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Accessible Care Pregnancy Clinic
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Resources

Resources at Sunnybrook

Emotional health in pregnancy

Pregnancy is a time of change and anticipation. Pregnancy can be a difficult period of time for some women in terms of their emotional health. If you are noticing a change in your mood and coping, we encourage proper sleep, and nutrition and self-care strategies that have been effective for you in the past. It may help to reach out to your existing family support network to discuss your mood. Depression occurs in about 15 per cent of women in pregnancy or postpartum. Anxiety may be more common during pregnancy as well. There is some evidence to suggest that women with disabilities are at greater risk of postpartum depression.

Please speak with your doctor or another member of your health care team if you or a loved one is concerned.

Patients of the DAN Women & Babies Program may be connected to psychiatric assessment and support via Sunnybrook’s Women’s Mood and Anxiety Clinic: Reproductive Transitions.  To learn more about this clinic, speak to your care provider.

Physical changes in pregnancy

A women’s body undergoes many physical changes during her pregnancy. Normal pregnancy weight gain and increased physical strain to support a pregnancy can change your balance and other daily functions. Some women may need to make adjustments to their mobility aids or change to another mobility device during pregnancy and into the postpartum period.

Occupational therapy and physiotherapy

Should there be a change in your functional ability when you are admitted to the hospital to deliver your baby, hospital occupational therapy and physiotherapy can typically be accessed. Based on the findings of their assessment, additional resources such as in-home personal support or therapy may be required. This would involve a referral to your Local Health Integration Network (LHIN) Care Coordinators.

Physiotherapy and occupational therapy can be assessed by the Local Health Integration Network (LHIN) throughout your pregnancy, and in planning for transition to parenthood. Please speak to your care provider.

Assistive Technology Clinic

Patients of the Accessible Care Pregnancy Clinic can be referred to the Assistive Technology Clinic to assess their changing physical needs in pregnancy to ensure physical safety, and to prepare for parenthood. The Assistive Technology Clinic in the Sunnybrook Centre for Independent Living (SCIL) operates with unique and highly specialized inter-professional clinical teams who work collaboratively to improve the quality of lives for patients, and provides interventions in the areas of specialized medicine and rehabilitation, spasticity management, gait and balance, seating and mobility, augmentative and alternative communication, computer aids, wearable robotics, and environmental controls. To learn more about this clinic, speak to your care provider.

CRIB: Centre for Resources & Information: Birth, Babies & Beyond

The CRIB is a resource centre staffed by prenatal educators. The CRIB provides formal teaching sessions or individual learning opportunities tailored to your needs, to cover your pregnancy and preparation for the birth of your child and beyond. The centre is located on M5-102 at Sunnybrook’s Bayview Campus (around the corner from the main elevators in M-5). Drop-in visitors are welcome between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. from Monday to Friday.

Breastfeeding support at Sunnybrook

We provide support for breastfeeding, including counseling, education and care plans for women who deliver their babies at Sunnybrook. The Breastfeeding Clinic at Sunnybrook offers daily inpatient breastfeeding classes taught by the nurses and International Board Certified Lactation Consultants (IBCLCs), in addition to a 24 hour telephone helpline for women who have delivered at Sunnybrook, a seven-day-a-week schedule for appointments and a hospital grade breast pump rental service.

Our Lactation Consultants work individually with each family to develop a plan or care. Staff are happy to meet with you before your birth to support your feeding plan and following delivery of your baby.

Social work

Social work is available to all patients connected to obstetrical or neonatal care via the DAN Women & Babies Program, including patients of the Accessible Care Pregnancy Clinic. Please talk to your care provider about whether a referral to social work is right for you.

Resources outside Sunnybrook

Here are some resources that may be of assistance to you as you are planning for parenthood.

Please note the resources below are for information only and are not affiliated with or directly endorsed by Sunnybrook.

Direct funding and nurturing assistance

Direct Funding

The Direct Funding Program provides people living with a disability who qualify for the program with a monthly sum to support hiring and scheduling attendant services based on their individual needs. Attendant services can include assistance with tasks such as positioning and transfers, catheterization, bathing, eating, housekeeping, meal preparation, and more. As a “self-manager”, you control when, where, and how often service is provided. Direct Funding requires an individual to become an employer, register with Revenue Canada, and submit the required monthly and quarterly government submissions. There are eligibility criteria, a written application and a selection process. The Direct Funding Program is administered by the Centre for Independent Living in Toronto (CILT) which also has an Attendant Service Application Centre.

To learn more, visit the Direct Funding Program website and the Centre for Independent Living in Toronto's website.

