National Midwifery Week 2021: Meet the Midwives

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National Midwifery Week 2021 is here! In the United States, midwives have been serving communities for more than a century. National Midwifery Week was created by ACNM to celebrate the work and dedication of midwives and midwife-led care. From community education to prenatal visits to deliveries, ACNM’s national week of celebration is a time to show your support for all that you do.

This year’s theme, “Midwives for Every Community,” acknowledges the unique skills and abilities of all midwives across the country. The ACNM aims to celebrate midwives in all areas of the country that work in diverse environments to care for women and families. The week will focus on how midwives help address health disparities in underserved communities, provide culturally competent care, and improve health outcomes overall.

Meet the Midwives at Midwife360

P. Fadwah Halaby

Founder of Midwife360 in West Palm Beach, P. Fadwah Halaby was born on March 17 in Washington DC. Fadwah is an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse, as well as a Certified Nurse Midwife. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree with a concentration in nutrition from The Evergreen State College in Olympia, WA. Fadwah studied both childbirth education and home-birth training in Colorado. She is a Certified Nurse Midwife by the Frontier School of Midwifery and Family Nursing.

When taking a deeper look into Fadwah and the reason behind her passion for midwifery, these were her answers to some of our questions.

Why Did You Choose Your Career?

“I was moved by Spiritual Midwifery– an iconic book written by Ina May Gaskin- the mother of modern midwifery. I read this book while in college at the age of 19, and knew I had found my calling.”

How Long Have You Been Working in Midwifery?

“I gave birth to my first child in 1985 as a ‘free birth’- confident in my ability to birth through my self-study in midwifery over the previous 5 years. I went on to assist another woman in free birth with a breech baby in 1986. In the early 90s, I trained as a lay midwife, completed my nurse-midwife training in 2005, and started my first job as a CNM in 2006.”

What is Your Favorite Part of Your Job?

“Knowing that I had a part in empowering a woman and family through the birthing process. Also, being able to assist women that no one else will help, for example, high order VBACs, twins, and breeches.

What Do You Think is Most Important About What You Do?

“Educating families about the normalcy of birth, as well as protecting the spiritual experience for mama and baby.”

What are 3 Facts About You That Patients Should Know?

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  • I live a plant-based lifestyle
  • I practice Native American spirituality
  • I am Palestinian

What Motto Do You Live By?

“Live and let live.”

What is Your Favorite Book and Why?

The Presence Process, this book has changed my life for the better. It has made me a better and happier person by enabling me to exist in the present moment.”

What is Your Favorite Quote and Why?

” A quote by Octavia Butler says, ‘All that you touch you change. All that you change, changes you. The only lasting truth is change. God is change.’ This quote for me means nothing is permanent, time marches on, and flowing with it is the only way to stay sane!”

What are Some of Your Goals for 2022?

“Continue to organize Midwife360 so that all of our employees feel supported. Create a space where everyone who enters feels like they have come home. Achieve a sustainable work/life balance, including time with my kids and grandkids.”

Joanna Bronkema

Another midwife at Midwife360 is Joanna Bronkema who was born on November 21 in Grand Rapids, MI. Joanna is a Certified Nurse Midwife and Nurse Practitioner, however, she first began her career as an environmental biologist. She went back to school and attended the University of California San Francisco where she received her RN, CNM, and NP degrees.

Below are the answers to our questions to get a better understanding of why Joanna chose the midwifery path.

Why Did You Choose Your Career?

“I love science and I love supporting women’s rights. Bringing a midwife approach, who uses science and compassion to empower women around their health.”

How Long Have You Been Working in Midwifery?

“I started teaching reproductive health in developing countries in 2010. I then became a doula, a nurse, and finished by receiving my NP and midwife license in 2016.”

What is Your Favorite Part of Your Job?

“Watching families find out that they can take back their own power surrounding their health and birth.”

What Do You Think is Most Important About What You Do?

“Health and patient autonomy are the most important objectives of my work.”

What are Facts About You That Patients Should Know?

“I see myself as a lifeguard at birth, letting the family take the lead while quietly monitoring for safety.”

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What Motto Do You Live By?

I am love, I am energy, I am peace.”

