PEI Reproductive Care Program
The Reproductive Care Program provides information to support fetal, maternal, newborn, and family health during the prenatal and postnatal periods. The program is also responsible for the provincial perinatal database.
What should I know before I get pregnant to ensure a healthy pregnancy for me and my baby?
- Folic acid: If you are thinking about becoming pregnant or if you could become pregnant, you need to take a multivitamin with folic acid [PDF | 1, 153 KB] every day to help prevent birth defects of your baby's brain and spinal cord.
- Immunization: If you are planning to have a baby, contact Public Health Nursing to ensure your immunizations are up-to-date before you get pregnant. Some vaccine preventable diseases such as Varicella (Chicken pox) can be harmful to your developing baby. Ask if you are due for a Pertussis (Whooping Cough) immunization.
- Smoking: When you or the people around you smoke, your baby smokes too. A smoke-free environment is best for both you and your developing baby. Learn more. Talk to your health care provider or public health nurse if you would like to get help to stop smoking before you become pregnant.
- Alcohol Use: Alcohol and pregnancy don't mix [PDF | 484 KB]. Important Fact: There is no safe amount or safe time to drink alcohol during pregnancy or when planning to be pregnant. Learn more. Talk to your health care provider or public health nurse if you would like to get help to stop drinking (alcohol) before you become pregnant.
- Rh factor: Your blood is one of four major types: A, B, AB, or O. Blood types are determined by the types of antigens on the blood cells. Antigens are proteins on the surface of blood cells that can cause a response from the immune system. The Rh factor is a type of protein on the surface of red blood cells. Most people who have the Rh factor are Rh positive. Those who do not have the Rh factor are Rh negative. When an Rh negative woman is pregnant, her baby maybe Rh positive. This means the baby’s father has passed on the Rh positive factor to the baby. Learn more about the Rh factor.
- Having a healthy pregnancy: The Sensible Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy provides helpful information for a healthy pregnancy. It also contains a ten-month pregnancy calendar that you can personalize to help keep track of what week of pregnancy you are in.
- Prenatal nutrition: Your nutritional and overall health before and during pregnancy can influence the health of your developing baby. Eating well, combined with taking a daily multivitamin can give you nutrients needed to feel good, have energy, and support a healthy pregnancy. Learn more about prenatal nutrition.
I’m pregnant, what prenatal information should I know about?
- Prenatal classes: Public Health Nursing provides prenatal assessments and prenatal classes that offer helpful information for:
- experiencing a healthy pregnancy, birth and recovery;
- feeding and caring for your baby (breastfeeding, nutrition and infant care);
- learning about your child’s stages of growth and development;
- understanding infant immunization; and,
- keeping your family safe and healthy.
Call Public Health Nursing early in your pregnancy to register for prenatal classes. There is no cost to participate. You will also receive a guided tour of the labour and delivery area of the hospital. View the Healthy Mother ... Healthy Baby [PDF | 215 KB], prenatal information for you and your baby.
- Blood tests: Learn about blood tests [PDF | 369 KB] done to detect infections and other conditions during pregnancy.
- Alcohol and pregnancy: Alcohol and pregnancy don't mix [PDF | 484 KB]. Important Fact: There is no safe amount or safe time to drink alcohol during pregnancy or when planning to be pregnant. If you drink while pregnant, alcohol can cause birth defects and brain damage to your developing baby. Learn more. Talk to your health care provider or public health nurse if you would like to get help to stop drinking (alcohol) when you are pregnant.
- Immunization: Pertussis (Whooping Cough) can be life threatening for babies and young children. Anyone who will be in close contact with you or your baby should be immunized for Pertussis (Whooping Cough). This is a free, safe, and effective vaccine and is appropriate for parents, brothers and/or sisters of the baby, grandparents, and any potential caregiver. For the best protection have these special people in your life call their local Public Health Nursing office to see if they are due for a booster immunization and to make an appointment to have this done before your baby is born.
- Abuse during pregnancy: Pregnancy is a time of change. Pregnancy brings about many changes in a relationship. It is important for a woman and her baby to have supportive, caring relationships. Learn more about keeping yourself and your baby safe [PDF | 230 KB].
