Category Archives: Reproductive Health

DOULAS IN DAKAR

“My sista, where are you from?”, Yaye asked me with her beautiful toothy grin as I perused fabric at her market shop. As a Black woman whenever I travel, especially to Africa, this tends to be a complicated question to answer. “I’m from America, and my family, we’re from Ayiti”, I say in broken English, French/Kreyol, and Wolof. “Oh Ayiti!”, she exclaims proudly, “Pale Francais?”. I giggle nervously and shake my head. See, I was able to get by in Senegal with 3 broken languages, rizz (charisma as the Gen Z-ers say it), a wish, and a prayer. I felt so affirmed in my interactions with the town locals, a voice whispering in my ear, “You are meant to be here” on loop. What I came away with was more grounding than I could have imagined, more questions than answers, but something to guide me into this new year.

Hey Fam,

Thanks for sticking with me through the hiatus of this newsletter. It’s taken me some time to put into words what I experienced and learned during my time in Senegal. As some of you have been following my journey on social media, I recently returned from my much anticipated Wombs of Wata (WoW) birthkeeper workshop in Senegal. An opportunity that so many of you gifted, donated, and contributed to. I am forever grateful.

HOW IT ALL STARTED

With the assistance of local community members and birth keepers, the Wombs of Wata workshop was developed and facilitated by head birthkeeper. Joyell Arvella. Let me explain my understanding of what a birthkeeper is. Birthkeepers choose a life where they support people during the full lifespan of the uterus. From prepubescence, menstruation, fertility, pregnancy, menopause, and through various uterine related illnesses. Pretty dope huh? This has also made me rethink how I define the work that I do, and what kind of work I could be expanding to. We also participated in some amazing introspective sessions facilitated by thee Shaconna Haley, MA, CHD. An integral part of being a birthkeeper is to know yourself. What moves you, what triggers you, stalls your movements, who are you?

MAMI WATA

To start, we stayed in the charming coastal town of Somone, in a beautiful pink villa, a 5 minute walk to the beach. Yall know that I was on that beach EVERYDAY. One way or another, I found myself at the water. We started each morning with a moving meditation, setting intentions for the day. On our first full day, we had a sacred water blessing ceremony at the ocean. Asking permission to be there, calling on Mami Wata to help us release things from our current lives and things that we might unintentionally be holding onto from generations past. Afterwards, we all gathered to discuss our birth stories and how that connected to the insights that were revealed to us at the water ceremony. An interesting point about sharing our birth stories is the realization that so many birthkeepers seem to have complex mother/daughter wounds. Hello therapy! Amiright?


BIRTHING PRACTICES IN SENEGAL

For our first workshop, we met with 7 month old Ndebele, her mother Awa, Ndebele’s maternal aunt and paternal aunt (badjenu). As the father’s sister, the Badjenu is almost like her brother’s representative/replacement in child care for the first few months of life. Because dad’s primary role is to financially support the family. But really the Badjenu plays this important role in their niblings’ lives for the rest of their lives. She is the second mother, confidant, mediator, etc. She also assists in any marital tension/issues that arises between her brother and sister in law. On this day, our Badjenu demonstrated a typical infant massage, which Ndebele delighted in. It consisted of movements that helped to strengthen the spine, enhance flexibility, tone muscles, and shape the body (hips, breasts, buttocks). We all had an interesting conversation about the need for breastfeeding support specialists in the US. The family was genuinely baffled that breastfeeding specialists are even a need in the United States. We tried our best to explain the factors that impact breastfeeding like time, access to resources, societal pressure, public judgement, work schedules, etc. But it was definitely an interesting cultural perspective that I didn’t think about until then.

Next we met with Fanm Saj (traditional midwife) Baty. She traveled 11 hours to be with us that day! Before she even proceeded with her presentation though, she made time to shower, change her clothes, offered her salat (prayers), and eat. In such a seemingly small way, this pause to handle her needs before presenting to us taught us the importance of taking care of ourselves even in the midst of servicing others. She taught us about the important herbs that are needed for postpartum healing and brought shea butter and massage oil to demonstrate postpartum massage. She used banana leaves soaked in a hot water tincture to begin her demonstration. A funny, and incredibly magical moment happened. Confused about having to demonstrate this massage on a large water bottle, she asked for a volunteer. One of our amazing participants agreed to be her subject. Little did we know that the volunteer would have to strip down completely naked, in front of a room full of 15 strangers. Charnise took it in stride and did what needed to be done. She laid on the table, awaiting instruction, and in the blink of an eye Baty jumped up on the table, straddled Charnise, and commenced to vigorously massaging her. It was almost like an instinctive dance between the two of them.