What is Your Favorite Book and Why?

Real Food for Pregnancy by Lily Nichols. Nourishing the self nourishes the baby and sets into motion lifelong healthy habits.”

What is Your Favorite Quote and Why?

“The quote by Gandhi that says, ‘Be the change you want to see in the world.’ This is because we all need some inspiration, and living with integrity gives my life purpose.”

What are Some of Your Goals for 2022?

“I joined Midwife360 in 2021 and we moved to a bigger, and nicer office a few months later. So, in 2022 I’d like to continue to see us grow and develop as a cohesive team.”

Lauren Marie Danella

Our final midwife at Midwife360 is Lauren Marie Danella who was born on June 5 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Lauren is a Certified Nurse Midwife as well as Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner with a dual master’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania. Lauren worked as a  Neonatal Intensive Care Nurse, and as a Pediatric Nurse for orphaned children with complicated medical conditions. She also studies the art of natural childbirth with the midwives of Bali, Indonesia.

Below are the answers to the questions we asked Lauren to learn why she chose midwifery.

Why Did You Choose Your Career?

After working in an orphanage for 8 years in Mexico, I was looking for the next step in life. I know I’m happiest when helping others and wanted to find a career I could be passionate about by knowing I was helping others in a loving way. In the orphanage, I saw children healing from their trauma just by connecting with a staff member and feeling loved. 

Midwifery seemed to be a way to help mothers bond with their babies from the very beginning, so they are loved from the very beginning and grow up with the strength they need to face the world.”

How Long Have You Been Working in Midwifery?

I started working in the birth world as a doula in 2009. Then as a nurse in the NICU and pediatrics. I graduated from my midwifery program in 2016.”  

What is Your Favorite Part of Your Job?

“Seeing our peaceful, smiling babies who were born gently at home. When parents who have had previous children in the hospital sometimes ask, “Is she okay? she never cries.”

What Do You Think is Most Important About What You Do?

Creating an environment where our mothers feel safe and supported. When there is no fear and doubt, this makes for a faster, more comfortable labor, and babies take their first

breath coming into the world where they feel the love surrounding them from the beginning. This is when babies are born gently.” 

What are important Facts About You That Patients Should Know?

  • Multiple trainings with Debra Pascali-Bonari, creator of Orgasmic Birth
  • Lived in Bali, Indonesia for over a year, working at Bumi Sehat Birthing Center and trained by Ibu Robin Lim and Lianne Shwartz
  • Graduated from The University of Pennsylvania, one of the top midwifery schools in the country. It is also recognized as the top nursing school in the world.
  • Before midwifery, I helped to open an orphanage and elementary school in Mexico, where I taught yoga, meditation, and nutrition.  

What Motto Do You Live By?

“Keep Life Simple.”

What is Your Favorite Quote and Why?

“My favorite quote is by Liza Rossi and she says, ‘Love is the Answer to Everything,’ which I find to be so true.

What are Some of Your Goals for 2022?

“To continue learning and learning new practices and techniques to have the ability to give each mother and baby the care and love they deserve.”

Visit Midwife360 and Meet the Midwives

Midwife360 began in 2014 and is now a staple to women’s care in South Florida. At Midwife360, they offer holistic gynecology as well as midwifery services such as routine women’s care, family planning, and pregnancy care and birthing.

Along with their three midwives, their team also includes Sandra Alandete (Admin), Vanessa Scoz (MA/Admin), and Dawn Downs (Office Manager). This team of beautiful and intelligent women all share the same passion for combing traditional care methods with modern medicine. Furthermore, they bring together a practice based on a deep connection between provider and patient, individual needs, and true healing.

Holistic Gynecology FAQ

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Q. What is a Holistic Approach?

A holistic approach to modern medicine is characterized by treating the person as a whole, rather than treating specific diseases or symptoms. This approach is concerned with prevention and health care, not simply curing disease after it has taken hold. The support should also consider their physical, emotional, social, and spiritual wellbeing.

Q. What is Holistic Gynecology

Holistic gynecology is a branch of medicine that focuses on preventive care and enhancing well-being. This type of gynecology provides healthcare throughout a woman’s entire life and addresses holistic women’s health, rather than just treating illness once it occurs. 

