Most women go through pregnancy with basically only one healthcare provider on their team- an OBGYN or midwife. These practitioners are obviously incredibly important for the actual birth time, but most don’t have much of a role in the overall health of your pregnancy and body throughout.
With both of my pregnancies, I have tried to create a team of holistic health providers to support my body both physically and emotionally/mentally through pregnancy, birth, AND postpartum. This is such an imperative time of life to pour into our bodies what we can to ensure both us and our babies have a great experience after birth.
The “Cost” of Preventative + Holistic Health
I want to take a second to acknowledge that all pregnancy and postpartum care, even birth itself isn’t cheap. Many insurances will help to cover some of birth’s expenses, but I find that many are shocked at the cost of just having a baby in today’s world. And again, that is just the birth itself- and not the support that your body may need up to it.
Just like all preventative healthcare, the services and practitioners I am going to mention in this article are an investment. It’s a mental choice of shifting your dollars with what you value, especially when it comes to your health and the health of your future baby. This preventative care can also help you avoid issues in labor (which can lead to C-section which is even MORE expensive than vaginal birth) and postpartum with structural issues with you or baby that can impact recovery, feeding, sleeping and more.
I find that the more you pour into your health prior to birth, the better off you and baby will be post-birth. This is also helpful when you don’t have to address those issues post-birth when you are healing, tired and covered in spit-up.
What Practitioners are on My Pregnancy + Postpartum Team
Below I have put into categories the type of care I prioritize throughout all of the trimesters, some more frequently than others based on needs. My hope is to help you see if there are any holes in your current pregnancy/postpartum plan and to also give you the resources to find a practitioner like that in your area!
Who Helps You Birth Your Baby: OB GYN or Midwife
When I was first pregnant with my daughter, I had ZERO clue of what to do or who to go to, so I just booked an appointment with the OBGYN I had been seeing for a few years. I liked her as a person, but as the appointments went on, I realized that she was associated with a hospital that I didn’t want to give birth at and a few other red flags for myself.
I wasn’t yet prepared to have a homebirth, so I sought out a birthing center of midwives that was for me a sort of in-between from the hospital and home. That was my plan until we found out my daughter had health issues, but I was able to at least use the midwives at the hospital who allowed me to have the more natural birth I wanted.
This time around, I want a homebirth so I asked around to find a local midwife that performs home births. I absolutely love her thus far and can’t wait to have this alternate experience compared to last time.
This is a topic that is much deeper than I can go into today, but I’d check out a few of the following books if you are trying to decide what route to take:
- Your Best Birth: Know All Your Options
- The Mama Natural Week-by-Week Guide to Pregnancy and Childbirth
Who Supports You Through Labor/Delivery: Doula
This is something I would absolutely NOT skip out on, regardless of how or where you’re giving birth. Thankfully for my first birth I kept the doulas I had planned on having at the birthing center and they were such a blessing throughout my three (yes, three) day labor at the hospital.
To me, doulas provide the emotional, physical and mental support in a time when you aren’t totally with it or help you to advocate for yourself and make informed decisions if you need to bring in different interventions during birth.
And, though we love them dearly, husbands aren’t always well-versed on the female body or labor so doulas help to bridge the gap to both provide support we need AND educate the men in our lives on how to be supportive throughout labor.
- This website has some great links on where to find a doula + more information on them
- Find a Doula registry (DONA)
Who Supports Your Body Structurally: Chiropractic + Massage
This category isn’t something I do only for pregnancy, as I have been regularly seeing a chiropractor and a massage therapist for 10+ years. As a lot of my career was fitness instructing, I found it imperative to have everything in alignment to continue doing what I did.
Now as a mom and pregnant, I find both essential again but for different reasons. I also know and see just how important regular chiropractic care is for children from birth, especially to help with feeding + bowel issues or to simply put back into alignment what a toddler knocks out with each fall or daredevil choice they make.
I go bi-weekly to a Webster-certified chiropractor and monthly to a prenatal massage therapist. For kids, it’s a bonus to find a chiropractor certified in pediatric chiropractic (see link below). The bonus with my chiropractor is that she is also a lactation consultant, so I have the best of both worlds in one visit!
Who Pre-Assesses + Helps Pelvic Floor Postpartum: Pelvic Floor Physical Therapist
This is something I wish I would have known about during pregnancy with my first, but I did do postpartum. Pelvic floor physical therapy and/or assessment is so crucial to health “down there” after birth, but also great to do a session or two prior to birth to have them check out how things are prior to birth, give you some exercises or labor positions you can do to have a successful birth experience, and/or help you get additional care if needed during pregnancy.
Postpartum, they can assess any “damage” that was done and help you get everything back functioning how it should, especially if you are having pain, leakage, etc.
I just recently went for my pre-birth session and will be doing some exercises and perineal stretching over the course of the next few weeks to prepare “down there” for what is to come. I also have sessions played postpartum to again make sure everything is healing as it should and getting back to what “normal” will be after two babies.
Who Supports You Nutritionally + Supplementally: Functional Health Practitioner
For this category, I don’t have to hire someone as I know a gal (aka me!) who does this. Because of what I know and what I do, I am able to craft unique pregnancy and postpartum support plans using lab work like mineral testing and bloodwork to support you throughout the pregnancy. I also struggle with suggestions on other practitioners who “do what I do” because I don’t really know of a ton that combine all the modalities that I do and approach it from a whole-life perspective.
So, if you’re on the lookout for someone to support you through pregnancy, book a Discovery Call today and I’d be happy to help <3
Who Supports You with Breastfeeding: Lactation Consultant
This is something that is sort of “new” to me, as with my daughter’s health challenges and surgery, I never was able to get her to latch successfully or produce enough to feed her exclusively. I did transition after a few HARD months to exclusively pumping, but because of this I really have no expertise when it comes to breastfeeding.
She was born right at the beginning of COVID, so all of my options for lactation consulting were virtual (THAT was really fun with my husband and a phone and trying to get it on camera…also probably the first time I was ever nude “on camera” LOL). This time around, I am going to be very proactive and plan to see my chiropractor/lactation consultant from the get-go to ensure that feeding is off to a great start and that we are successful with it.
From what I’ve heard, the lactation consultants in the hospital are not the same quality/expertise as those more independent, so do your research and also be ready to have one outside of the hospital on-hand to call if you struggle with feeding.
Who Supports Baby Structurally Postpartum- Chiropractic + Craniosacral Therapy
Last up on my team is more for baby. Think about it- something the size of a watermelon squeezes through a very small canal with a very moldable head at that point…how could there NOT be issues? Chiropractic soon after birth is incredibly important for baby to be essential “reset” how they should be after birth and make sure nothing structurally impairs them from feeding and digesting and sleeping well.
Something new this time around I’m also going to include soon after birth is craniosacral therapy. I know a lot of people have had success with this instead of fixing lip/tongue ties, so I am going to be proactive and have baby assessed to ensure nothing is off with him initially.