THE GODMOTHER OF BIRTH

We then met with Marie who has been supporting families for 40 years. She is called a Badjenu Gox. Remember that Badjenu is auntie. And Gox means neighborhood. So she’s known as the neighborhood auntie or godmother, so to speak. Her role expands way past birth and postpartum. She’s also responsible for mediating issues among members of her community, arranging visits to the hospital, and negotiating payment for medical services. Fees for services are a huge barrier to receiving perinatal care, contraceptive care, and routine medical care. She is the fixer, the handler, the Olivia Pope of her town.

The Badjenu Gox are chosen by the people in her neighborhood and supported by government funding. It is an honor and a privilege to serve as one. What was also interesting was learning about the ways that the Badjenu Gox and the Traditional Midwives do and don’t work together, and how colonization and subsequent policies have significantly impacted that. Check this article out for some interesting facts about the 2010 origin of the Badjenu Gox in Senegal. If you really wanna nerd out on health/birth stats in Senegal, check this one out. This experience with Badjenu Marie was of course an exchange of resources and information, and so we had the opportunity to share with her what we do as birthworkers in the US. She said several times throughout her few hours with us, how proud she was of us. It was so affirming to hear, and incredibly humbling how generous she was with sharing her knowledge.

CAKE FOR BREAKFAST?

In the midst of this absolutely transformative experience, I celebrated my birthday! I actually had the pleasure of sharing birthday festivities with three other women in my cohort who had birthdays the same week. There was a local patisserie that sold the most delicious croissants, baguettes, and sugary confections. So a lil birthday cake for breakfast was only fitting. At the encouragement of one of my cohort buddies, we treated ourselves to a photoshoot with Mamy Photography and a spa day by the ocean. Best decision ever.

MARKETPLACE MEAL PREP

Towards the end of our time together, learning, reflecting, shedding ego and expectations, we engaged in a really fun activity. The plan was to explore the produce market in Somone, practice our language skills at the market by purchasing ingredients from the vendors, and develop a collective postpartum meal based on what was in season. With the help of our market Yaye (term of endearment and respect for an older woman) and Joyell, we decided to make couscous, stewed veggies, fried plantain, garden salad with homemade honey mustard dressing, and a tropical fruit salad featuring one of my favorite postpartum fruits, the Papaya. Just know that this meal was absolutely scrumptious!

DOULAS IN DAKAR

On our second to last day, we traveled to Dakar for the day, spent some time on Goree Island, and visited a few other sites in Dakar. What I learned and felt on Goree island was both heavy and empowering. I’m still processing what we learned about the brutal history of the slave trade, seeing and feeling things when entering the slave dungeons, juxtaposed to the stunning coastal view of the ocean. The same ocean where old, weak, and rebellious enslaved people were carelessly tossed to die because they were deemed useless. We also had the opportunity to visit the local clinic on the island. We took a tour of the midwife’s office and the birthing room next door. Because of funding resources there were some deficits in the resources and equipment available to birthing people. So they refer many people, especially complex cases to birth at the hospital in Dakar, which is a 30 minute ferry ride away.

 

MOVING FORWARD

What I learned during Wombs of Wata has shaped me not only professionally but also personally. I learned the importance of introspection, deep diving into my sense of purpose, and engaging in routine self evaluation. I learned to surrender, listen to receive and not to react, and to call in patience. My journey to and time in Senegal reminded me of how unfair this world can be to the underprivileged, but also how much beauty, grace, and love exists to combat the dark. I’m always in awe of Black women/femmes and how brilliant and resourceful we are. I am reminded of how our softness is our strength. I am so honored to continue to do this work and to inspire and teach newer birthworkers. Thank you for taking the time to read my reflections. Feel free to reach out if you have questions/comments.

With much Love & Gratitude,

Doula Jo

Special recognition and thanks to the following:

Joyell Arvella

Shaconna Haley

Our incredible Wombs of Wata Cohort 2023

Interpreter: Kanur Raïssa Minkilane

Photographer and videographer: Mamy Hawa

Awa and baby Ndebele

Traditional Midwife: Baty Gueye

Badjenu Gox: Marie Thiane

Choosing a Midwife for your Prenatal Care

Hey fam!