The holistic approach uses and emphasizes natural therapies that promote wellness for the body, mind, and spirit, as well as using traditional medicine when needed. It also helps vaginal health by using natural remedies instead of harmful chemicals.

Q. How is Holistic Gynecology Different Than the Rest

One main difference has to do with treatment. A mainstream ob-gyn relies on pharmaceutical drugs, synthetic hormones, and surgical procedures to solve women’s health problems. Holistic gynecology chooses treatments such as herbal remedies, supplements, nutrition, and mindfulness.  It also supports the natural processes of the body and traditional treatments when necessary.

Another difference is in how a holistic gynecologist thinks about health care for women. A typical ob-gyn says that with proper medical treatment, she can help most women with their health problems. A holistic practitioner believes this as well, but also knows that healing does not always come from a pill. 

Q. What is Offered with a Holistic Gynecologist

Healthcare at a Holistic Gynecologist, like Midwife360, offers primary care and treatment for women of all ages. From their first PAP-smear through menopause. It includes preventative measures to detect and treat gynecological conditions before they become more difficult to manage. When mainstream medical care is necessary, it also offers a support system that can work in conjunction with other practices or hospitals.

At Midwife360 we offer and educate on:

  • PAP-smears
  • Annual Examinations / Office Visits
  • Problem Visit Examinations
  • HPV
  • Thermography
  • STDs
  • IUD or implant placement
  • Pregnancy and prevention strategies
  • Blood Draw & Testing
  • Birth Control (natural and artificial methods)
  • Fertility issues (natural and artificial methods)
  • Mammograms and ultrasound prescriptions
  • Any vaginal or genital discomfort
  • Convenient electronic prescription and medical records

Q. Is it Important to Use Organic Feminine Products

Yes. It is important to use organic feminine products because you must protect your delicate vaginal mucosa from chemical irritants. This can be done by using 100% cotton tampons or pads and natural, non-chemical-based feminine care products such as menstrual cups.

It can be bad for vaginal health to use non-organic because tampons absorb vaginal and uterine fluid to keep you dry. This allows the vagina’s delicate bacterial balance to be disrupted, allowing bad bacteria to grow. Thus, releasing chemicals into your body (including pesticides from non-organic cotton).

Q. How Do I Find A Holistic Gynecologist

If you are in the South Florida area and are looking for a provider who takes the holistic approach, look no further. Founded by P. Fadwah Halaby CNM, Midwife360 is a holistic evidence-based practice for midwifery services such as routine women’s care, family planning, pregnancy care, and birthing. 

If you are ready to make an appointment visit the Midwife360 today.

A Guide on Postpartum Thyroiditis for New Moms

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Women go through a lot of changes after pregnancy. Some are physical, some are emotional and others cognitive. These changes can be attributed to the pregnancy itself or postpartum depression, which is very common for women in this time period. However, what if these symptoms are actually signs of something more serious like Postpartum Thyroiditis?

Postpartum Thyroiditis is a condition that primarily affects women and it has many symptoms that overlap with pregnancy-related issues such as fatigue, weight loss struggles, hair loss, anxiety, and trouble sleeping. This article will explore all you need to know when you’re expecting.

Know the Symptoms of Postpartum Thyroiditis

It is extremely common for women, especially new mothers, to experience postpartum depression following the birth of their baby. Some of the symptoms are mood swings, withdrawal, loss of appetite, insomnia, and fatigue. Oftentimes, mothers feel extremely depressed as a result of the excess weight they may have gained during their pregnancy.

On the other hand, these symptoms are very similar to what one may feel if one is experiencing postpartum thyroiditis. Some of the common symptoms of both postpartum depression and signs of postpartum thyroiditis are; weight gain, depression, lethargy, muscle weakness, and trouble sleeping. Although it is uncommon for many women to develop postpartum thyroiditis, it can happen and be missed. Due to the similarities in symptoms, many women can have the misconception that they are only experiencing postpartum depression when something much more severe is occurring.

