• What Is a Postpartum Plan and Do I Really Need One?

    A postpartum plan is your vision, values and goals for postpartum and new parent hood, mapped out on paper. It also includes conversations you have with your partner, your family and the people you invite into your postpartum circle of support. Similar to a birth plan in that it outlines your must haves, your preferences and you wishes. It is the how when you think of your birth vision. When it comes to birth there can be a lot of uncontrollables. You want to have a vaginal birth but thats not 100% guaranteed. With postpartum there are so many opportunities to stay in control. And a postpartum plan is key

    Manage your expectations

    We all have our own expectations about what life with a new baby will be like. The expectations are influenced by our current lifestyle and values, our lived experiences and the experience of those closest to us. They are also influenced by media, advertisements, movies, celebrity experiences and our deepest fears.

    When it comes to postpartum, your expectations and how you respond when they don’t necessarily meet up to actual reality places a huge role in how you develop and progress as a new parent. These could be expectations around anything involved in your postpartum transformation: your pregnancy or birth, your newborn or your physical recovery.

    Start early in your pregnancy to manage your expectations and make sure that they are healthy and realistic through education and experiences. You can create realistic expectations around your breastfeeding goals by taking a lactation class for expectant parents. You can manage the expectations you have of your partner and visa versa by seeing a therapist that specializes in perinatal therapy. You can have a realistic idea of postpartum recovery and how to prepare by taking a class like What to Expect After Birth.

    Giving yourself the right knowledge and experiences will help you to shape your postpartum vision and plan with clarity.

    Reduce your risks

    During pregnancy and into postpartum you are at an increased risk for many things. Alot of awareness is being brought to high maternal mortality and morbidity rates for all birth people but particularly Black birth people. After birth you are still at a risk for blood pressure and cardiovascular issues and it’s important to not only know the warning signs but also who to call without having to search too much. And then when you factor in the normal issues that arise from poor physical recovery, the postpartum period just gets more and more uninviting by many standards.

    Having a plan not only helps you recognize your risks, the areas that could use some extra support, and take the steps ahead of time to reduce them which allows you to thrive postpartum, not just survive postpartum.

    Your tools in place

    Are you someone that keeps a screwdriver in the kitchen junk drawer or someone who has a designated space for all of their home improvement related tools? 

    I’ll be honest, I’m a little bit of both. I have a designated spot and box for tools but I also keep a smaller Phillips head screwdriver in the kitchen junk drawer for those times when I have to change a toy’s batteries or unscrew something in a pinch. I have all of my tools and know exactly where they are so when I’m working on a project, I don’t have to go searching all over or running to the store for the basics.It’s a system that works for me and my household.

    But, just imagine it’s the middle of the night and the night light needs new batteries. I go to the junk drawer to quickly solve the problem and restore peace, but much to my displeasure the phillips head is not right within reach. And it still does not appear after I do the magical rustle and shuffle. Now, I have to go to the mudroom and pull out the toolbox which is probably not as organized as it should be but I eventually find the tool I need. Which takes a little more time, but gets the job done.

    Your postpartum plan is your toolkit for the first year (or more!) of  parenthood. A toolkit that helps to ease the transition period. A toolkit that helps you to transform into the new version of yourself. And it’s a tool kit that is best assembled as soon as possible so that you can cover all areas of your postpartum.

    I promise that you don’t want to try to start figuring a plan out when you are exhausted + sleep deprived plus all of the things that come with postpartum and parenting a newborn.

    Connected to your support circle and community of resources

    Creating your postpartum plan helps you to see who you want to invite into your circle of support, what role they will serve and gets them active in your recovery whether they can be there in person or support from afar.

    Planning out your postpartum vision also allows you to identify the professional and community resources that are going to be integral to your healing and adjustment. Whether it’s practical support around the house or more holistic support focused on the birthing person specifically, you get to hand select your care team to meet your unique needs and lifestyle.

    Your support circle and the greater community serve as your lifeboat or life jacket so that when you need a little (or a lot!) extra you can lean on them knowing they will support you.

    Taking the time to create your postpartum vision while you are pregnant gives you control over postpartum and sets you up to thrive. You deserve it! And I am here to help if you have questions. Hit Get Started at the top of the page and let’s chat!

