Health Coverage and Benefits

In British Columbia, new parents can take up to 12 months of maternity leave. If both parents take leave, they can split it for up to 18 months, with the same benefits. Maternity care provided by a Family Doctor or Midwife is covered by the BC Medical Services Plan (MSP), the public health insurance plan for residents who have lived in BC for at least six months. An active BC Medical Services card is required to receive MSP coverage during pregnancy and postpartum. If you want to learn more about MSP coverage or maternity and parental leave in British Columbia, we have collected some helpful resources to explore. Remember to connect with your maternity provider to ensure you have all the necessary information to stay on track!

Immunizations and Vaccinations

This topic can evoke several questions and opinions. Vaccines are crucial in protecting you and your baby during pregnancy. Inactivated vaccines, including flu and Tdap vaccines, are safe during pregnancy. However, live-attenuated vaccines like MMR and varicella are not recommended during pregnancy due to the risk they pose to the developing baby. If you plan to get pregnant, it’s best to get these vaccines at least four weeks before conception. Your trusted healthcare provider can provide more information and guidance on which vaccines are safe for you and your baby and what timing would be optimal. Check out our vaccine resources to learn more about how vaccines can help keep you and your baby healthy.

Supplements, Vitamins and Medications

Taking supplements, vitamins, and prescription medications can significantly impact pre-pregnancy health and pregnancy outcomes. For example, did you know some people are advised to take higher doses of folic acid during pregnancy? Check with your provider to see what’s best for your situation. Also, perhaps folate might be part of some of the foods you already enjoy. Check out our list of resources and get the low-down on the benefits of folic acid, iron and other essential vitamins and supplements to help enable a healthy pregnancy and baby.

COVID-19 and Pregnancy

It’s important to stay up-to-date on the latest information about COVID-19 and pregnancy. Did you know that COVID vaccines are considered safe and effective for pregnant individuals? Our website has a comprehensive list of resources to help you navigate these decisions and discussions, including information on vaccine safety, prenatal care, and more. Be sure you’re equipped with reliable information to help protect you, your baby and your loved ones. While there’s a lot of information out there, check out our trusted resources.

Thinking Ahead?

If you’re considering pregnancy, you likely have questions and concerns about what to expect. If you don’t just yet, begin your exploration here. Our Early Pregnancy section has a comprehensive list of Common Questions and Concerns to help address some of your curiosities. For example, discomforts like nausea are common experiences during early pregnancy, but our resources can help you know what to expect and how to manage these symptoms to feel more at ease. 

It’s also important to think about your mental health, particularly throughout a pregnancy journey. For example, if you have an existing mental health condition or are worried about your mental health during pregnancy, the Reproductive Mental Health Programs at BC Women’s Hospital or St. Paul’s Hospital can provide valuable support. The programs require referrals, but it’s worth being aware of the supports that may be available to you. This is a key topic to check in with your maternity provider about so that you know you’ve got resources and any needed expertise to support you on your journey, even if there are bumps along the way!

Food and Nutrition

If you’re considering starting a family, now is an ideal time to reflect on your lifestyle choices. While removing them is ideal, reducing alcohol, tobacco, and other substances from your routine is critical, particularly at this time. Focusing on a healthy diet and nutrition will also be important. Our Early Pregnancy section has various resources to supplement your relationship with your maternity provider and to help you make the positive changes you’re ready for. Visit our valuable resources and start making impactful changes that will benefit you, your baby, and perhaps even others in your life!

Thinking Ahead?

Are you planning for your pregnancy? It’s never too early to start thinking about the tests, labs, and appointments you’ll need once you become pregnant. Jump ahead to our Early Pregnancy section for a variety of resources to help you prepare. From information on prenatal screenings to what to expect during your first prenatal visit, we’ve got you covered. Take a look and start planning for a healthy and fruitful pregnancy! 

Maternity Program and Services has a wealth of patient information to guide you in your journey. As we continue to add content to our website, our goal is to review and recommend more information for you about services and programs in Vancouver. In the meantime, we encourage you to visit the list of programs and services available on Pathways BC as well as what is currently listed on BC211.

Planning Your Pregnancy

It can be normal to feel overwhelmed by the thought of everything you need to plan for during pregnancy. Taking it one step at a time and building your relationship with your care provider can offer comfort and increase your confidence. Check out these pregnancy planning tools that others have found to be helpful. One specific resource, The Aboriginal Pregnancy Passport draws on Indigenous teachings to share additional perspectives for you to consider. Have a look through all of our resources on pregnancy planning and see what works best for you!

Fertility and Conception

Understanding your menstrual cycle and ovulation is helpful when you’re trying to conceive. Ovulation happens 14 days before your menstrual cycle begins, and the optimal time to conceive is the day of or the day before ovulation. Fortunately, many free apps and resources are available to help track this information. Try using this ovulation calculator to help predict your most fertile days and increase your chances of conception. Simply input the first day of your last period and the length of your cycle. Browse all of our conception and fertility resources, and don’t hesitate to reach out to your healthcare provider if you have questions or need support with your fertility.