Can It be Detected

Postpartum thyroiditis is a condition that impacts postpartum women. This can occur after the birth of your child and most commonly arises in the first trimester or early second trimester. If you test positive with this antibody during early pregnancy, there is a 40% to 60% higher risk of developing postpartum thyroiditis. Thus, more reason to get checked by your healthcare provider early on.

Types of Postpartum Thyroiditis

It is important for mothers to be aware that they may be experiencing one of the two types of thyroiditis. These being:

  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Hypothyroidism

Knowing and being aware of symptoms of both types is important to be aware of during your term. Although it is easy to miss diagnose these symptoms as something less severe, it is important to report all of them to your healthcare provider.

Hyperthyroidism

This type of postpartum thyroiditis refers to an overactive thyroid. This means the thyroid gland is producing too much thyroid hormone. Thus,  causing the body’s metabolism to speed up, in turn, speeding up other parts of the body.

The symptoms of hyperthyroidism include:

  • Nervousness/ anxiety
  • Spead up heartbeat/ palpitations
  • Weight loss
  • excessive sweating/ heat flashes
  • Increased appetite
  • Insomnia
  • Fatigue
  • Frequent or loose stools

Hypothyroidism

Exactly opposite of hyperthyroidism, hypothyroidism is when the gland is deficient in thyroid hormones. When an expecting mother has this type of postpartum thyroiditis, the body functions a lot slower.

The symptoms of hypothyroidism include:

  • Depression
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Decreased milk volume
  • Muscle weakness
  • Constimaption
  • Dry or brittle hair/ nails
  • Hair loss
  • High cholesterol
  • Always cold
  • Weight gain

When mothers experience either type of postpartum thyroiditis it can feel as if they aren’t able to fully enjoy their new baby. The symptoms are hard to overcome making everything feel stagnant.

Prevention

One form of therapy that has worked to help prevent postpartum thyroiditis in women who have high antibodies during pregnancy is giving selenium. Selenium is an essential trace mineral that helps to support many bodily processes. When taken during pregnancy, selenium acts as an anti-inflammatory, helping to reduce the chances of developing postpartum thyroiditis. 

Other helpful prevention ideas can include changing your diet to a more anti-inflammatory diet. Reducing or stopping gluten intake can help reduce inflammation. Choosing BPA-free, phthalate-free, and paraben-free also helps avoid toxins that can be a factor in causing thyroid issues.

More Questions?

If you are looking for more information about thyroid issues and the threats of postpartum thyroiditis, talk to your healthcare provider or give us a call at Midwife360. We are a holistic evidence-based practice for women’s care, family planning, pregnancy care, and birthing throughout South Florida. Our practice is designed to meet the individual needs of each woman and family we care for. We believe women should be informed and educated about their healthcare options and empowered to make their own choices.

A Complete Guide About Shoulder Dystocia

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What is Shoulder Dystocia?

Shoulder Dystocia is a birth complication that happens during vaginal delivery. When this occurs, one or both of the baby’s shoulders get stuck inside the mother’s pelvis during labor. This causes a stall in the delivery process, which can be life threatening. In most cases, babies born with this complication are delivered safely. However, it can cause problems for both the baby and mother. 

Shoulder dystocia happens in 0.2 to 3 percent of pregnancies, and sadly, is unpredictable and unpreventable. When complications happen during labor, doctors turn to urgent cesarean delivery or surgery to avoid further issues. Although this may work in most cases, urgent cesarean delivery or surgery cannot correct this condition. 

Continue reading below for answers to all questions regarding this topic. 

Frequently Asked Questions:

What Does Shoulder Dystocia Look Like?

When Shoulder Dystocia occurs, the fetal head is delivered but the shoulders are not seen and are not being delivered with normal maneuvers. In other words, this delay in labor causes the baby to be trapped mid delivery. When this is happening, your midwife or provider tries to move your body and baby into better positions to continue natural delivery. 

The shoulder of the baby normally gets stuck behind the mothers pubic bone or sacrum. During this delay, the baby cannot breathe and the umbilical cord may be squeezed or wrapped around the baby’s neck. It is dire that everyone stays calm but acts quickly and efficiently to prevent further complications. The midwife will ask the mother to cease pushing so she can reposition her and the baby as needed.       

Why Does This Happen?