  • 12 Signs of a healthy postpartum

    When it comes to postpartum, there is a certain unspoken heaviness that comes with the topic. Many new mothers approach postpartum, hoping to just survive. To make it through without harming your baby, without getting postpartum depression, without losing yourself completely. So we spend a great deal of time talking about these things and how to prevent them. We share statistics and facts about pregnancy and postpartum that do more to raise our anxiety, than anything else. We teach moms what not to do so that they can avoid the negatives that come with postpartum.

    However, we don’t spend a lot of time talking about thriving postpartum and what a healthy postpartum can and should look like. Let’s look at the postpartum through a new lense. Rather than avoiding negative experiences and surviving, let’s seek out positive experiences, grow and thrive.

    Here are some signs of a healthy postpartum plus how you can start setting up for success during your pregnancy.

    1. Giving yourself time to heal.
    2. Learning early on what to expect when it comes postpartum, recovery and newborns
    3. Putting your physical recovery first.
    4. Meeting your basic needs for sleeping, eating and hygiene daily and early on.
    5. Making time for regular self care, time to decompress or time work on a hobby.
    6. Knowing that it will take for you to fully feel like a parent.
    7. Taking time to process your birth and leave feedback for your care providers.
    8. Embracing the new sense of self you feel.
    9. Involving and leaning on your circle of support. 
    10. Strong sense of self confidence or belief in yourself that you can become a good parent.
    11. You focus on responding to stress and challenges positively.
    12. Connected to your community of social and professional resources. You have a postpartum care team. 
    13. You work to replenish your nutrients and eat well for optimal physical recovery.

    A healthy postpartum has 3 main focuses: physical recovery, meeting basic needs and maternal development. If you want to have a healthy postpartum, prioritize the birthing parents’ needs in the postpartum and give them time and space to heal and fully develop into a new parent. Whether it’s your first or fifth you deserve this time after each birth.

  • What to do when a pandemic wasn’t in your birth plan

    I bet you would never have guessed in a million years that you would be preparing to give birth during a global health pandemic. 

    Despite the number that COVID-19 has done on our communities one fundamental truth remains…Your birth and baby will not wait for this to pass. There is no postponing your baby’s birth. You can’t pivot and birth virtually. And you definitely can’t social distance when it comes to your baby. So how do you adjust when it comes to being pregnant and postpartum during a pandemic?

    Preparing for a new baby probably seems extremely overwhelming right now. I get it. Your original plans for family and friends to help out maybe look less and less likely. The resources in your community may look different now and may be much harder to find and access. Your plans for maternity leave seem hopeless now that you can work from home. Suddenly, what seemed like a simple postpartum plan, now seems damn near impossible. How will you survive with just yourself and your partner and no help from family?

    First let’s take a moment to breathe and center. As a professional postpartum doula, I am here to help you thrive! 

    Postpartum support looks way different now and I have adjusted my services to reflect the changes you are experiencing. I am now providing one on one and group support virtually. This means you can have access to the knowledge and wisdom of a postpartum doula whenever works best for you from the comfort of your own home.

    Here is a quick overview of what virtual postpartum support looks like with The Prima Doula:

    1. Postpartum Prep- postpartum education tailored to your needs. 2 hours of online education focusing on what to expect after birth plus the issues that are most important to you. 
    1. Postpartum Planning – 1 hour of one on one postpartum planning where we will create a plan together that prioritizes your goals, needs and lifestyle as a new parent. The plan will also include action steps that you can start taking right away to get your mind, body and home ready for new parenthood.
    1. One on One Video Calls- Once your baby is born, we chat once a week or once a day whichever feels right for you. Show up as you are, where you are and get answers to all of your questions. Or just vent.
  • How to thrive through the holidays as a pregnant and or new parent

    As we gear up for the 2019 holiday season, I know a lot of you are wondering how to survive the holidays as a pregnant person or someone who just had a baby.

    You may be wondering if you can do it all. If you WANT to do it all this year. Or if its fair that you want to just stay home and cuddle up with your partner and new baby and enjoy a peacefully, sweet holiday.

