IWK

1.902.470.8888

1.888.470.5888

Emergency: 911
Telecare: 811
Poison: 1-800-565-8161
5850/5980 University Ave., Halifax, NS B3K 6R8

Having a Baby - Frequently Asked Questions

What is quiet time? How will it affect me and my visitors?
The IWK Health Centre has quiet time on the Family & Newborn Unit, from 2 - 4 p.m., each day. Quiet time enhances care by providing families with a dedicated time to rest, as well as increases time for staff to teach new parents. It is intended to improve the overall health and wellness of families so that they are better prepared to go home. The IWK Health Centre encourages visitors to please respect the quiet time hours on the Family & Newborn Unit. 

When I'm thinking of becoming pregnant, where do I go for care?
For information and counseling before getting pregnant, call the IWK Perinatal Centre at 902.470.8365.

How do I register for prenatal classes?
Public Health offers free classes for expectant mothers and their partner or someone else they’ve chosen to support them.

For more information, please click here.

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 mom! The Public Health Nurses can also help you. You can call the Public Health Breastfeeding Support Line at 902.481.5852 or the LaLeche League at 902.470.7029. Public Health also offers Breastfeeding Support groups through its family resource centres. For details, please call 902.481.5800. 

For more information on community resources to support you, please click here to open a PDF brochure.

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 him/her 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. If you are in need of a family doctor you can visit this website for a listing of physicians accepting new patients: http://www.gov.ns.ca/health/physicians/.

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 Building 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, 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)-481-5800. 

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 mother has an ultrasound, a hand-held device is rubbed along the mother'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 TV monitor. An ultrasound thoroughly examines your baby from head to toe, and is painless. Some mothers 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 mother 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.

Where can I get more information on community supports for my new family?
Please click here to open a PDF brochure prepared by the IWK's Family and Newborn Unit that includes detailed information on community-based suppports available to you. 

When should I install my baby’s car seat?

  • Install your baby’s car seat into your vehicle at least four weeks before your baby’s due date. 
  • Use a rear-facing infant car seat.
  • Follow the instructions for the car seat and the vehicle owner’s manual for how to install the seat and harness the baby.

For more information on car seat safety please call Child Safety Link at 1.866.288.1388 or 902.470.7036. Or visit their website at www.childsafetylink.ca.