Shoulder Dystocia can occur during any vaginal birth, and without warning. Some of the most common causes for this are that the baby is too big, the baby is in the wrong position or the mother being in a restricting position. Oftentimes, your midwife or provider will change the mothers position to help free the shoulders from the pelvic area. 

It is nearly impossible to predict the risk factors of whether or not your baby will have this complication, but there are some things that can make it more likely. This includes:

  • Shoulder Dystocia occurred during previous pregnancies
  • Fetal Macrosomia (having a larger baby)
  • Having twins or multiple babies
  • Mother is overweight
  • Mother has diabetes
  • Labor induced 

Although these factors may increase the risk of a baby being born with Shoulder Dystocia, it is not clear why some pregnancies experience this complication while others do not. One statistic states that women with a history of having a delivery with Shoulder Dystocia are 10- 20 percent more likely to have a recurrence. 

What are the Complications?

Although most mothers and babies may not experience any further issues regarding this complication, it can bring about further issues. When delivering a baby with Shoulder Dystocia, a midwife or provider may have to break the baby’s collarbone to help with removal of the shoulders. This is a last resort, but may be necessary. This is only one risk that may come from this condition. 

Further risk for the baby may include:

  • Fractured collarbone (clavicle) or arm
  • Fetal brachial plexus injury
  • Lack of oxygen to the body
  • Brain injury due to lack of oxygen (this is rare)
  • Loss of baby (this is rare)

Further risk for the mother may include:

  • Maternal hemorrhage/ postpartum hemorrhage
  • Repairs for episiotomy or tearing during delivery 
  • Uterine rupture

Can You Prevent or Treat Shoulder Dystocia?

Like we touched on above, Shoulder Dystocia is extremely unpredictable and there is very little prevention. Being mindful of potential risk factors like diabetes and watching your weight during pregnancy are all things to help lower your chance of complications during labor. At Midwife360, we recommend our mothers to give birth lying on their side or on all fours to help natural movement of the delivery process. This will help prevent complications like Shoulder Dystocia. 

It is important to inform the expecting mother about the complications and risks of Shoulder Dystocia.  As well as reassure her that, as a midwife, we are trained thoroughly on how to deal with these complications in the safest and most efficient way for the safety of you and your unborn child.  

If You Have Further Questions

If you have any questions unanswered or need more information contact us at Midwife360. At Midwife360 we provide holistic gynecology and pregnancy services, including home and water birth to women throughout South Florida. Our mission and practice is designed to meet the individual needs of each woman and expecting family we care for. We believe women should be informed and educated about their healthcare options for routine care, family planning and birthing.

A Complete Guide to Miscarriage at Home

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Is Miscarriage Normal?

Pregnancy and miscarriage carry a ton of emotions, and one may feel devastated or uneasy when going through a natural miscarriage. Although this is can be an extremely tough time mentally and physically, it may be comforting to know you’re not alone. 

An estimated 10%-20% of women who know they are pregnant will have a miscarriage. Also, most women (87%) who do experience a miscarriage will have a successful pregnancy and birth following that miscarriage. 

Maybe your pregnancy test was positive after missing your period, or some women have that gut feeling without having missed a period yet. Feeling excited, scared, happy, nervous, or just numb are all in the normal range of emotions when you first discover a pregnancy. Or maybe you’ve been trying for months to get pregnant and now you finally are. 

Just when you feel like you are beginning to get comfortable with your pregnancy, you start to have some spotting, maybe a little red bleeding, and then some light cramping. 

Next Steps

Contacting your health care provider and making them aware of what is going on is important. They may offer to have an ultrasound or blood work done. The bleeding becomes heavier and the cramping gets stronger and you no longer have the pregnancy symptoms you were starting to feel prior. Unfortunately, you are most likely experiencing a miscarriage. 

If your body is already starting to bleed and cramp, this is a sign your body is getting ready to expel the products of conception. Sometimes there’s not an actual fetus present. This means it could be a chemical pregnancy with no fetus, just a gestational sac. 

If there are no complications, you can safely miscarry at home. You may want to have some ibuprofen on hand and a hot water bottle. Soaking in a warm bath can also be very soothing. The worst of it can take about 2 hours with some pretty intense cramping and heavy bleeding. 

When to Seek Help

You would need to seek out medical care if you have pain that you cannot tolerate, or if you begin to hemorrhage. The definition of a hemorrhage is, soaking a maxi pad to where you can wring it out, and doing this for 2 hours. Of course, if the bleeding is much heavier than that or you feel unsafe, don’t wait to get medical help. 

Missed Miscarriage

A ‘missed miscarriage’ is where the fetus stops growing but there’s no signs of bleeding or cramping right away. It’s usually during the first ultrasound that this will be diagnosed. Or if you were following the beta HCG hormone, and it isn’t doubling or rising appropriately in the first 10 weeks, a miscarriage can be diagnosed this way, as well. 

If you do have a missed miscarriage, do not wait before seeing your provider for an intervention. It is dangerous for the pregnancy to sit in your womb for months, as it can cause some dangerous bleeding when the natural miscarriage begins. You will most likely be given several options, depending on the preference of the provider. It is always best to be informed ahead of time, in case your provider does not offer all the common or available options. 

Intervention Options for Missed Miscarriage

  • D&C or Dilation and Curettage

A D&C is a fairly common procedure to eliminate uterine lining and pregnancy contents. This procedure is very safe and complications are rare. Light spotting and cramping is common in the first few days after a D&C. 

  • Medications

Medications like Misoprostol are also an option, which cause your uterus to cramp. This process usually takes about 24 hours to complete. This option is also very safe and complications are rare.  

Miscarriage is Common

Miscarriage is very common, you would have to have 3 in a row before it is considered a medical problem. An option is to see a Maternal Fetal Medicine doctor to have a consult regarding any specific blood tests needed to determine if you have a genetic predisposition to miscarriage. These may include: Anticardiolipin, TSH, Lupus anticoagulant, beta 2 glycoprotein, and maternal karyotype. 

Some providers will recommend taking a baby aspirin every day to reduce the risk of miscarriage. And sometimes they may recommend taking progesterone to help you maintain the pregnancy. These all depend on the results of the blood tests and the actual medical diagnosis that is causing the miscarriages.

Next Cycle and/or Pregnancy After Miscarriage 

You can have your beta HCG levels checked, or simply wait for your next cycle. You should have a period by 4-6 weeks after the miscarriage. If you don’t have your cycle within 4-6 weeks, contact your care provider for further testing or ultrasounds. It is recommended to actively prevent pregnancy for 2 cycles following a miscarriage to lower your risk of having another miscarriage right away.

Holistic Gynecology and Pregnancy Services

If you are looking for holistic gynecology and pregnancy services, including home birth and water birth in South Florida, contact Midwife 360 for all of your questions and needs.

Headaches During Pregnancy

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Headaches are one of the most common discomforts during pregnancy, especially during the first and third trimester. As a pregnant woman, our bodies go through so much physical and mental change. During pregnancy, a woman’s body experiences changes in hormone levels and heightened blood volume. These changes can trigger more frequent headaches. Other triggers can also bring on headaches like stress, dehydration, lack of sleep and not having your normal cup of joe each morning.  

Unfortunately, when most will gravitate towards using over the counter headache medication, pregnant women are normally hesitant. If you are experiencing severe or frequent headaches, always consult with your doctor. There are different types of headaches that you may experience during your pregnancy. Continue reading to learn more about these and how you can treat these headaches in the safest way for you and your baby. 

Different Types of Headaches

More times than not, the headaches women may experience during pregnancy are primary headaches, meaning that the pain doesn’t come from another underlying issue. Experiencing these during pregnancy are common and should not bring alarm. Letting your doctor know you are frequently experiencing headache pain is important to find out what can best help relieve your discomfort. 

 The three most common types of headaches experienced during pregnancy are:

  • Tension headaches
  • Migraines
  • Sinus headaches

Tension headaches are the most common type of headache you will experience. This can be brought on by stress, hunger or if you are carrying tension in your neck and shoulders. When suffering from a tension headache, you may experience mild or moderate dull pain behind the eyes on both sides of the head. Oftentimes, tension headaches will go away within an hour or two. 

