advice when choosing supplements.

3. Pregnancy Expectations and Common Pregnancy Related Complaints/Conditions
Pregnancy is a wonderful time, but there are symptoms that may arise especially as the woman nears the end of her third trimester. Even though these symptoms/conditions are common, they can cause quite a bit of stress for mom. But do not worry! There is support. Naturopathic Doctors can help prevent as well as guide you through the treatment options when it comes to conditions of pregnancy. These conditions can include: Heartburn, Urinary Tract Infections, Morning Sickness, Insomnia, Constipation, Headaches, Restless Legs, Gestational Diabetes, High Blood Pressure, Group B Strep and Stretch Marks.

4. Birth Preparation 
Birth preparation is very important and patients tend to not know that they need to train their muscles for birth much like they would if they were running a marathon. Starting around 36 weeks, Naturopathic Doctors will shift their treatment plan to support the birth. This will include supplement changes, acupuncture and some herbal preparations to help ripen the cervix and strengthen the uterus in preparation for delivery. Research shows that pre-birth acupuncture can shorten the second stage of labour (pushing).

5. Optimal Postpartum Care 
The postpartum period, often called the 4th trimester, is a joyous time as well as a busy time. It is so vital that mom’s needs do not get forgotten, as everyone is excited over the new arrival. Postpartum care is very important in helping prevent and support postpartum blues, postpartum depression, milk supply, iron and nutrient levels, stress management and thyroid health. Booking a follow up with your Naturopathic Doctor around 6 weeks postpartum is recommended. As the body can take a full year to recover from pregnancy and birth, Naturopathic Doctors will see you and you baby beyond 6 weeks postpartum and continue care for you, your baby and your family as needed.

Welcoming a new member into the family is such a special time. The greatest gift you can give your baby is a healthy start as well as a healthy mom! If you want to learn more about Naturopathic Medicine, please visit the Services section of our website. We look forward to meeting you and your growing family.

Dr. Denise Handscomb, ND


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Oakville, ON, L6J 1P5

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