    Here’s how to having a rocking holiday when your rocking a bump or a new baby

    Be realistic

    Take stock about what you can and really want to do. listen to your body and if you feel like you need to rest do so. if you feel like large family gatherings might be overwhelming that’s ok. if you feel like you need to attend large family gatherings for your first holiday season as an expectant parent or your baby’s first holiday season, that’s ok too. Deciding what activities or traditions are must dos and which can be put on the maybe list is totally up to you

    Set boundaries

    Be clear with your families and friends about your plans. Especially if they have expectations or hopes about how you will spend time together for the holidays. While you definitely want to commemorate this time and season of the year and your life, you also want to make sure that you are not overwhelming yourself.

    It’s fine to say you want to spend your first christmas morning as a new family at home. Maybe you visit extended family later on in the day or week.

    Whatever you decide, it’s so important that you and your partner are on the same page. That way there are no arguments or hurt feelings when its time to visit family etc.


    Keeping it simple can save your santity during the holidays. You can chose to go as big or as small as you’d like. And that goes for every aspect of the holidays. Gift shopping and giving, cooking and baking, home decor, activities and traditions. You don’t have to do ALL of the things, and buy gifts for EVERY single person you know or bake each and every recipe passed down from your grandmother this year.

    Simplify you holiday and simplify your life. Decide what 2 or 3 things are most important to you this holiday and let them be your guide. For example you might say, celebrating our first holiday as a new family and spending time with extended family. With those two themes you can prioritize your time and budget and do the things that really matter to you. So you might prioritize taking a holiday family portrait and scheduling a brunch or dinner outing with family.

    Plan it out

    Write out what your ideal holiday season looks like for you this year and as a new family. This is a great time to start setting some new traditions or to reinforce family traditions that are important to you.

    Think about 2-4 traditions or activities that are important to you and let that guide you holiday plans. For example, decorating for the holidays, baking family recipes, taking holiday portraits and brunch with Santa are all great traditions to establish for your new family. Then for each tradition, write down the key elements and what tools you need to make it happen.

    Schedule out each activity or tradition in a way that works for your schedule and so that you can gather any necessary decorations, ingredients, tools etc. well ahead of time.

    Keep track of gifts, budgets, menus, and important details in one place, like a binder or dedicated pinterest board.

    Self-care. self-care. self-care.

    The holidays are all about giving, that’s one thing that is clear. However you must first give yourself love, grace and gratitude before you are able to spread it to the most important people in your life. Be sure to give yourself time and space this holiday season to show and feel gratitude. to relish in simply “be” ing with family and friends. and in the sweet experience that is life.

    And after all of the rushing around make sure to put your feet up at the end of the day with a nice mug of warmed cider and a cinnamon stick stirrer. The holidays are a whirlwind but that doesn’t mean you can’t find peace and joy.

  • 2019 Holiday Gift Guide: For The New Parent Who Just Gave Birth or Will Give Birth Soon

    If you are wondering what kind things to put on your holiday wishlist this year you are in the right place!

    I’ve curated this 2019 Holiday Gift Guide specifically for the pregnant or new parent. This gift guide is for the mom-to-be who loves self-care, who loves unique but intentional gifts and who wants to truly prepare their mind and body for #momlife.

    As always, I recommend you:




    Why does buying locally or shopping with small business matter? When you shop with small business you are supporting actual individuals, parents and families that make up your community. You help to stimulate the growth of local and small business. And you also get even more connected with your local community aka your circle of support.


    Here are some of my favorite creators, shops and small business for holiday gifts this year. All of these business are small business run by people just like you and me. Many are local to the Maryland/ DC metro area and many are black owned business.

    One thing I know for sure is that these businesses and their owners are passionate about what they do and you can give the joy of that passion to all of the new parents you know this holiday season.


    Lauren Turner aka Ren The Doula is Baltimore’s birth artist and when I say her work is gorgeous. Her work is gorgeous. She creates beautiful art with black birth, mothers and babies as the focus. You can buy her original canvases, prints, cards, stickers and more in her shop here.


    Another Maryland based creative. @TheDudeMom has written her first book for new moms. She’s put together a list of must-dos for new parents.

    “It’s a great book for expecting and new moms that goes beyond the basic baby book filled with tips for how to change a diaper and deal with colic. Sure, it has all that stuff too, but it’s kicked up a notch to include things you maybe don’t even know you need to know—like how to change a diaper while also eating a taco and dealing with colic without turning to booze.”

    If this sounds like your cup of tea you can pre-order your copy here.


    “Dwell Tea Co. is a modern, eco-friendly tea and lifestyle brand based in the Washington, DC area, created to merge our passions for tea, community, and holistic living.” If you are a tea lover like me this will be a great addition to your wishlist With flavors like Pretty Young Thing, Sweater Weather and Me Time you are sure to find a blend that warms you. They have some really lovely holiday gift sets as well. Check out what Dwell Tea Co. has to offer here.


    If you are into tattoos and body art, be sure to add Pretty In Ink to your list of favorite shops. With a feminine flair, Pretty In Ink Tattoos, is the DC areas premier tattoo boutique. While a tattoo may have to wait until after you give birth and/ or wean, you can take advantage of some of the other services and products offered like henna art, handmade candles and sage bundles. Check out Pretty In Ink here.


    I absolutely love affirmation cards and motivational decks. You may or may not be quite so woo-woo but affirmation cards and decks can really help you find guidance and focus on your journey through pregnancy and parenting. They can serve as a reminder to yourself to have grace and help you work through challenges. Some of my favorite decks are Renegade Mama’s Postpartum Affirmation Deck, Pregnancy Affirmation Deck and The Fourth Trimester Cards by Kimberly Ann Johnson.


    Want to put the BEST. GIFT. EVER. on your wishlist? think about adding a session of postpartum doula care, a postnatal massage, or a postpartum glow session to your holiday wishlist. This is a great way for family and friends to help you try out doula services or get some much needed self care time after giving birth.

    Now that you’ve got your wishlist down you can focus on the best part of the holidays. Giving and spending time with family.

    If you like this Gift Guide For New Parents, stay tuned. Next time, I’ll be talking about how to happily thrive through the holidays when you’re pregnant or newly postpartum.

  • Thriving Through Summer Break

    You’ve seen the memes. Schools out, parents are stocking up on snacks, guzzling wine and counting down the days until back to school. But it doesn’t have to be that way. I love when my older son is home for summer break. The mornings are slower, the days are filled with adventures and we make lots of memories. I’m so lucky that my doula business allows me the flexibility to set my schedule but even if your home on maternity leave, you can have peaceful, exciting and fun summer with your newborn AND your school-agers home for break.

    If your school aged kids are in camp while you’re home with your newborn baby:

    1. Have a plan. Get a game plan together for drop offs and pickups. If your partner, family or friend can help with this great! Pack bags, lunches and outfits the night before so that the mornings move smoothly. What’s for breakfast? Something quick and healthy like blueberry muffins and fresh fruit simplify your routine. Make sure you eat too!
    2. Maximize your time. Know what times your newborn tend to wake for their morning feedings and work around those times for your morning routine.  If your newborn doesn’t go back to sleep after your morning nursing session, baby wearing can free up your hands to help get your older kids ready and into the car.
    3. Take it easy. After drop of reward yourself with a snack and a big glass of water and relax. You have the rest of the day to focus on yourself and your newborn. But be mindful of your baby’s afternoon awake/ nursing times and pick – up times so you can be strategic with your timing.
    4. Get some help. If you’re doing things solo, enlist the help of postpartum doula or mother’s helper to help you with drop offs and pick ups. You can even have them stay through the day to help you make the most of your time with your newborn.

    If your school-aged kids are home with you and your newborn baby:

    1. Have a plan. Set a loose schedule for the day. Think of some low key outdoor activities and some engaging indoor events that will keep your older kids interest. You want to think things like water play outside, splash pads, age appropriate playgrounds, storytimes, gymnastics open play, music classes, robotics classes, art activities etc. you want to be able to sit and rest when needed and keep an eye on your older children from a safe distance that works for you. Again, wearing your newborn can help make things easy, especially if you have to nurse while out and about. Remember to schedule some quiet down time with your children too.
    2. Maximize your time. Schedule outings and activities around nursing times as you see fit. If you are uncomfortable nursing away from home you can focus on shorter activities and staying closer to home. If you find things to do that are popular for moms with newborns you can take that as a chance to practice nursing while out and about with your baby.
    3. Take it easy. Don’t try to do everything in one day.  I like to focus on getting out of the house or doing our highest energy activity in the morning after breakfast and taking it easy after lunch. Let your older kids embrace their older sibling roles and model positive parenting.
    4. Get some help. If your doing things solo this summer and your older kids are staying home for the summer you could seriously benefit from the help of a postpartum doula. Or even a mother’s helper or nanny. Having an extra set of hands, eyes and ears can really save your sanity through the summer months. Plus, you’ll have another adult (who can answer all of your breastfeeding, postpartum and newborn questions) to talk too. Yes!