Migraines are a more intense sensation of pain that throbs, and can be felt on one side of the head and neck. These types of headaches tend to last for hours and sometimes days. Migraines can also bring on other symptoms like blurred vision, light sensitivity, numbness and nausea. 

Lastly, some women can experience sinus headaches during pregnancy. With a sinus headache, women will experience intense pressure around the eyes, cheeks and forehead area. These types of headaches can also trigger a stuffy nose and occur when someone has a sinus infection. Like migraines, these headaches get worse with more movement and light exposure. 

Is Tylenol Safe?

When most people experience headaches or muscle pain, oftentimes, without second thought, they grab a bottle of Tylenol to relieve this pain. Tylenol contains the drug acetaminophen or paracetamol. Most doctors recommend the use of Tylenol rather than other over the counter medications like Ibuprofen and Aspirin. If your doctor recommends the use of Tylenol during your pregnancy to relieve headache pain, it is important to only take the dose recommended. 

Due to the fact that you are now fueling two bodies, many pregnant women choose to take the holistic route. They make healthy changes in their diet and exercise habits to ensure the health of their baby throughout their pregnancy. Oftentimes, women choose to opt out from putting things like Tylenol into their bodies to stay as natural as possible, but what are alternative options to dealing with the pain?

What Are Safe/Holistic Remedies? 

Many people choose to avoid medication if they can, especially women who are pregnant. What happens when a pesky headache comes on and the pain is not bearable? Here are some home remedies that can help relieve headache pain without all the pills. 

  • Lying in a dark room with eyes closed and minimal light
  • Cold compress over eyes and neck
  • Heating pad/ steam to relieve any pain
  • Drinking plenty of water and eating enough protein
  • Getting an ample amount of sleep 
  • Taking a warm bath with Epsom salt
  • Essential oils
  • Drinking tea (without caffeine) 
  • Meditation
  • Pregnancy massages 

These home remedies are known to help relieve headaches whether you are pregnant or not. If your pain becomes more severe or too frequent, consult with your doctor or OBGYN and discuss what the best and healthiest options are. If you are looking for holistic gynecology and pregnancy services, including home birth and water birth in South Florida, visit Midwife 360 for all of your questions and needs.

Thermography vs Mammogram for Routine Breast Exams

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After the invention of x-rays and thermography in the late 1800s, doctors began using this new image technology to identify cancerous tissue in breasts. However, it wasn’t until the late 1960’s that modern mammograms were developed as a form of breast cancer screening. These advances in the medical world have made it significantly easier to detect cancer in its earlier stages. The question arises though, could there be a way to detect potential cancerous tissue even before it develops? The answer is yes.

Types of Breast Screenings

While mammograms are currently the most common screening method for breast cancer, this doesn’t mean that it is the best or most effective choice. In fact, there are many different types of breast scans that can detect abnormalities. The problem is that many women lack the knowledge about the different options that are available to them when it comes to their healthcare.

Ultrasound Screening

Ultrasounds are a diagnostic imaging technique that creates an image of internal body structures. While most people think of babies when they hear the word ‘ultrasound’, they are used to detect and diagnose a variety of things in the body. They can even see tumors and cysts, making them a commonly used diagnostic for further examining breasts. However, ultrasounds are not able to detect early signs of breast cancer, making them unreliable for routine breast screenings. 

Mammogram Scans

Mammograms have become the industry standard for breast exams. They use radiation to produce an x-ray photo of the breast to detect early signs of cancer. A mammogram is performed by placing the breast on a plastic plate with another plate pressed down the breast. Unfortunately, this procedure can be very uncomfortable, some women even find it painful. These x-ray photos are able to detect potentially cancerous masses before they are able to be felt during a physical exam.

Thermography Screening

Thermography uses an infrared camera to detect heat patterns in your body tissue. Digital infrared thermal imaging (DITI) sees temperature differences in the breasts to look for signs of breast cancer. Studies have shown that thermography can detect abnormalities up to 8-10 years before a mammogram would be able to detect a mass. *Midwife360’s Preferred Method*

MRI 

MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) uses a magnet and radio waves to examine organs and structures within your body. The use of an MRI comes into play once a mass is detected in another form of testing. MRI is not a method of routine diagnostic testing for breast health. This is because they cannot detect microcalcifications, an early indicator of breast cancer.

