Programs that provide information and instruction concerning appropriate techniques for nursing an infant for expectant parents or new mothers.
Programs that offer classes or other educational experiences which prepare prospective mothers and their birth partners emotionally and physically for the labour and birth process. Topics covered include anatomy and physiology of birth, relaxation and breathing techniques, different types of labours, birthing/delivery options and postpartum care. Also included are programs that prepare other members of the family (grandparents and siblings) for the arrival of a new family member.
Programs that provide facilities and/or necessary medical attention for individuals who are ready to give birth.
Programs that offer the services of doulas, individuals experienced in childbirth who are specially trained to provide continuous physical, emotional and informational support for pregnant individuals before, during and just after labour and childbirth. The doula helps in the development of a birth plan; provides an objective view of the progress of labour; helps the pregnant individual make adjustments if unexpected demands or complications arise; guides them in breathing techniques, positioning, massage and use of the bath, shower, birth ball, hot and cold packs and other comfort measures; communicates with their birth partner; and makes one or more postpartum visits to the family's home following birth to offer guidance and support during the early weeks of parenting. "Doula" is a Greek word for "women helping women".
Programs that utilize licensed midwives (health care professionals with specialized training in maternal and child health care and the management of labour and delivery) to provide health care services for mothers and infants during pregnancy and delivery and following birth.
Programs that provide medical care for infants during the first six weeks following birth to ensure good health and normal development.
Programs that provide follow-up medical care for women during the first six weeks following delivery to ensure that they are recovering normally from childbirth.
Programs that provide comprehensive health care services including a risk assessment, health promotion and counselling to maximize the health of individuals of childbearing age before they become pregnant. The objective of preconception care is to eliminate (or at least reduce the incidence of) infertility, recurrent spontaneous abortions, premature births, perinatal death, low birth weight and birth defects by identifying and reducing reproductive risks which may include HIV infection, hepatitis B, rubella, toxoplasmosis, cardiovascular disease, hypertension, diabetes, use of some types of medication, electromagnetic radiation, nutritional/weight status, lifestyle risks such as smoking, alcohol use or substance abuse and adverse genetic factors. Preconception care is particularly important for individuals
with chronic health conditions such as diabetes or disabilities.
Programs that provide medical care for pregnant individuals from the time of conception to the onset of labour to ensure their own physical well-being and the healthy development and birth of their child. Services generally include identification of risk factors based on age, health and/or personal and family history that may affect a pregnancy; diet and lifestyle advice; routine checkups to look for signs of problems associated with pregnancy (such as edema, preeclampsia, or gestational diabetes) and to assure that the pregnancy is progressing well; ultrasound and other forms of prenatal testing to monitor fetal development and check for possible birth defects; and general information about being pregnant, e.g., what is normal and what is cause for concern, remedies for morning sickness or sleeplessness, managing weight gain and other common issues.
The above terms and definitions are part of the Taxonomy of Human Services, used here by permission of INFO LINE of Los Angeles.