For folks who are in the process of choosing a midwife for their prenatal care, I’ve compiled a list of questions to consider during your interview. These questions were inspired by a list created by doula and birth photographer Paulina Splechta  I edited and organized them based on my years of professional experience in this field. I hope you find this as helpful as my families have over the years.

Prenatal/Postpartum Care:

  1. *What is the cost of care and what is included? How does it work with my insurance covering your midwifery services and how often are clients reimbursed the full fee by their insurance? Do you offer payment plans or discounts for early payment in full? What “extra” or surprise costs might we encounter while in your care? What is your refund policy if we decide to switch care providers?
  2. What is your preferred method of communication (phone, email, text)?
  3. *What are your prenatal visits like? How long are they? Where do they take place? How often are they scheduled?
  4. Do you offer or suggest taking childbirth preparation (CBE) courses?
  5. My partner has concerns about home birth. How have you dealt with this in the past?
  6. *When do you consider yourself “on-call” for me? When can I expect you to join me in labor? What do you do if two families are in labor at the same time? Will you ever leave a labor?
  7. *How do you proceed in the event of pre-term labor or a medically necessary induction?
  8. *What are your policies or recommendations regarding urine dips, basic blood tests and labs, genetic testing, routine ultrasounds and growth scans, gestational diabetes testing, group beta strep (GBS) testing, iron levels testing? Are there any you don’t recommend declining? Can you draw blood or will we need to use an outside lab?
  9. *Do you continue to see clients with Gestational Diabetes, or do you refer them to an obstetrics practice?
  10. *What is your philosophy on weight gain, nutrition, prenatal supplements, and exercise? We will receive counseling or education on those topics?
  11. Do you facilitate water birth? Does a tub rental come as part of my package? Do you have a recommendation for where to rent or buy your favorite pool? Are you comfortable delivering in my bathtub?
  12. *How long will you and/or your support team stay with couple and baby after the birth? What kind of postpartum care do you offer? Do you work with postpartum doulas? How many postpartum visits are offered under your care and on what days do these visits occur? What changes if I transfer and deliver in a hospital? Does your visit include care for the baby? Will you be available for well-woman visits?
  13. *What are the pros and cons of vitamin K shot and eye ointment for the baby? Can you administer Vitamin K and Erythromycin if we want? Can you administer the PKU test or will we need to see our pediatrician? Will you administer Rhogam if needed? Can you provide us with a hearing screening, and if not, where do you recommend clients go?
  14. Is breastfeeding support offered? Do you have local IBCLCs that you recommend?

Birth Experience:

  1. *How long have you been practicing midwifery? How many births have you attended? Why did you become a midwife? What is your training/education/certification?
  2. *Do you have experience working with clients like me?
  3. Do you have references that would be willing to discuss their experiences with your work and care?
  4. *Are there any induction methods that you are comfortable using (stretch and sweep, foley bulb, castor oil, black and blue cohosh, breaking waters) and when might you suggest them?
  5. What is your experience with herbs, homeopathy, and alternative medicine as pregnancy and labor support?
  6. *Can you resuscitate an infant?  Are you NRP certified? 
  7. *Which hospital(s) are you approved for working in case of an emergency?
  8. *Do you have experience with postpartum hemorrhage, shoulder dystocia, breech baby or cord prolapse?
  9. *Do you deliver breech? Do you deliver all kinds of breech? Do you have training and experience in this kind of delivery? If not, do you have a midwife you would refer me to if the baby had not turned?  Do you have experience with turning babies?
  10. *What do you do in the case of a nuchal cord? Or if the baby changes into a breech position during labor and it is too late to be transferred to the hospital?

Birth Team:

  1. *Who comes with you to the birth?  If that person is another midwife, how does their experience compare to yours?  If that person is NOT another midwife, what qualifies them as a birth attendant?
  2. When can I meet your back up midwife and back up OBGYN? 
  3. *Are you and your team neonatal resuscitation (NRP) certified? Have you ever had to resuscitate a baby? Are you and your team CPR certified? Have you ever had to resuscitate a birthing person? How recently have you recertified?

Birth Procedures:

  1. How many vaginal checks do you do, during pregnancy, during labor; should I get them, how necessary are they, what are the benefits/downsides and when do I need to have them done? 
  2. *What equipment do you bring with you to a birth? What kinds of medications (Pitocin Cytotec, Methergine) or tools (birth stool, Rebozo) do you have access to in case of an emergency? Are you legally allowed to carry Pitocin (for rare post-birth hemorrhaging)? Do you?
  3. What methods of pain management do you recommend?
  4. *At what point during my labor will you come to my home? When should I call you?
  5. *How does it work if I am GBS positive – how often do you administer antibiotics during labor and do you do specific procedures with the baby after birth?
  6. Under what circumstances, if any, do you perform episiotomies?
  7. How long do you usually leave the cord intact? How long are you comfortable waiting for a placenta?

