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Frequently Asked Questions

When I'm thinking of becoming pregnant, where do I go for care?

For information and counselling before getting pregnant, contact the IWK Perinatal Centre.

Where can I get help with breastfeeding?

All of the Registered Nurses that work in the Maternal and Newborn Care Program can assist you with breastfeeding - whether you are just learning about breastfeeding before your baby is born, or if you are an experienced parent. At night, you can call the Family and Newborn Unit at (902) 470-7135. The Public Health Nurses and Parent Resource Centres in your area also can help you.The Public Health Nurses and Parent Resource Centres in your area also can help you.

Visit thse links for more resources and information:

I need medical care for my pregnancy. How can I get it?

If you need medical care for your pregnancy, you should first visit your family doctor. If your physician is not specialized in obstetrics then you should ask them to refer you to a family physician who can care for you during your pregnancy. You may also receive a referral to an obstetrician at the IWK Health Centre. Call 811 or visit and register at the Need a Family Practice Registry to be notified when a primary care provider in your area is accepting new patients.

If you would like to apply for a midwife for your pregnancy you can request an intake form by emailing or by calling the clinic at 902-491-2292.  Please note: you may be placed on a waitlist due to the high demand for Midwifery care.

Where do I go if I am experiencing a problem related to my pregnancy?

If you are experiencing a problem with your pregnancy it is important to call your doctor first. They may ask you to go to the IWK Admitting Department on main floor of the Women's site off University Avenue and then to the Early Labour Assessment Unit for evaluation.

How do I know I am in labour? When should I go to the Health Centre? Where can I get a "refresher" prior to labour?

You should ask your health care provider (your doctor, nurse, midwife etc.) when you should go to the Health Centre.

The IWK Health Centre offers "refresher" courses prior to labour, as does the Public Health Department - phone (902) 481-5842. 

What is an Ultrasound? Do I need one? When?

An Ultrasound examination uses sound waves and echoes to make images of your baby. When a pregnant individual has an ultrasound, a hand-held device is rubbed along the patient's belly. It releases sound waves that bounce off the developing baby. The echoes from the returning sound waves make an image of the fetus on a T.V. monitor. An ultrasound thoroughly examines your baby from head to toe, and is painless. Some patients may be asked to have a full bladder which can be uncomfortable. An ultrasound is an important part of prenatal care because it can provide the mother and physician with important information about your baby. 

You may have an ultrasound in early pregnancy to:

  • confirm the baby is growing inside the uterus (womb);
  • confirm the patient is pregnant with a single baby or if there is more than one baby present; and,
  • estimate the baby's due date

or between 18 and 20 weeks of pregnancy to:

  • help estimate the baby's due date;
  • watch the baby's growth;
  • help perform tests; and,
  • find certain birth defects

or in late pregnancy to:

  • find out how the baby is doing;
  • check the growth of the baby; and,
  • help plan the delivery

Your partner or support person is welcome to accompany you for your ultrasound examination. You may have a short wait before your ultrasound, and the actual examination usually takes 30 minutes.

What vitamins and minerals should I take during my pregnancy?

It is very important to eat a healthy diet following the Canada's Food Guide for pregnant and lactating women. Also, your doctor, nurse or dietician will advise you to take folic acid, or a multivitamin that contains folic acid. Taking folic acid BEFORE becoming pregnant can greatly reduce a woman's chances of having a baby with a neural tube defect (an open area of the spine). It is recommended that all women of childbearing age take a folic acid supplement.

Eating Well with Canada’s food guide: