Before I ever became pregnant I was digging into anything and everything I could find for resources. I’ve always been the type of person to want to know all the angles before making decisions. I’ve laid out my favourites for you, from phone apps, to books and even some documentaries. To say I geeked out is an understatement. Take what you will from these resources! I found all of them helpful in different ways, some I loved more than others.
It’s a fun little free app that lets you track your pregnancy, connect with other women due the same month and receive weekly updates to watch that little babe grow. You can even compare the size of your baby to fruit, movie props or 80s nostalgia items. I’m sure there are many other similar apps out there, but I was content with this one and it’s user-friendly functions. From this app I was able to join a couple of Facebook groups to connect even more personal level.
The Philips Avent Pregnancy+ app is another great free resource. They have weekly sources pertaining to your point of pregnancy to check out as well as built ‘to-do’ list to help you organize your thoughts. But my favourite feature, and the one I mostly used was the weekly life-like baby updates. A 360 degree visualization of the size of your baby and its current stage of development.
I began searching for resources on self-guided meditation and natural pain coping mechanisms after being disappointed in basic childbirth classes. I was looking for something more than the basic answer of pain medication options and found the Expectful app. This was a perfect introduction to Hypnobirthing for me without, spending hours upon hours and dollars in the final weeks of my pregnancy. My favourite feature besides the comprehensive class is that the app has so many meditations for postpartum, sleep and baby as well as delivery. You can set up a 7-day trial to check it out, but this app runs at $12.49 monthly. If you hold out a bit they are bound to throw you a discount because I scored this year long subscription for only $30. Highly recommend Expectful if you are looking to ease anxiety through meditation, mindful movement such as yoga, or dive in to alternative pain management techniques.
Ok I’ll be honest with you, I actually haven’t really used this yoga app as much as I should have, but I still love it! For a free yoga app it really doesn’t hold back. You can subscribe to all of the Down Dog apps for a monthly fee and integrate with your Apple Health, but I feel like it does a perfect job strictly as a prenatal yoga app. You can set your parameters for yoga time, pregnancy trimester and areas of practice to focus on in your body.
It Starts with the Egg by Rebecca Fett
Before this pregnancy, there was another double pink lined test. In fact, there were several. And then they were gone within days, weeks. And while it’s not something I am ready to share just yet, it started my search for answers. And it led me to this book. If you are struggling with fertility, I HIGHLY RECOMMEND picking up ‘It Starts with the Egg’. Or check out the website for great resources. The changes recommended to make in your life to improve egg quality are simple, science based and you can take or leave as much of the information as you like.
Expecting Better by Emily Oster
A data driven book analyzed by an award-winning economist holding a PhD from Harvard. While the book is highly controversial, purely because no weight is offered by medical professionals, I dove right in. To be honest, my urge to read it came from those pesky comments made about drinking caffeine and alcohol, eating sushi and how I just needed to accept the drugs offered during labour. I was annoyed that all of a sudden my pregnant body was an open field to anyone wishing to comment. What Emily does is offer a risk-analysis guide based on existing data, or nonexistent in some cases to let you guide your own decisions. You may read it and not change a thing in your pregnancy, or you might find reassurance in your choices. I’m excited to dive into her other books on parenting.
Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth by Ina May Gaskin
I can honestly say I wish I picked up this book at the very beginning of pregnancy. Written by the nation’s leading midwife, she shares the benefits of natural childbirth by showing women how to trust their bodies. What I LOVE about the book is that she doesn’t ignore modern medicine, interventions and medical pain relief either. She’s open about when there is a time and place for certain interventions, how to make informed decisions with consent and trust your mind-body connection. The inspiring birth stories at the beginning are just a bonus.
Baby Care Workshop from The Baby Academy
This is a great, short FREE class to check out for basic newborn care once you are settled at home. You just have to book a spot! I highly recommend checking out their other free classes on baby safety and preparing to breastfeed. All it costs is your time.
Ultimate Childbirth Class from The Baby Academy
I loved the Baby Care Workshop so much that I registered for the full day childbirth class. This was great since there were no in person classes due to the pandemic, plus you receive a recording once the class has finished so you can go back and review at any time. While it was great to have a live instructor, I found the class to be nothing more than the basics of what to expect when you go into labour and enter the hospital. I guess I was hoping for more information on the physiology of giving birth and pain coping mechanisms, rather than a list of drugs available at the hospital. So while I recommend the class for birth partners and learning the importance of when to use medical intervention during birth, I felt it was lacking.
The Business of Being Born directed by Abby Epstein
Abby Epstein and Rikki Lake dive into the US health care system, the most advanced into the world, which has the second-highest infant mortality rate of any industrialized nation. It explores the history and rise of obstetrics, the fall and almost extinction of midwifery care and how American hospitals run as businesses. All the while midwifery continues to preside over the majority of births in Europe and Japan. And even though the Canadian medical system doesn’t run the same way, we follow pretty much identical practices. MIND BLOWN is all I can say. Grab some popcorn and rent it on YouTube or Vimeo.
Here are some great accounts to follow if you are in to birth photography or just looking for a positive birth atmosphere on your feed:
I highly recommend looking in to doula services if you think it might be right for you. Even if you are unsure, it’s good to have a conversation and learn more. Kaela from Crocus Doula has been an infinite pool of knowledge and resources as a prenatal birth coach. And while your partner will be an amazing support, there is comfort in knowing a objective party is present to keep you both calm and collected in times of stress. Especially when you don’t feel like you have the energy or ability to speak up.
The Birth Hour – A Birth Story Podcast by Bryn Huntpalmer
Hands down, MY MOST FAVOURITE RESOURCE. I’ve spent hours upon hours in the car listening to every possible birthing scenario on Bryn’s podcast. She uses a laid back, noninvasive approach by just letting women tell their stories from start to finish and offer their own resources at the end. I’ve heard stories that go sideways, births that stay as planned and have learned more birth and pregnancy terminology all while sitting at my steering wheel. A great way to inform yourself so there are no surprises at your delivery no matter which way it goes.