    So what do you have going on this summer? Are you home with your newborn baby? And older kids? Is everyone going to daycare and school? Got any summer parenting questions?

  • What They Don’t Tell You When You’re Pregnant…

    I don’t know who needs to hear this but…

    You deserve to thrive postpartum.

    Yup, I said it. And I wholeheartedly believe it. And you should too.

    I really mean it though. You should believe this deep down at the core of your being. Let me elaborate.

    You have spent so much time preparing your body and mind for pregnancy and birth.

    Changing your diet and excersizing more

    Reading all of the books and blogs and creating a birth plan

    Curating a registry and preparing baby’s nursery

    Celebrating with friends and family at your gender reveal and baby shower…

    All so that your baby gets the very best from the start.

    But I have to remind you of one thing. I have to let you in on something that many pregnant women overlook.

    I’m sure your birthing books and pregnancy classes have mentioned it.

    And other mothers speak about it in hushed tones with looks of pity or shame in their eyes.

    I have to tell you about this one huge thing that many new moms just like you say they feel unprepared for.

    They wonder “why didnt anyone tell me?”

    They wish they had done things differently earlier on. That they had done more to prepare.

    But I dont want you to think like them.

    I want you to know the whole truth BEFORE you give birth. So that you can truly prepare your mind.

    The truth that exsists no matter how you birth your baby. Whether you have a vaginal birth or a cesarean birth. Whether you have a birth with little or lots of complications. Whether this is your first or fifth birth. Whether you are planning a home, birth center or hospital birth. Whether you chose to hire an OB, midwife or choose to birth unassited.

    No matter how your birth story unfolds. There is one truth that exsists after you cross the threshold from maiden to mother.

    That one basic truth is that you deserve to thrive postpartum.

    Pregnancy and birth are just the beginning of the journey. Postpartum is when the real work of motherhood begins.

    You deserve a thriving postpartum.

    You deserve to rest and recovery after you give birth.

    You deserve judgement free support that allows you the time and space to recover from pregnancy and birth. You also deserve this time and space as you learn to care for and bond with your baby.

    Despite what some might say or think, it is possible to do more than just survive postpartum. Take the time to prepare for this time while you are pregnant and take the fear out of postpartum. Embrace a thriving postpartum mindset and take charge of your journey to motherhood. There will be so many unknowns, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t stay ready.

    With a thriving postpartum mindset you will:

    Get a strong start towards your infant feeding goals

    Learn and bond with your baby with ease

    Maximize the growth and changes in your brain

    Strengthen your momfidence (mom confidence)

    Discover the new version of yourself and level up with ease

    Discover and embrace your new identity as a mother

    Stay connected with your partner

    Strengthen communication and intimacy

    Find and embrace your village of support

    Process your birth story and let go of birth trauma

    Reduce complications as you recover from pregnancy and birth

    Make time for self care

    Get as much restorative sleep as possible

    Let go of fears of postpartum depression

    With a thriving postpartum mindset your baby will get the very best YOU from the start.

    I know its a lot to take in but I know you can handle it. If you start planning now while you are pregnant, you will feel ready and confident with a toolbelt of resources at your fingertips.

    Don’t be that mom that vows to do things differently next time around. Do what you feel you need to do THIS time so that you have the best postpartum possible.

    And if you’re not sure where to start, contact me and I’ll be happy to help.

    Plan Ahead For A Thriving Postpartum
  • Take This New Mom’s Advice: Make Room For You After Birth

    “The next mom I meet I will recommend that she prepares a nice space for herself…”

    These words jumped out at me as I read through a client review I’d recently received.

    Although there was not really a question on the form asking for advice for other parents my client felt it was very important to note this realization she had about her own time on maternity leave.

