Throughout your pregnancy you have access to a variety of health professionals who will help care for you and your baby. There is also a whole range of services available that can help you through this important period of your life.
Access to health professionals, hospitals and birthing centres, birthing coaches, and prenatal classes and activities varies by region. For information about the services available in your area, contact a health professional at a local hospital, clinic, or CLSC.
Health professionals who provide prenatal care and attend deliveries include some family doctors, midwives, and obstetrician/gynecologists. Since 2007, primary health care nurse practitioners have also been authorized to provide pre- and post-natal care. In addition, you will meet nurses at your prenatal classes, your CLSC, in medical clinics or hospital high-risk pregnancy clinics (GAREs), and during your labour and delivery.
If you’re thinking about giving birth at home or at a birthing centre, contact your local CLSC at the start of your pregnancy to find out if midwife services are available in your area.
Many health professionals work as a team. You can ask your health professional how his or her team works and who will be there for the birth of your baby. It is important that you trust and feel supported by your health professional. Feel free to ask even the most basic questions.
You have the right to change healthcare professionals at any time during your pregnancy. If you do so, make sure to have your file transferred so you and your baby receive seamless, quality care.
Other health professionals who are not directly involved in providing prenatal care may also be of help, such as nutritionists, pharmacists, psychologists, social workers, and sex therapists.
Doulas help women during their pregnancy and delivery. They can provide additional support and information, even if they are not technically health professionals. They can also provide assistance after your baby is born.
If you would like to have a doula, it is important to choose someone you and your partner trust and feel comfortable expressing your needs to during your pregnancy and delivery.
It is best to inform your health professional if you intend to have a doula present at the delivery. Keep in mind that doulas often charge for their services. Fees vary by organization and may also depend on your financial resources.
CLSCs offer a variety of services and can also refer you to other organizations.
Photo : Pascale Turcotte
After your baby has arrived, your CLSC will ressources/clsc/. be there for you too! It can help you adjust to motherhood or fatherhood by offering services such as home visits, respite care, nursing support, parental support, and parent–child stimulation groups. If needed, you can also meet with social workers at your CLSC.
Centres locaux de services communautaires (CLSCs) are the gateway to health and social services for everyone. They offer a wide range of services to pregnant women and parents. Services may vary by region, but all CLSCs provide care for families.
CLSCs can also inform you of the services available in your region and help answer any questions you have about your health and well-being. A few days after the birth, a CLSC nurse may visit you at home to make sure everything is going well for you and your baby.
Your CLSC works in collaboration with childcare centres known as centres de la petite enfance (CPEs) to provide any help you may need. It also works with community organizations that support families. It can refer you to resources in your community as required.
If you are experiencing financial hardship, you may be eligible for the OLO program. It provides low-income pregnant women with one egg, a litre of milk, a glass of orange juice, and a vitamin and mineral supplement each day, free of charge. This program also offers the personalized services of a nurse or nutritionist.
To find the CLSC in your area
Info-Santé is a free, 24-hour health hotline available in most regions throughout Québec. You can call Info-Santé at any time to talk with a nurse about any health issues you may have. This service is provided through CLSCs.
For more information about this service, go to sante.gouv.qc.ca/en/systeme-sante-en-bref/info-sante-8-1-1.
To call Info-Santé from anywhere in Québec (except northern Québec: Terres-Cries-de-la-Baie-James and Nunavik), dial 8-1-1.
Prenatal classes and activities
Prenatal classes are designed to answer your questions about things like pregnancy, labour, delivery, breast-feeding, and newborn care. This information is generally provided during meetings, and fathers are encouraged to attend. Classes are also an opportunity to talk with people who are going through the same things you are.
Yoga, aerobics, aqua fitness, and other classes are great opportunities to have fun, get moving, meet other parents-to-be, and obtain useful information during your pregnancy. Many CLSCs and community and private organizations offer activities for expectant mothers. Course philosophy, start dates, length, number of students, and costs vary from one organization to the next. Some activities are for women only, while others are open to couples.
To find out what is available in your area, ask your health professional or contact your CLSC.
For more resources, see Resources for parents.