Hospital Transfers:

  1. What kind of medical situations during pregnancy would require me to be transferred into the care of an OBGYN?
  2. To what gestation are you comfortable waiting? What is your standard protocol for clients going over 40 weeks before you transfer my care to an OBGYN? How many minimum weeks pregnant must I be to be able to have a home birth (36 weeks? 37 weeks? 38 weeks?)
  3. If my water breaks before labor (contractions) even begins, how long can I labor at home for before you are required to transfer me to the hospital?
  4. What is your protocol for non-emergency transfers to the hospital? For emergency transfers? (Once this is answered, look to the following questions for things that were not covered in the Midwife’s answer that you may want clarification)
  5. Under what circumstances would you transfer to the hospital? In the event of a transfer, (whether or not you have any privileges at the medical facility or know the doctor who I was transferred to) will you stay with me and support me through my entire birth and for the first couple of hours once the baby is born?
  6. What constitutes a non-emergent transfer vs. emergent transfer? Where do I go in the event of a non-emergent transfer vs. emergent transfer?
  7. What things would make me “high risk” and necessitate transfer of care either during pregnancy or labor?
  8. What is your hospital transfer rate?
  9. If I change my mind about home birth during labor and ASK to be taken to the hospital, how will you respond? 
  10. How bad would a perineum tear need to be for you to feel it required a hospital transfer? 
  11. What would it look like to transfer a baby to the hospital if needed after birth? What would it look like to transfer a birthing person to the hospital after birth?

Self Reflection:

  1. How did you feel as the midwife spoke?
  2. How did the things they said make you feel? 
  3. Did they let you feel heard and not rushed?
  4. Did their personality help you to feel connected and instantly safe and supported?
  5. Take note of what feelings may rise from your instincts.

What we should know about Endometriosis

Hey fam!

March is Endometriosis Awareness Month. Endo is a condition that, in the United States, affects 11% of people born with a uterus. That’s 6.5 million people nationwide! According to the World Health Organization, the stats are comparable globally, affecting about 10% of people born with a uterus.

First let’s start with, what the heck is endometriosis? The uterus is lined with something called endometrial tissue.  Each menstrual period, this tissue swells with blood and it eventually sheds. The body grows a new lining of endometrium with each menstrual cycle. Endometriosis is a disease where endometrial tissue grows outside of the uterus and on other areas of the body where it doesn’t belong. Endometriosis growths may swell and bleed in the same way the lining of the uterus does every month — during one’s menstrual period. Ouch! This can cause inflammation and incredible pain because the overgrown tissue actually swells and bleeds in an area of the body where there’s little to no room for it to grow and where the blood cannot shed out of the body. Imagine a swollen bloody growth on your stomach, liver, intestines, or ligaments.

In addition to debilitating pain and bleeding during and in between menstrual cycles, endometriosis can also cause pain during intercourse, GI issues, and most commonly infertility. How? Well, patches of endometriosis block off or actually change the shape of the pelvis and reproductive organs. This can make it harder for the sperm to find the egg. Endo also impacts the body’s immune response. Once fertilization occurs, the immune system, which normally helps defend the body against disease, may attack the embryo as a foreign entity.

Because Endo causes vague symptoms that present as other conditions, endometriosis is often misdiagnosed for YEARS. According to the organization Endo Black, “on average, it may take 6 to 10 years to be diagnosed. As for African American women and women of color, it may take 11 to 15 years for a diagnosis.”  It occurs in folks ages 15-40, whose menstrual cycle lasts longer than 7 days, and there is evidence that there is a genetic component. There are some non-surgical forms of treatment for Endometriosis like hormone based therapies, as well as surgical treatments such as laparoscopic excisions (removal) and ablations (heat blasted destruction, pyew pyew!).

Why is it important for you to know all of this? If you know and love someone who presents with some of these symptoms and/or whom has a family history of Endo, share this information with them. A confirmed diagnosis could be the key to resolving years/decades of life altering symptoms. I also want to call in more empathy for menstruating folks who have such painful and long lasting cycles, that their life literally stops for weeks at a time. 