    “I had this weird image that maternity leave would be this amazing time when I would be able to explore the city with my baby! I quickly realized that maternity leave meant catching up with sleep and staying home a lot. I think I needed a reality check in that area.”

    Here is a brand new first time mother taking a step back and reflecting on her expectations and how they changed with time and experience.

    She initially imagined her maternity leave of 6 to 8 weeks would be filled with lots of down time to get out and about with her baby.

    When she was pregnant and imagining a world with her new baby, she did not know that she would be postpartum. She did not realize all of the new routines and experiences that come with the transition from a maiden to a mother.

    In my work with her, we focused primarily on nighttime parenting in the form of overnight visits. But our nights were filled with long conversations about becoming a mother and a parent and realizing how momentous that shift is.

    How we, generally, focus so much on baby baby baby and not enough on mother.

    So when I saw those words as I read through her review of our time together something really stuck out to me.

    “The next mom I meet I will recommend that she prepares a nice space for herself.

    “…for herself.”

    The number one thing that this brand new mother recommends that all new moms should do to prepare for her postpartum time is to create a comfy and cozy space for herself.

    And this is especially true for first time moms and parents who may have a hard time seeing realistically, what their maternity leave will look like.

    why does this matter?

    Typically, during pregnancy, the focus is on preparing a nursery or a separate room for baby and all of their things. But the reality is that you will be spending A LOT of time all over your home.

    Your baby will not be confined to the nursery and you will want to be in your comfy spaces while doing a lot of the new parent things.

    You may even discover that you prefer to have your baby cosleep or room share. You may find that it’s easier to change a diaper on the bed or floor. You may have to do everything in one space due to a difficult birth. The point is your whole home will be affected.

    It’s important to do this before baby is born or as soon as possible. You want to come home to a warm little nest (and meal!) so that your postpartum recovery can get off to a smooth start without worrying about chores and cleaning.

    Lastly, clutter and chaos at home can make us feel overwhelmed and expose us to a lot of unimportant stimuli. This can make it hard to fully relax mentally and physically and in turn take our focus away from the really important things like getting lots of rest and taking care of yourself and your new baby.

    how to create a cozy space just for mom:

    Think about your top two chill spots. Usually your bed and your couch.

    How can you make them and the areas around them even more cozy and welcoming for you? The perfect timing is now. You may feel that urge to “nest” or prepare your home for your baby. Don’t forget to prepare for your postpartum recovery as well. What things bring your mind peace or make your smile? Include lots of those things.

    clear away clutter

    Think about your vision of yourself as a new mother. Do you have items in your chill spots that don’t align with your vision for yourself? What things make you anxious? Remove those items, place them where they belong or donate them. Clear out items that don’t aid your journey to motherhood.

    think about function

    What are the primary uses of this space? For example your bedroom is your number one spot for sleeping. After baby is born this may become family nap central or baby’s room too.

    Your living room couch may be your primary chill destination. After baby is born this will become a breastfeeding spot, diaper changing station or tummy time play place.

    decide what you need

    What do you need to make the space as functional as possible? For sleeping, you might want to keep a sleep mask, white noise machine, and water bottle at your bedside in addition to bringing in an infant cosleeper or sidecar crib. Don’t forget a cozy blanket FOR MOM and maybe even some fuzzy slippers for a touch of luxury. MOMTIP: red light bulbs can help give you a soft light at night without the brightness of a typical light

    be realistic

    You don’t need to go all out in these spaces. Think about the items that are essential to the spaces main and new purpose and find a balance.

    Create a cozy breastfeeding space with a simple basket filled with all of your breastfeeding necessities next to a comfy chair.

    Challenging birth? Keep postpartum essentials at your bedside for quick use. Keep your postpartum pads, witch hazel wipes, your peri bottle, cooling spray and sitz herbs in a bin in the bathroom for ease of use.

    leave room

    As always with motherhood, stay flexible and reach out for support. There is no predicting how your birth or postpartum recovery will go. But if you plan ahead, stay flexible and tap into your support network when challenges arise you can navigate this messy, wonderful time with ease, grace and peace.

    How have you prepared you home for your new baby and new life? Need help getting started? Let’s work together to create a cozy and warm welcome home for your new family.

