Online Pregnancy Resources That Rock

We know that most parents turn to online resources when they have pregnancy-related questions.  Sadly, Facebook and message boards can be a terrible place to get real information; often, comment threads end up full of outdated or just plain incorrect facts.  Other websites might have incomplete or biased content.  And other places might just not be all that user-friendly.  So, where should parents turn when they have questions?  Well, here is a list of great info that can get you started.

  • Lamaze.org- We know we might sound biased, but Lamaze International’s website is absolutely full of up to date, evidence based information all designed to help families achieve healthy pregnancies and births. The have an absolutely awesome parent section,  where you will find helpful links.  Our favorite part is way at the bottom, where you can find a link to tip sheets with information on everything from pregnancy to bathing your new baby.  You can also sign up for Lamaze’s weekly pregnancy newsletter, which will deliver week-by-week info to your email inbox.  Yes, we know other sites have a similar feature, but we especially love Lamaze’s because it is confidence-building, not fear-increasing.  The Lamaze website is also the only place you will be able to find the Lamaze Magazine; as is the case with many publications, the cost of printing the free magazine became too much and it now is available digitally.
  • ChildbirthConnection.org- Founded in 1918 as the Maternity Center Association (later changing their name to Childbirth Connection), this national non-profit has worked on every level of our health care system to help improve care and outcomes for mothers and their babies.  Their evidence-based information is fantastic for parents who understand how important quality information is to making informed decisions.  Their information on things like choosing care providers, choosing place of birth, Inductions, Cesarean, and VBACs is rarely matched anywhere else on the web for being so accurate, up to date, supported by best evidence, and most importantly, women-centered.
  • ChoicesinChildbirth.org-Another non-profit that seeks to improve our outcomes in maternity care, Choices in Childbirth has some really wonderful articles on labor, inductions, choosing care providers, and postpartum mood disorders. You might have been given a copy of their Guide to a Healthy Birth, a fantastic little booklet full of information with one of the most comprehensive list of resources in the appendix.
  • MarchofDimes.com- Pretty much everyone knows about the March of Dimes.  What you might not be aware of, though, is that they have been a very important force in reducing the number of elective inductions before 39 weeks in the United States, which they found was a contributing factor to our rising premature birth rate.  They have also been really instrumental in raising public awareness that mothers need to wait until their baby is ready to be born with their various campaigns.  Their pregnancy section has wonderful information on how to have a healthy pregnancy (and, thus, help increase the chances of having a healthy baby–something every mother wants), articles to help you get ready for and take care of baby, and, of course,information on preterm labor.
  • Preeclampsia.org- We had a chance to meet someone from this organization last July, and have continued to hear many great things about the information and support available at this website.  Preeclampsia is a very serous condition, and the Preeclampsia Foundation works to raise awareness of the signs and symptoms of preeclamsia and related disorders.  They have information for mothers and a section for care providers, as well a place for mothers who have been diagnosed with preeclamsia or it’s related HELLP Syndrome to get support.

While this list is not exhaustive, hopefully you will find these websites helpful.  No online information is enough to replace good, quality childbirth classes, but they can help supplement those classes.

What about you?  What are some of your favorite websites for pregnancy?

Veronica Jacobsen, BA, CLC, CPST, LCCE, FACCE
Birth Doula, Certified Lactation Counselor, Child Passenger Safety Technician, Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator, Fellow of the Academy of Certified Childbirth Educators

Opening BabyLove in September of 2011 has allowed me to build a space where all families can come to get good information in a caring, welcoming environment. I have found that not only do I love teaching more than ever, but I also really love running a business. Hopefully my passion for every aspect of BabyLove shines through.
I live in Richfield with my husband, and I am a mother of a two great children. When I can steal a few free moments, I love to go on adventures with my family, cook, garden, thrift, can, and craft.

How to change your care provider

There are many reasons a mother might have to find a new care provider for her pregnancy and birth.  Some reasons are out of necessity, some out of personal choice.  If a care provider moves, retires, or takes a new position, then a mother will need to find a new provider.  If a mother moves or her insurance coverage changes significantly, she might need to reassess her care.  And sometimes, after asking some questions, she realizes that her doctor or midwife (or even the hospital) will not be a good match for what the mother desires for an upcoming birth.  Depending on your circumstances and the protocols of the doctor, midwife, or practice you wish to switch to, you may be able to change as late as 40 (or more!) weeks.  Broadly speaking, though, OBs and Family Medicine doctors will be able to take patients very late (if they are amenable to taking new patients late in pregnancy at all), and midwives usually face more restrictions, with 34 or 36 weeks of gestation being a normal cutoff.  So, you know you need to change, now what?

1. Start by finding a new care provider.

Ask for suggestions from your doula, your local independent childbirth educator, or other independent childbirth professionals in your area.  Find someone who will fit your needs. Are you looking for a specific location?  Someone who is covered by your health insurance?  Someone who will take your desires and concerns seriously?  Are you looking for specific options, like labor tubs or waterbirth?  Ask questions now.  It might seem like a lot of work, but care providers you want to work with will want to talk to you about these things.  If they don’t answer your questions, it might not be a good sign of how they treat current patients. Also included in this process:  If you are planning a hospital birth, find out if the options for the hospital meet your needs.

2. Make an appointment with your potential new care provider.

 If you are approaching 33 weeks, do this very soon.  If you are approaching 40 weeks, do this NOW! Each clinic and practice has their own process for taking in new patients.  Explain your situation and ask how they best like to handle the change.

3. Get your old records.

Sometimes it’s a matter of filling out a form with the new provider.  Sometimes the process is best handled by filling out a transfer form with your old provider.  Either way, in this age of HIPAA, there will be a form (or two).  If you are moving to a different city or are close to your Estimated Due Date, it might not be a bad idea for you to get an actual paper copy of all of your pregnancy-related records to have for yourself just in case there is any delay in the transfer of the old records.  It is a very unfun process to have to wait in labor while someone tries to find your chart; not only does it create some chaos for the staff, it may mean that you are treated as a high-risk patient until you prove otherwise.  No matter what, once you place the records request, stay on top of it! Check in every couple of days to make sure you did not get lost in the shuffle somewhere.

4. Move forward!

You did the hard work!  Hooray! Once you get started with this new provider, you might have lingering feelings of uncertainty, especially if it was a change due to circumstances out of your control.  That’s understandable.  But know that you will move forward and feel good about a decision that you put thought into.

Veronica Jacobsen, BA, CLC, CPST, LCCE, FACCE
Birth Doula, Certified Lactation Counselor, Child Passenger Safety Technician, Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator, Fellow of the Academy of Certified Childbirth Educators

Opening BabyLove in September of 2011 has allowed me to build a space where all families can come to get good information in a caring, welcoming environment. I have found that not only do I love teaching more than ever, but I also really love running a business. Hopefully my passion for every aspect of BabyLove shines through.
I live in Richfield with my husband, and I am a mother of a two great children. When I can steal a few free moments, I love to go on adventures with my family, cook, garden, thrift, can, and craft.