Nurturing assistance

Nurturing assistants work under direction from and in the presence of parents living with a disability. They assist with parenting tasks such as bathing, diapering, meal preparation, cuddling, and play. Nurturing assistance is accessed via the Direct Funding Program; therefore the eligibility and application requirements are the same. 

» Get more information about this program

Please note: Current wait time for an interview to complete your Direct Funding application is 12-18 months. Due to this wait time, you are encouraged to apply as soon as possible. If you have already applied for Direct Funding and want to follow up on the status of your application, please call 416-599-2458 ext. 227.

Peer support resources

  1. Vibrant Healthcare Alliance – Offers peer support to people with disabilities. Individuals identify goals towards improving emotional health and reducing social isolation.  This peer support program is not specific to parents.
  2. Parenting with a Disability Network – This is a peer support and information sharing network for parents and prospective parents with a disability. This program is run out of the Centre for Independent Living in Toronto. They have family social nights, parenting workshops, and parenting peer support. For more information, please call 416-599-2458.

Equipment, Transportation and Occupational Therapy

  1. Tetra Society – Tetra helps design and build assistive devices that are custom-made including parenting specific devices. This may include a wheelchair infant seat or a roll under crib. For more information, please call 416-407-7009 or email MetroTorontoON@Tetrasociety.org.
  2. Travelling with dependants on Wheel-Trans – Your dependents may travel on Wheel-Trans with you. After 9 pm the day prior, or on the day of service, you can contact them to see if they have space for additional passengers. On weekends and holidays, you may bring as many dependents and support persons as they have space for at the time of booking. The following information was provided to us regarding infants and toddlers using Wheel-Trans: “Buses are not equipped with car seats, booster seats or tethers. Children should be removed from the stroller and secured in a single seating position. It is the responsibility of the customer to secure an infant seat in any of our vehicles. Wheel-Trans is a public service and our drivers are not trained to install car seats or booster seats.”

    For additional information, please contact Wheel-Trans Customer Service at 416 393-4111 or email wtcs@ttc.ca.

  3. March of Dimes DesignAbility – March of Dimes DesignAbility program offers custom-built modifications for day-to-day challenges that can be faced by people living with mobility issues. If you need a solution or product to increase independence that cannot be found on the market, the March of Dimes DesignAbility program can provide assistance. The only cost is for building materials. DesignAbility volunteers work with you to create solutions that help you overcome barriers to work, play, and other daily activities. There are DesignAbility chapters across Ontario. Please call 1-800-263-3463 ext. 7211 or email designability@marchofdimes.ca.

General new parent resources

  1. Public Health – Every region has a Public Health Unit and every Public Health Unit offers a free program which is often called Healthy Babies Healthy Children (HBHC). This is a home visiting program which involves a nurse coming to your home to offer information, support, and connection to community resources for new parents. For example, they can provide support, education and counseling regarding feeding, diapering, infant sleep, infant development, emotional health in the postpartum, as well as, free local programs for you and your baby. You can self-refer to this program at any time, or please speak with your care provider. Public Health also offers a free online prenatal class called Welcome to Parenting. Public Health offers several other programs aside from the ones mentioned above.

    Toronto’s Public Health Unit can be reached at: 416-338-7600.

    • If you live outside Toronto, find your local Public Health Unit here.
    • Register here for the online prenatal class.
  2. EarlyON Centres – EarlyON Child and Family Centres are across Ontario. They offer free programming for families. They allow you to connect with other families with young children in your neighbourhood s. They may run programs such as drop-in reading circles, story time, music classes, and gym time. The centres often have trained professionals on site in early childhood development that you can talk to, and may be able to provide information on other family services in your community. To find your local EarlyON Centre, visit the website and enter your postal code. Note: All centres should be accessible but please call your local centre to confirm.
  3. The New Mom Project – If you reside in the Greater Toronto Area and you are a low-income or marginalized family who needs gently-used baby supplies, The New Mom Project may be a valuable resource for you. If you would like to access the services of this agency, please ask your doctor to be referred.
  4. VHA Parent Relief – VHA Home Healthcare is a charitable organization that runs various community support programs. One of the programs that may be useful to parents of children aged 0-6 is the Parent Relief Program. They can offer in-home temporary relief from the demands of child care for those parents that meet their eligibility criteria.  

Location and contact

Accessible Care Pregnancy Clinic

Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre
2075 Bayview Avenue,
M-wing, 4th floor,
Toronto, ON M4N 3M5

Phone: 416-480-5367
Fax: 416-480-5616

Getting to Sunnybrook

» Transportation information

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