Pregnancy, childbirth and the postpartum period are incredibly vulnerable, raw and transformative times for birthers. Now is not the time to settle with substandard care. You should feel supported, safe and free to be honest about your questions and concerns. If you aren’t happy with your provider, find a new one. And if you have the resources, consider building a team of support, or at a minimum, do your research so that you have contacts on standby as needed.
In choosing my pregnancy team, I did a ton of research and also paid attention to what I instinctually felt about the caregivers I found. My physical therapist is an hour drive from my house but I connected with her on a deep level, and I knew we needed to work together. I had the luxury of choosing chemistry and comfort over convenience.
Here’s the dream team:
MIDWIFE – Margaret Byrne, Empowered Birth Atlanta
I’m a big believer in the midwifery model of care for pregnancy and childbirth and have so much to say about how empowered and genuinely cared for I felt during my own experience. During each of my monthly appointments with Margaret, I met with her face to face for an hour. She got to know me and my husband very well, and she was an amazing resource with tools and wisdom that I wouldn’t have gotten elsewhere. We talked about my physical health, but she also understood that my emotional health was just as important. She was by my side for 18 hours during my labor, she fed me my first meal after delivery and she came to our home two days later for a postpartum check in. She’s exactly what I needed to feel prepared, safe and seen.
CHIROPRACTOR – The Brainery
I highly recommend seeing a chiropractor throughout your pregnancy and postpartum. I’d never been to a chiropractor before I got pregnant, and I was super nervous when I first started going during my second trimester. But I can honestly say each appointment instantly made my back, pelvic and sciatica pain disappear. Seeing a chiropractor regularly towards the end of pregnancy can help optimize the baby’s birth position, which is key to a smooth birth experience. I have small hips, and the chiropractors at The Brainery helped relieve tightness in my pelvic area and improved my pelvic position to allow more room for the baby. Our postpartum visits have helped with my back pain from lifting, carrying and breastfeeding the baby. My baby also gets adjustments, they immediately addressed early signs of torticollis when she was first born and have helped us support her physical and mental development. If you decide to work with a chiropractor during pregnancy, make sure to find one that’s Webster certified.
ACUPUNCTURIST – Dr. Hannah Tran, Tran Acupuncture
I started seeing Hannah at about four months postpartum to address my depletion and regain my vitality. Her acupuncture treatments and supplements she prescribed totally alleviated my sleep issues, lack of appetite and exhaustion and helped me feel like myself again. I saw major results in the first two weeks, and after six weeks, the difference was dramatic. Now that I’m entering week 10 of my second pregnancy, I’m happy to report that I’ve had basically no morning sickness with this pregnancy, and I truly believe Hannah’s care has made all the difference.
LACTATION CONSULTANT – Atlanta Lactation
If you’re planning to breastfeed, it’s a good idea to have a lactation consultant’s number saved in your phone, just in case. We met with a lactation consultant in the hospital, but only for a few minutes, and things seemed to go okay until we got home. Turns out, our daughter had trouble latching due to tongue, lip and cheek ties. My midwife recommended Atlanta Lactation, and it was such a relief to have an expert meet with us in the privacy of our home, see the actual chairs and pillows I was using to breastfeed, troubleshoot with us and make recommendations on methods and products to try.
PHYSICAL THERAPIST – Dr. Jennifer McGowan, ReGenerate Physiotherapy
Dr. McGowan did so much more for me than address my pelvic floor health during pregnancy. She gave me exercises to help prepare my body for birth. She introduced me to the concept of postpartum depletion. She asked about my mental health postpartum and gently let me know that anxiety can show up in a lot of different ways during the first months after birth. She diagnosed my diastasis recti and designed a recovery program to rebuild my strength; within six months, my diastasis was healed. Fortunately, my tearing and pelvic floor healed on their own over time, but having Dr. McGowan confirm that things were normal gave me such peace of mind. If she’s taught me anything it’s that you don’t have to suffer with pain and incontinence after having a baby, and there’s a lot you can do preventatively if you have the right support. If you decide to work with a physical therapist, definitely look for one who specializes in women’s health and the pelvic floor.