Once you get pregnant, a whole new world of information and options open up to you that you never knew existed in the first place. At least, that’s how it felt in my case. Pelvic Floor Physio? Never heard of it. Prenatal Chiro? Didn’t know it was a thing. Hypnobirthing? Huh? And while it can be easy to dismiss these types of prenatal health appointments as unnecessary and file them under GOOP-related fluff, it’s incredible to learn why and how they can be so helpful for your pregnancy and birth experience. From general health to prenatal wellness appointments, here are 7 things I’ve booked loved during my pregnancy that I would highly recommend booking too, if you can.
(Gelinas Dental Studio)
Dental Check Ups
One of the first “prenatal” appointments I booked was actually a visit to the dentist. I know, it may not be the first thing you think of booking when you find out you’re pregnant, but you’re guaranteed to come across more than a few reminders (through pregnancy-related reading) that frequent visits to your dentist during your pregnancy are actually really important. I’ve loved visiting the beautiful Gelinas Dental Studio during my pregnancy for an experience that didn’t make me dread going to the dentist, and, because Dr. Gelinas is a mother herself, she’s also had a ton of great tips and advice to share during my visits. Don’t miss our #FounderFiles feature with her here!
Pelvic Floor Physio
I had no idea that Pelvic Floor Physio was something that even existed before I got pregnant but it quickly became something that I kept hearing of and was interested in learning more about. The words “pelvic floor” and “pelvis” are two that come up very often while pregnant and you can’t help but wonder what the current state of your own are like, which does take the help of a professional to determine. In my case I didn’t have a chance to book in with Kristen Seth at West End Mamas (she’s available at both locations) until I was 37 weeks pregnant, and she mentioned she normally prefers to start assessing clients at 30 weeks pregnant. Thankfully in my case things are looking pretty good (Kristen helped determine the tightness and strength of my pelvic floor, and shared exercises for how prepare the area for birth) and I’ll be booking in to see her at 6 weeks postpartum to see how things are doing after delivery.
(West End Mamas)
With all the changes that happen to your body during pregnancy, it’s no surprise why we can experience some discomfort and pain throughout the process. I longed for a prenatal massage for so long, and was lucky enough to book in at a few different spots in Toronto during my second and third trimesters. My first prenatal massage experience took place a the Elmwood Spa, followed by the Hammam Spa, and both were great options, however, I have to say the best prenatal massage I’ve had has been with Kynsi Horton at West End Mamas in Newmarket. Yes, it’s a trek to get there if you live downtown but I can assure you she is worth it, especially if you prefer a more intense massage with strong pressure. Kynsi’s massages may not be as relaxing as some prenatal massages that tend to be more gentle, but I would compare the after effects and feelings from her massages to be similar to the release you feel after a great chiro appointment.
For prenatal chiro I’ve been seeing the amazing Dr. Aliya Visram at Restore Integrative Health in Leslieville. Dr. Aliya is a family chiropractor and acupuncturist and she’s been incredible for helping me get my pelvis aligned and prepped for birth, easing back pain and pretty much anything and everything else that’s been feeling uncomfortable during my pregnancy. Before meeting Dr. Aliya I’d never given much thought to the importance of my hip and pelvis alignment for birth, but after she pointed it out, it of course made total sense–you want your pelvis to be aligned so that it can open up easily to let your baby descend and make its way into the world! If you’ve been to a couple of prenatal massages where you didn’t feel you were got the “release” you needed for your body, I would highly recommend trying chiro to see if it helps you instead.
(Dr. Aliya Visram)
I’m a big fan of acupuncture and Chinese medicine in general, which is why I was very open to trying acupuncture during my pregnancy–especially because so many people rave about it! Although I (so far) have only booked one acupuncture appointment at West End Mamas, my visit with Laura Kaufer was very positive and fantastic for targeting issues and ailments that I wanted addressed at the time. For example, help with my swollen feet and restless sleep! Acupuncture is also supposed to be fantastic for helping to induce labour so I’ll be saving my next visit for closer to my baby’s due date, especially if she’s running late!
When preparing for the arrival of a baby, the last thing you want to hear about is more money you’ve got to fork over for whatever it may be. At least, that’s how I’ve felt. Although some friends said they found free classes in the city, or watched what was available on YouTube, I decided to bite the bullet and reserve a spot for the prenatal classes offered by my Riverdale Community Midwives. Although the classes are long (3.5 hours every week for four weeks straight) they really have been so helpful for learning more about labour and birth, pain management, and generally feeling more confident and positive about bringing our baby into the world, especially when (at least in my case) you’re hoping to give birth outside of a hospital environment.
(Non) Prenatal Workouts
I tried a couple of prenatal yoga and pilates workouts early (ish) on in my pregnancy and, to be honest, was bored AF in every class. This is likely due to the fact that I genuinely enjoy high-intensity training and high cardio workouts like boxing, bootcamp and spin classes. You might think I’m crazy but for most of my pregnancy I carried on with my regular workouts, simply making adjustments as my body changed and my bump began to grow. Sticking to the workouts I loved was so great for my mental health and my body, and it’s important to remember that as long as you’re feeling good, and the workouts feel good, you can very often continue to do the same workouts you were doing before you were pregnant. Of course it is advised to get clearance from your doctor or midwife before hitting the gym. Throughout my entire pregnancy one of my favourite places in the city to workout has been FORME Fitness, especially because I haven’t been the only pregnant woman to attend their HIIT classes and their trainers know how offer appropriate adjustments that still offer you a great workout.
(Story by Editor-in-Chief, Gracie Carroll)