It’s important for everyone to take care of their health, but staying on top of health-care needs can be a challenge for many women and those who identify as women. Sometimes it’s because life is so busy with work and family responsibilities, other times it’s a challenge to find the right care provider in the right place at the right time.
Whatever the issue, we’re here to help. Here’s a roundup of women’s health resources in Nova Scotia.
Well Woman Clinics
Nova Scotia Health offers Well Woman Clinics across the province. These clinics give women and people with uteruses who are without a primary health care provider the opportunity to have health-related services and health education delivered by female physicians or nurses; services may include Pap tests, birth control counselling and prescriptions, and information about mammograms and breast cancer. The services and days and hours of operation vary by clinic.
Nova Scotia Breast Screening Program
With statistics showing that one in eight Nova Scotian women will develop breast cancer in their lifetime, early and ongoing screening is important. The Nova Scotia Breast Screening Program offers mammograms and other diagnostic processes for women aged 40 and over (and others, if they meet the criteria). With 11 locations around the province and a mobile screening van, mammograms are widely available. Learn how to make an appointment.
Nova Scotia has a number of organizations working to support members of the trans community. prideHealth “works to improve access to health services which are safe, coordinated, comprehensive, and culturally appropriate for people who are Two-Spirited, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, queer, and questioning (members of the LGBTIQ+ community).” This includes information and referrals to gender-affirming care providers. The Halifax Sexual Health Centre is another resource for care, as is this guide to trans health provided by the IWK Health Centre.
Sexual Health Nova Scotia is a network of community-based sexual health centres across the province. The centres offer a range of services, including support and guidance, free or lower cost safer sex supplies, referrals and, in Halifax, medical services such as STI testing, birth control prescriptions and Pap tests.
Abortion is health care and should be accessible to all. Unfortunately, while drug-induced abortion (Mifegymiso) may be prescribed by family physicians and nurse practitioners anywhere, lack of access to surgical abortions is a problem for many women in Nova Scotia. One option available to women in the Halifax Regional Municipality is Nova Scotia Health’s Women’s Choice Clinic; women outside HRM should call the provincial self-referral line (1-833-352-0719) for information about accessing abortion care closer to their own community.
A variety of supports exist for women who are struggling with their mental health, whether those concerns are related to anxiety, depression, challenging living situations, reproductive mental health or pre- or post-partum anxiety or depression. Call 211 to access the Women’s Helpline or other mental health services, visit the province’s Mental Health and Addictions Program webpage, or contact your local Canadian Mental Health Association branch for help.