Health tips for expectant and new moms

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Being pregnant in a new land can be a scary prospect. But you don’t have to worry. In Manitoba, there are many supports for immigrant moms-to-be that are tailor-fitted specifically for newcomers. These programs and services take into account needs such as language translation, or cultural or religious concerns in reproductive health services. This article will inform you about the many resources available, both online and face-to-face, that will help you throughout the stages of your pregnancy and even after you have given birth.

Having a baby in Manitoba

This video from Entry Program will show you the steps from confirming your pregnancy to delivery. It will give you a good idea of how doctor’s appointments are done, where you can give birth, what public programs you should avail, how to make the most of doctor’s or nurse’s visits, and other tips:

Prenatal and Postnatal care

Staying healthy while pregnant is the priority of moms-to-be. Good nutrition and maintaining a sound physical and mental well-being are foremost for your developing baby and can contribute to a smooth delivery. In support of healthy pregnancy, the province offers the Manitoba Prenatal Benefit which provides financial aid (for families earning less than $32,000 a year) to spend on healthy food. The benefit also provides access to other support programs during pregnancy.

Aside from good nutrition, you should ensure that you:

  1. have regular check-ups with your doctor (an obstetrician or midwife) who can also provide proper advice on maintaining a healthy pregnancy such as prescribing a good diet, vitamins or other supplements.
  2. avoid caffeine, alcohol, smoking (and second-hand smoke) and taking over-the-counter drugs and herbal medicine without consulting your obstetrician or midwife
  3. get enough exercise and reduce stress
  4. get adequate sleep (at least eight hours).
  5. wear comfortable, non-restricting clothes and shoes

To know more healthy pregnancy tips, you can attend free drop-in prenatal classes for newcomers offered by Healthy Start for Mom and Me to learn more about nutrition, parenting and other topics. You may need to register if you are a first time participant. You can also attend seminars offered by the Healthy Baby Community Support Programs which are available in Winnipeg and in rural and northern areas of Manitoba. Meanwhile, the Manitoba Association for Childbirth and Family Education also offers group or individual classes, but please note that they require a fee.

Immediate information is also available online. Go to:

For answers to your questions on pregnancy and child care. Get a downloadable pregnancy calendar, fun quizzes and e-cards to share your good news.

Call the Manitoba Parent Zone’s toll free number (1-877-945-4777) for questions needing immediate answers.

Do you need a midwife or a doula?

In Manitoba, you have the option to have a doctor or a midwife to consult and support you through your pregnancy until child birth and several weeks after giving birth. You can also hire a doula. A doula is a trained person who supports a woman and her family during her pregnancy and childbirth. The Manitoba Association for Childbirth and Family Education website has information on hiring one.

If you need a midwife, you can self-refer or ask to be referred by your health care provider (Public Health Nurse or your doctor). You can also use this online service from The College of Midwives of Manitoba. You can get midwifery services at Access Centres, Women’s Health Clinic and Mt. Carmel. Having a midwife is a free service for eligible families. You can give birth at home or at the Birth Centre if you have a midwife. Midwives also provide comprehensive pre-natal and post-partum support for up to six weeks after the baby is born.

What is postpartum depression?

A Canadian study indicated that immigrants, refugees and women seeking asylum in Canada are four to five times more likely to suffer from postpartum depression symptoms than women born in Canada (Stewart, 2008, as cited from Giving birth in a new land, Best Start, Ontario). Postpartum depression is a mental illness that affects the mood of a pregnant or new mom. Signs of depression include feeling sad, worthless, hopeless, guilty or anxious a lot of the time (Canadian Mental Health Association).

While it is normal for new moms to worry or have mood swings after giving birth, people with postpartum depression have stronger feelings of sadness or emptiness that persist for more than several weeks. If you think you need help, go to Winnipeg Health to read about symptoms and find out where to get help. You can also read the article What is postpartum depression? to know more about this illness.

Article updated February 14, 2019.

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Community Resources

To know more about program supports and services for newcomer moms and expectant moms in Manitoba, read Supports for newcomer moms (or expectant moms).

Pregnancy Winnipeg is a directory-in-progress that contains resources for pregnant and new moms. It has lists of where to buy maternity and baby paraphernalia, to services such as prenatal classes to maternity photographers.

The Aurora Family Therapy Centre provides a host of services for family, relationship and individual therapy. It has a program for newcomers as well as individual therapy for depression, anxiety and other problems you may need help with.

The Adolescent Parent Interagency Network connects pregnant or parenting teens to high quality services whether or not they are the primary caregivers.

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Health tips for expectant and new moms

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