Building a Holistic Toolkit for Pregnancy, Postpartum, and Parenthood
Part 2: Physical Support

They say it takes a village, but how do you go about gathering one? Consider this your checklist. In part 2 of our series, we’re breaking down the potential members of your care team who can help you feel physically healthy, strong, and supported.

By Maris Feeley, Full-Spectrum Doula

Whether navigating a fertility journey, pregnancy, postpartum recovery, or parenthood, every woman needs a safety net of support to meet her needs wherever she’s at in her journey.

 

Consider this your checklist. In part 2 of our series, we’re breaking down the potential members of your care team who can help you feel physically healthy, strong, and supported.

Medical Care

Carrying, birthing, and caring for a little one is a powerful process for the body. Ensuring you stay healthy throughout is where trusted medical professionals come in.

 

When looking for medical care that feels like the best fit, consider continuity of care, the size of the practice, and philosophical approach. OBGYNs, with full medical school degree training, often operate from a more traditional or institutional approach, with specializations for high-risk pregnancies, surgeries, and medical conditions. Midwives function along a more holistic spectrum, often working with low-risk and low-intervention patients.


Some family practitioners can also support the full reproductive journey and extend their support to your little ones as well, if sticking with a specific practice or provider feels important for you and your family.

 

If you’ve already got an OBGYN or midwifery practice that you love for your own care, pediatricians can specifically address your children’s medical needs, but many are also shifting to provide care for parents as well by adding lactation consultants, or IBCLCs, to their staff! We encourage parents planning to chest/breastfeed to consider finding pediatric practices with IBCLC relationships.

We refuse to buy into toxic messaging around your “pre-baby” or “post-baby” body – there is simply your body, in all its strength and resiliency.

- Maris Feeley

Bodywork & Complementary Therapies

Beyond your team of medical experts, it’s also vital to have folks you can turn to for physical relief, even if what’s troubling you isn’t medically dangerous. Prenatal and postpartum massage therapists can provide relaxation and address chronic tension. Specially trained therapists can support you without gestational limits or postpartum waiting periods. If chiropractic care is in your practice, they can also assist in making adjustments and easing tension in the body.

 

Physical therapists provide rehabilitative support; growing and delivering a whole little human is not a pain-free process! Any sources of lingering discomfort in the body deserve to be addressed and ameliorated. Similarly, while internet memes about peeing your pants postpartum can provide a great laugh, pelvic floor therapists specialize in building and maintaining strength before, during, and after pregnancies.

Fitness & Everyday Practical Support

Physical health and well-being extends beyond troubleshooting; it’s also a necessary form of self-care. We refuse to buy into toxic messaging around your “pre-baby” or “post-baby” body – there is simply your body, in all its strength and resiliency.

 

We also believe that having a baby should not limit your capacity to enjoy whatever movement you like, as long as medically safe adjustments can be made. If you’re ever unsure about an exercise regimen, consult one of your trusted medical experts or therapists we mention above!

 

You deserve resources for physical fitness, from prenatal and postpartum yoga to high-energy movement classes. Occupational therapists can also help provide practical adjustments for everyday living.If you’re in the newborn phase and chest/breastfeeding, IBCLCs can provide advice not only around resolving medical complications but also in fostering a safe and sustainable relationship with infant feeding. Most IBCLCs also take insurance and provide referrals for further support.

 

Throughout your journey of motherhood, doulas can be empathetic guides in navigating it all. Whether providing evidence-based information, hands-on comfort, or space for you to feel it all, they’re professionals at customizing and centering your experience.

 

At Carolina Birth & Wellness, we feel honored to assist families every step of the way and to be a part of the HER Health Collective village. Check back soon for part three of our series, addressing mental and emotional resources for your holistic toolkit!

 

Get caught up and access Part One of this series.

 

Maris is a full-spectrum doula and reproductive justice advocate. Experienced in supporting birth, postpartum, loss, and bereavement, she also works as a childbirth educator and placenta encapsulation specialist. With an evidence-based approach, Maris creates spaces for women to make informed decisions that feel intuitive for their bodies and families. She is constantly in awe to share these moments in clients’ lives. Beyond being a full-time doula, Maris also stepped into a new role as co-owner and director of Carolina Birth & Wellness.

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