Supports for newcomer moms (or expectant moms)

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Having a baby can be one of the most wonderful events in your family life. However, newcomer moms can be anxious as they are in a new country, far away from their support group, family and friends.

If you are pregnant or have just given birth, don’t worry. There are many programs and supports that are available for you here.

Getting help before and after the birth

  1. Services for expectant or new mothers

    Service Canada – You will find information on:

    • Maternity and Parental Leave
    • Child benefits
    • Saving for your child’s future (RESP)
    • Resources to ensure your baby’s health and security
    • Information about: getting a birth certificate, Social Insurance Number (SIN) and availing government benefits.
  2. The Manitoba Prenatal Benefit

    The Manitoba Prenatal Benefit provides financial aid (for families earning less than $32,000 a year) to spend on healthy food during pregnancy.

    • The amount you receive will be based on your income. You could get between $10.00 to $81.41 a month.
    • If you are approved, you can start to receive monthly cheques on your second trimester of pregnancy until the month your baby is due.
    • The benefit cannot be applied retroactively. Apply for it as soon as possible.
    • You will need a confirmation pf pregnancy from a nurse practitioner, midwife, family doctor, or public health nurse.
  3. Healthy Baby Community Support Programs

    • Teaches new parents about pregnancy, the baby’s growth and development, nutrition and health, breastfeeding support.
    • Provides parenting tips
    • Connects you with health care professionals, other moms and new parents.
    • Provides free milk coupons (during your pregnancy until your baby is six months old), bus tickets and childminding (where available).

    There are many of these programs in your community in Winnipeg or if you are in rural and northern areas. A good example is the Healthy Start for Mom & Me Manitoba which is a neighborhood-based adult education for expectant and new families for babies up to one year. It provides camaraderie and practical support for families of all cultures, backgrounds, challenges and strengths.

  4. Midwifery Services

    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. You can self-refer or ask to be referred by your health care provider (Public Health Nurse or your doctor). You can get midwifery services at Access Centres, Women’s Health Clinic and Mt. Carmel. Midwives also provide comprehensive pre-natal and post-partum support for up to six weeks after the baby is born.

  5. Birth Centre

    Women having low risk/healthy pregnancies may choose to give birth at the Women’s Health Clinic Birth Centre. You must be under the care of a midwife to access their services. Newcomers are considered a priority population for midwifery intake.

  6. Do you need an interpreter? If you can’t speak English or French, you can ask for an interpreter. When a Winnipeg Regional Health Authority (WRHA) interpreter cannot be scheduled in advance, they can conduct an over-the-phone interpretation.

  7. Well-baby visits

    Public Health Nurses can provide support before and after you give birth. Public Health Teams in each area of the city receive a notice whenever a baby and mom leave a hospital. A Public Health Nurse will visit your home shortly to check-up on you to see how your baby is doing and to ask if you need support, for example on infant feeding or if you have health questions.

Childminding/babysitting services

When your infant is a little bit older (at least three months), you may need some time to take care of other things, like looking for a job, or attending to other activities. For occasional childcare, you can avail of free childminding services (or for a minimal fee) from:

Families can also avail of full-time or part-time care during the day, evenings or weekends in a licensed childcare centre, family child care or a nursery school. For more information on these centres and how to choose one, read our article 5 Steps to finding child care services.

You are not alone

There is no shame in availing of these programs and supports, as they are made specifically for newcomers. They are free and funded by the government, so all you have to do is ask for help and participate. You can even call these agencies and institutions prior to giving birth to know schedules and requirements so that you are already set when you need their services. Together with your husband’s support, you should be able to enjoy this precious moment in your family life and concentrate on the joys of raising a healthy and happy child.

Article updated February 14, 2019.

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Community Resources

The Childbirth preparation, breastfeeding and postpartum support brochure lists down places where you can get these services in Winnipeg (compiled by the Adolescent Parent Interagency Network, as of 2015).

You can also read the article Health tips for expectant and new moms for more suggestions on where to get health advice and support.

Manitoba Parent Zone has all your questions covered at the various stages of your child’s life. It has an “Ask an Expert”section where you will find the top questions and answers about child care (or you can call their toll free line). The site also links to community programs and supports nearest you.

The CMAS has the “New in Canada” parent support series brochures that you can download and print. The brochures are available in various languages.

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Everyday Conversations

This is a sample dialogue featuring a newcomer inquiring about a Parenting program. Anita is a new mom who is interested in attending the Healthy Start for Mom & Me Parent and Baby group. She is calling to know more about the program. She is also asking how to reach the venue:

Ursula: Good morning! Thank you for calling Health Start for Mom & Me. How may I help you?

Anita: Good morning. I am interested in the Parent and Baby group program. Can you tell me more about it?

Ursula: Certainly! Our Parent and Baby group program is for pregnant moms and those who have a baby under 1 year. We offer information about feeding your baby, breastfeeding help and support, parenting and even nutrition.

Anita: I see. My baby is six months old. How do I join?

Ursula: You just need to bring your Manitoba Health Card and go to the drop-in nearest you.

Anita: Is there one near Daniel McIntyre?

Ursula: Let me check, give me one moment. Yes, Magnus Eliason Recreation Centre is the one nearest you. The address is 430 Langside Street. There will be a session tomorrow from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. The room is on the second floor.

Anita: I don’t know where that is. Can you tell me some landmarks I should watch out for?

Ursula: We are close to the University of Winnipeg. But if you need a map, you can see one on our website. We also posted a photo of the centre so it will be easy for you to recognize it when you’re near.

Anita: I will check out your website. Thank you for your help.

Ursula: Don’t mention it. We hope to see you soon. Goodbye.

Anita: See you and goodbye!


Notes:
People can also start with “Hello” when they answer the phone. It would be proper for you to greet the person with a “Good morning/afternoon/evening” or a more informal “Hi” before you state your purpose. When asking about a program, you can either say “I would like to ask about/know about…” or “I am interested in the ___ program. How do I register?”

Saying “I see” means that you understand what was said. On the contrary, when you do not understand what was said or if the phone line is not clear, you can say:
“I’m sorry, did you say that …?” or
“Could you repeat that, please? I did not hear you very well” or
“The line is breaking, I did not hear you. Could you say that again?”

“Let me check” or “Hold on a moment” signals that he or she will be away for a few seconds to look for the answer to your question. You can either say “OK, thank you” or just “OK” or “Alright” to indicate that you know that you will be put “on hold” (temporary delay) for some time.

“Landmark” means a building or feature of a landscape or town that is easily seen or recognized from a distance. It is one that enables someone to establish a location.

“I will check out …” is another way to say “I will look at or assess” something.

“Don’t mention it” is an informal way of saying “You’re welcome.” You can also say “No problem” or “Happy to help” instead of the more formal “You are welcome.”

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Quiz

Support for newcomer moms (or expectant moms)

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