- Preterm labour: Know the warning signs of preterm labour [PDF | 54 KB].
- Miscarriage: A miscarriage is the loss of pregnancy [PDF | 70 KB] from natural causes before the 20th week of pregnancy.
- Feeding Your Baby: Plan wisely for your baby. You want your baby to get the nutrition they need to grow up strong and healthy. Today, most women breastfeed their babies. Breastfeeding is important and gives your baby just the right amount of protein, carbohydrates, fat, vitamins, and minerals. It provides antibodies and other immune factors that help protect your baby against infections and disease. Learn more:
- Support for the loss of a baby: If you have experienced the loss of an infant through miscarriage, stillbirth or another complication, the following organizations can provide you with support:
- Support Catholic Family Services: 902-894-3515
- Family Service PEI: 902-892-2441
- Broken Hearts-Shattered Dreams: 902-675-4047
- Stillborn and Neonatal Self-Help Group: 902-892-0018
I’m a new mom caring for my baby, what should I know?
- Feeding and Immunizing Your Baby: Your baby will grow rapidly during his/her first year. Learn more:
- Breastfeeding: Breastfeeding is natural, but is a practiced skill and may take time to learn. Learn tips to help with breastfeeding your baby [PDF | 1.4 MB]. Learn more:
- Formula feeding:
- Protecting your baby from Pertussis (Whooping Cough): Pertussis can be life threatening for babies and young children. Anyone who will be in close contact with you or your baby should be immunized for Pertussis. For the best protection have them call their local Public Health Nursing office to see if they are due for a booster immunization and to make an appointment as soon as possible if they have not done this before your baby is born. Learn more about protecting your baby from Pertussis [PDF | 99 KB].
- Period of PURPLE Crying: A prevention program to help educate parents and caregivers about normal infant crying and the dangers of shaking an infant. Learn more about the Period of PURPLE Crying Program.
- Newborn blood collection and screening: All babies born in PEI are tested for thyroid disease and other disorders. A few drops of blood will be taken from your baby’s heel to be tested. By early screening, disorders can be treated before symptoms appear. Learn more about the Maritime Newborn Screening Program and Newborn Blood Collection in PEI [PDF | 1,718 KB].
- Safe Sleep for Your Baby: Learn how to help your baby sleep safely and lower the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). Watch the video on Safe Sleep for Your Baby.
- Preparing your dog for life with a new baby: Learn tips for building a safe and loving bond between your child and your dog.
- Booster seats: Booster seats are designed to allow seat belt use by children who no longer need forward-facing seats. Learn more about booster seat use in PEI.
- Family Violence: View the Family Violence Resource Guide [PDF | 227 KB] of available services.
- Health and Safety Information: Learn about recalls, health and safety, nutrition, infant care, having a healthy pregnancy, etc.
What is the PEI Perinatal Database?
Data about care and outcomes for pregnant women and newborns is collected from medical records of Queen Elizabeth Hospital and Prince County Hospital. Information is used to assess and improve maternal and newborn care, education and support on PEI.
Information includes maternal health indicators:
- demographics (age);
- lifestyle behaviours (alcohol, drug and tobacco use, body weight and BMI, and number of pregnancies);
- prenatal status and interventions (labour and type of birth (induction, caesarean, breech, etc.), diabetes or hypertension);
- intra-partum and postnatal status and interventions (length of stay in hospital and complications);
- births (birth weights, nutrition/feeding-breastfeeding, premature, multiple and stillbirths, congenital anomalies, birth defects and malformations);
- newborn readmissions; and
- perinatal morbidity and mortality statistics.
All data deposited in the database is secure and confidential. Rigorous data quality checks are applied to ensure a high level of data integrity and consistency.
- View the PEI Perinatal Database Report 2011 [PDF | 643 KB].
How can I contact the Reproductive Care Program?
Reproductive Care Program
161 St. Peters Road
Charlottetown, PE C1A 7N8
Telephone: (902) 368-4952