  • Postpartum Care Is Getting A Makeover – and its about time!

    If you don’t already know, a complete overhaul of what postpartum care looks like is long overdue.

    In May, the American College of Gynecologist, will officially release its new stance on what postpartum care should look like. And thankfully, YOU are the focus of this new plan.

    The current standard, referred to as the 6 Week Visit,  includes one comprehensive postpartum visit at 6 to 8 weeks postpartum that is tailored to the individual woman’s needs.

    And that’s it. Yes the 6 Week Visit model is as basic as it’s name.

    And that is one of the main reasons that I became a postpartum doula.

    I always noticed the imbalance between pregnancy and postpartum. Or baby and postpartum. Or birth and postpartum. How many times have you heard the phrase, “at least the baby is healthy” in response to a mother sharing her birth trauma?

    This is a direct manifestation of that imbalance.

    The imbalance that tells you that you are not as important at her baby, that she comes second.

    The imbalance that tells you that you are only worthy of protection when you are carrying a baby in your womb.

    That imbalance, that forces you to suffer and/or survive in silence during one of the most vulnerable times in your life.

    Fortunately there is a shift happening. In how we define postpartum and how we care for postpartum women.

    The postpartum woman is incredible vulnerable in many ways. Physically, emotionally, socially.

    The 6 Week Visit model allows far to many mothers, like you, to slip through the cracks into low self esteem, poor physical health, broken relationships, postpartum mood disorders and even death.


    So Why The Change?

    With recent awareness being brought to the state of the postpartum black woman in America, many are looking to the medical community to make the changes needed to stop women from developing serious complications or dying from birth related causes.

    When we support and uplift the most vulnerable of us, in this case black women, we support and lift us all.

    Both research and anecdotal evidence shows us that postpartum complications do not discriminate. Regardless of race, economic status, religion or family support, maternal health can be compromised. Take Serena Williams’ story or Shalon Irving’s story or this article about preventable maternal deaths in New York  for just a few examples.

    A Thriving Postpartum Starts Prenatally

    The ACOG, is taking steps by introducing its Postpartum Process model of care.And this new idea about what postpartum care should look like starts during pregnancy.

    Maternal care providers, like your OB/GYN, midwife or family practitioner, should help you create a postpartum care plan that addresses the transition to parenthood and well-woman care.

    Important discussions about infant feeding, baby blues, postpartum emotional health, the challenges of parenting and postpartum recovery from childbirth should also take place prenatally.

    This postpartum care plan should also list contact information for members of your maternal care team and instructions on when your postpartum follow up care should take place.

    by 3 Weeks

    After you give birth and take your baby home, your first postpartum check-up or “initial assessment” should take place no later than 3 weeks postpartum. This assessment can be done in person or by phone and addresses immediate postpartum issues. This is the time to ask unanswered or new questions you may have about your labor, delivery and immediate postpartum.

    If you had any pregnancy complications or have an ongoing chronic condition, the first visit should take place between 1 and 3 weeks postpartum and your maternal care provide should be in contact with your primary care provider.

    between 3  and 12 Weeks

    Ongoing follow- ups are encouraged as needed based on issues brought up in the first assessment. Complications from pregnancy and chronic conditions are managed by your primary maternal care provider during this time.

    by 12 Weeks

    By 12 weeks you should have a comprehensive postpartum visit. This visit should include a full assessment of your physical  emotional and psychological well-being. This visits also signals your transition from postpartum care to well woman care. In some cases the primary maternal care provider will change and in this case your initial provider will make sure that there is continued care.

    The timing of this visit should be individualized to each woman’s needs.

    Pregnancy and Heart Health

    If you dealt with preterm birth, gestational diabetes or pregnancy related blood pressure issues then you will counseled about being at a higher lifetime risk of maternal cardiometabolic disease. Pregnancy acts a “natural stress test” by identifying at -risk women.

    Ongoing Health Conditions

    If you have a chronic medical condition like diabetes, renal disease, thyroid disorder, mood disorder or substance abuse disorders, you will be counseled on how it is crucial for your to go to your follow up visits so that there is continued care of your condition and so that any prescriptions you are taking can be re- evaluated to account for the postpartum changes your body is going through and breastfeeding.