This month we bring awareness to this debilitating disease, affecting millions of people worldwide, in the hopes that with more research we can find a definitive cause and cure for Endometriosis.  

 

In Gratitude and Solidarity,

Doula Jo

For more information visit the following sites for more education on Endometriosis.

Doula Support Through Pregnancy Termination

Hey fam,

We’re talking about some heavy stuff today, but I hope you can dip your toe in these waters and wade in the deep for a little bit. Being a full spectrum doula is very important to the quality and diversity of services that I provide, now more than ever. I support the full range of family planning experiences and that includes abortion. Rare is the sensationalized image of abortion as a seedy procedure being done in a dark alley. Abortion is a lifesaving, medical procedure both physically and mentally. A lot of the public conversations hypothesize the right to abortion in cases of fetal viability, maternal mortality, or sexual assault. Abortion isn’t only justified in the most heinous of situations. It is a valid choice solely because someone wishes to no longer carry a pregnancy. Terminating a pregnancy should not carry shame.

So what role do I, your badass neighborhood doula, play in supporting someone through a procedure to terminate a pregnancy? I provide non-judgmental support at any point throughout the termination journey. As a licensed clinical social worker, one of my strongest skill sets is resource coordination. So as a doula, I tap into those skills and connect folks with a list of caring, attentive, and inclusive abortion providers and, if desired, a list of mental health providers in their area. I work hard to ensure that folks feel empowered, educated about their choices in termination methods, risks, benefits, side effects, and recovery expectations. I’m mindful about practicing within my scope, so together we create a plan for safety and support. I am also a traveling doula and offer virtual support. My presence at the institution during the procedure depends on the person’s support network, the institution’s policy, and the chosen method of termination. Sometimes folks work with me just for the planning process, others only want me to be present at the clinic, and some just want the aftercare support. Support at home includes (but is not limited to) physical and emotional support, light tidying up, meal prep, monitoring for changes in symptoms, continued education, and help with advocacy. My supportive services vary depending on their unique needs.

Folks who make the decision to move forward with abortion are deserving of empathy, guidance, care, and unwavering support. My sincerest hope after reading this is that whether or not you support someone’s choice to terminate a pregnancy, you know a caring professional who is trained and committed to making them feel safe, not judged, and cared for in their recovery.

With Gratitude, 

LunaDoula Jo

Advocate for an empowering C-section

Hey Fam! 

April is Cesarean Awareness Month. Seriously, there’s a nationally recognized holiday for every week and every month of the year. I thought it was a great opportunity to share some ways that you can prepare for and feel empowered when it comes to conversations and decisions regarding c-sections. Firstly, c-sections deserve awareness as a life saving birthing method/intervention that don’t necessarily have to be seen as an unfortunate end to a birthing experience. For some folks and for various medical/personal reasons, they have pre-scheduled c-sections. For others, yes, perhaps c-sections were not their preferred choice but due to circumstances during labor, beyond the parents’ control, baby was born via c-section. I also want to acknowledge the ways in which those in the birth community are working to change the language and stigmatization of the term c-sections. We’ve got Belly Birth, Surgical Birth, Abdominal Delivery, etc.

As a doula, I’m especially attuned to the ways in which I support parents through the possibility of a cesarean and how I support them afterwards. Most of my families know that we talk about all possible what-if scenarios and include preferences on the birth plan that detail ways to make a c-section inclusive, empowering, gentle, and just as sacred as any other method of birthing. And yes, doulas support folks who have pre-scheduled cesareans! The term “gentle c-section” is sort of a buzz phrase in the 

birth community nowadays and I even had a provider once tell my client and me point blank that they don’t do gentle c-sections. What?! Some cesarean prep points for your prenatal period would be to ask your provider about what their procedure is for c-sections and how they make the determination to move forward with a surgical birth. For the actual procedure, it’s important to think about establishing the right energy in the room so that you feel centered and connected to the process and to your baby’s birth. Do you prefer a certain type of music played in the OR, do you want your surgeon to narrate a play-by-play of what’s happening, how involved do you want your support person to be, would the medical team allow baby to birth through the incision on its own or do they pull baby out, and do you have certain cultural birthing traditions that are sacred to you?

I also recommend asking your provider questions about c-section postpartum healing and support. Some questions include, what is the recommended level of activity during the first few weeks, how to regain sensation at the incision site, recommendations for pelvic floor therapists, challenges with breastfeeding and bonding after a c-section, etc. The takeaway to all of this is to know that you have choices and rights for your birthing procedure AND you should absolutely be receiving guidance and support for postpartum recovery. Sending love to all Cesarean parents out there. I see you and I honor your experience. I welcome you to reach out to learn more about my customized birth and postpartum support for cesarean births and cesarean postpartum recovery.

With Gratitude, 

LunaDoula Jo

Endometriosis

Hey fam!

First let’s start with, what the heck is endometriosis. Endometriosis happens when tissue similar to the lining of the uterus grows outside of the uterus and on other areas in the body where it doesn’t belong.

Endometriosis growths may swell and bleed in the same way the lining inside of the uterus does every month — during one’s menstrual period. Ouch. This can cause swelling and incredible pain because the tissue grows 

and bleeds in an area where it cannot easily get out of your body. In addition to debilitating pain and bleeding in between menstrual cycles, endometriosis can also cause pain during intercourse, GI issues, and most commonly infertility. How? Well, patches of endometriosis block off or actually change the shape of the pelvis and reproductive organs. This can make it harder for the sperm to find the egg. Once fertilization occurs, the immune system, which normally helps defend the body against disease, attacks the embryo.

Because these are vague symptoms that present as other conditions, endometriosis is often misdiagnosed for many uterine carrying bodies. It occurs most often in folks ages 30-40 (but can definitely present earlier), whose menstrual cycle lasts longer than 7 days, and there is evidence that there is a genetic component.

Why is it important for you to know this? If you know and love someone who presents with some of these symptoms and/or who has a family history of Endo, share this information with them. A confirmed diagnosis could be the key to resolving years/decades of life altering symptoms. I also want to call in more empathy for menstruating folks who have such painful and long lasting cycles, that their life literally stops for weeks at a time. Hopefully with more research we can find a definitive cause and cure for Endometriosis.

With Gratitude, 

Doula Jo

Preeclampsia

Hey Fam!

Let’s chat about Preeclampsia, what it is, who’s at risk, treatment options, and how your doula can help support you after a diagnosis. Preeclampsia is a syndrome that is characterized by an increase in a pregnant person’s blood pressure and increased proteins in the urine. It can affect their brain, kidney, and liver functioning, and experts believe that complications with the placenta is one of the factors that causes preeclampsia. Problems with how well blood circulates in the placenta may lead to the irregular regulation of blood pressure in the pregnant person.

Studies show that Black and Indigenous women are more likely to develop preeclampsia during and after pregnancy. It’s also often under diagnosed and less monitored in Black and Indigenous people which can lead to serious birth complications. Some researchers claim obesity as a risk factor, and with how fatphobic our health care system is, I’m giving that a big ol’ side eye. Folks are always quick to put fat people in this unhealthy box and as we know, there are many healthy fat people. *Sashays off soapbox*. Other risk factors include:

  • Type 1 or type 2 diabetes before pregnancy
  • Gestational Diabetes
  • Kidney disease
  • Autoimmune disorders
  • Use of IVF
  • Pregnant with multiple babies (such as twins or triplets).

Depending on the severity of preeclampsia, some providers may recommend bed rest, BP meds, administering steroids to the fetus to speed up lung growth, and induction/c-section. Delivering the baby can help resolve preeclampsia but symptoms can continue even after birth, and some of them can be serious. What is often not discussed is the onset of Postpartum Preeclampsia which can affect birthing people immediately after birth or even days after baby is born. Some signs to look out for include severe headaches, blurry/distorted vision, edema/swelling in the extremities, and shortness of breath.

After a preeclampsia diagnosis, I typically check in with my clients on a more frequent basis. I recommend using a reliable blood pressure machine at home to monitor BP, and get a few pairs of compression socks to help with feet/leg swelling. At any sign of increased symptoms, I ask that clients reach out to their provider immediately and keep me posted. Because some of the recommended birth interventions can be invasive, we talk about advocacy, risks, and benefits. We have extensive conversations about birthing preferences and plan out what various emergency scenarios would look like for them. Even with a preeclampsia diagnosis, you can stay informed, have a say in your birthing experience, and be empowered in monitoring your prenatal and postpartum health.

 

With Gratitude,

Luna Doula Jo 

For more information and research about preeclampsia, please see the following sources.
https://www.nichd.nih.gov/newsroom/resources/spotlight/101812-preeclampsia
https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/preeclampsia/symptoms-causes/syc-20355745
https://www.cdc.gov/bloodpressure/pregnancy.htm