    Pregnancy Loss

    If you have experienced a miscarriage, stillbirth or infant loss, it is very important that you receive follow up care too. Follow up care will be focused on providing emotional and bereavement support as well as reviewing lab results or studies related to your loss, future pregnancy planning and any risks moving forward

    Policy and Insurance

    To accommodate the ACOG’s new recommendations for postpartum care, insurance groups will need to broaden the scope of postpartum care from one postpartum visit at 6 weeks to an ongoing process lasting the first 12 weeks after birth and adjust their reimbursement policies accordingly.

    Paid parental leave including full benefits and 100% of pay for at least 6 weeks are essential to improving maternal and infant health and well-being. And anything else, is a grave injustice leaving the most vulnerable of us to bear the burden.

    OB/GYNs should be on the front lines of all policy efforts that allow you to recover from birth and nurture your baby.

    Its About Time

    I mean this in many ways. This change and new focus on the postpartum woman as an individual has been long overdue. Women need A LOT more face time with their care providers after birth and the Postpartum Process encourages that.

    The 6 Week Visit model communicated that in the medical community, the postpartum woman has no or little value. That the health and safety of her baby is far more important than her own health and well being.

    When the reality is that you need just as much support as your baby does after birth.

    You need nurturing and support so that you can focus on recovering from birth, get a good start to breastfeeding and build a strong bond with your baby.

    As your postpartum doula, my services already include many of the changes proposed by the ACOG. I work with you to create a postpartum plan that addresses much more than just your physical recovery and how to care for your baby. I am constantly adding premier providers to my referral network so that when you need a little more support, you don’t have to go searching far, and so much more

    I am hopeful that care providers will eagerly adopt the Postpartum Process so that you can get the REAL support and care you need after giving birth.

    Optimizing postpartum care. ACOG Committee Opinion No. 736. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Obstet Gynecol 2018;131:e140–50.




  • The Benefits of Hiring a Postpartum Doula

    Postpartum doulas are an invaluable,  lesser known birth professional. As a new mother or father, you can benefit from inviting a professional postpartum doula into your home after giving birth.

    Whether this is your first or fifth child. or if you gave birth vaginally or by C-section, a postpartum doula can help make your time after giving birth a blissful, enjoyable time.

    New parents who have enough practical and emotional support adjust to parenting better than those who do not. A postpartum doula helps take care of the home so that you can focus on bonding, breastfeeding, resting and recovering.

    A postpartum doula is right there to encourage and support you when you need it most.

    New mothers who have a support network including their partner, family members, care providers, doulas, counselors and peer groups have greater breastfeeding success, greater self-confidence and feel less overwhelmed.

    Hiring a postpartum doula can benefit not only you and your baby but also your partner, family and extended family as well. A postpartum doula can teach you and anyone who will be caring for the baby about the newest methods and philosophies in parenting as well as reaffirm methods tried and true.

    The postpartum doula fills in the gaps when you do not have enough support available. This could be because you are separated from loved ones by great distances, work demands or many other circumstances. This could mean that you are ill- prepared or feeling overwhelmed or isolated.

    By hiring a postpartum doula, you will benefit from the wealth of information and experience on what to expect in the days, weeks and months after giving birth.

    The doula does this by educating and supporting the parents hands on with breastfeeding support, newborn care and what a healthy newborn looks like, bonding and attachment, and coping skills.

    The postpartum doula  can also connect you with community resources and local care providers as needed. The doula will also help you access, expand or even create a circle of support within your community.

    Parents who have  the type of support that a postpartum doula can provide, enjoy the following benefits during their postpartum period:

    • Increased chance of breastfeeding success
    • Reduced chance of infant dehydration and hospitalization with health complications due to informed care
    • Less chance of maternal postpartum depression and shorter duration and easier for mother to cope with it if it occurs
    • Less maternal exhaustion, frustration, and apprehension during early weeks.
    • Reduction in unnecessary calls to pediatricians
    • Dad back to work sooner with less anxiety
    • Greater understanding of newborn emotional and physical needs and behavior
    • More independent control of baby’s care in the face of overbearing relatives and advice givers due to education and early positive experience.
    • Earlier bonding due to more confidence
    • Paying for a doula gives relatives a way to give constructive help