Why We Prefer Thermography

Thermography is the best option overall for both the health of the patient and for catching potential changes in the body early on without unnecessary exposure to radiation. Thermography examines the physiology of the body, all the way down to the cellular level. It also does not use any radiation as opposed to a mammogram. 

 

Thermography detects the heat patterns in our bodies and is best for non-invasive testing. We believe that everyone male, or female, should receive a thermography scan every 5 years to compare the composure of your physiology and detect potential problematic changes. 

 

When Not To Use Thermography 

If you have a detected problem it’s best to use invasive testing to determine the pathology of the problem. For example if you have a known lump the exposure to radiation is worth detecting with a mammogram or MRI to get a better picture of what exactly is happening inside your body.

 

Thermography in Palm Beach, Florida

If you have questions about thermography in Palm Beach, Florida give us a call us a call and we will direct you to our favorite providers in the area.

Can the COVID-19 Vaccine Affect Your Period?

can_the_covid_19_vaccine_affect_your_period

It seems like in these past few months hundreds of thousands have rushed to receive their COVID-19 vaccines. In the United States alone, over 119 million people have been fully vaccinated with over 267 million who have received their first dose. Today, it is as easy as walking into your local Publix with no appointment to get your vaccination. With a vaccine that is so new, how can we possibly know all of the side effects?

Many women have been hesitant to jump on this bandwagon right away before hearing all the research and side effects. One question that has gone unanswered is if the COVID vaccine can affect your period. This is an important question that we need answered. On average, women have their period for 40 years of their life. These types of questions can not go unanswered. 

Has There Been Research on This Topic?

Some women who have already received their COVID vaccine have noticed changes in their periods. They can’t help but wonder if the vaccine is the cause. We can’t get ahead of ourselves and presume this is the reason, but asking questions is a great place to start. 

Women have also noticed some abnormal bleeding following their dose of the COVID vaccine. Due to the uterus lining being an immune responsive tissue, and putting something like the COVID vaccine in your body with these antibodies, can cause instability and fluctuations in your menstrual cycle. These, however, are not facts because unfortunately there has not been any studies done with concrete evidence on this claim.

Many other factors can cause a woman’s menstrual cycle to become heavier, like stress. This can especially be the case during this global pandemic. The only knowledge we do have from studies done is that 25% of women who had the COVID virus reported changes in their period pattern. This only lasted for one or two cycles and then returned back to normal.   

Will the COVID Vaccine Affect Ovulation?

Despite the potential of the vaccine affecting a woman’s menstrual cycle, how does it affect our ovulation? Unfortunately, again we are left in the dark with no solid research on this question. Although, normally when a woman experiences a change in their bleeding pattern this can reduce their chance of conception during the ovulation period. 

Without answers on whether the COVID vaccine causes fluctuations in period cycles, we can’t know for sure if ovulation is affected. 

Should Pregnant Women Get Vaccinated? 

Although there has not been many studies on the potential effects of the vaccine for pregnant women, there has been studies on how a pregnant woman who contracts the virus may be affected. Studies show that some women who had the COVID virus during pregnancy experienced severe maternal and neonatal complications. Besides the fact that there has not been enough studies on the side effects of the vaccine on pregnant women, many people are in favor of pregnant women getting vaccinated.    

Is it Safe to Get the Vaccine When on Fertility Medication like IVF?

While receiving fertility treatment, first consult with a doctor before making a decision on the COVID vaccine. Due to the research on the affects of pregnant women with the virus, it is encouraged for women undergoing these treatments to get vaccinated.

Again, there has not been enough research to determine if it is 100% safe, but it can help prevent side effects from the virus. 

Where Do We Stand?

There is always a possibility that such a new vaccine can have side effects on a woman’s menstrual cycle. Yet there is not enough research to confirm that getting the COVID vaccine is the cause of period fluctuations. It is recommended for pregnant women to get the vaccine. This being due to the studies done and results of pregnant women who contract the virus. It is ultimately your decision on whether or not to get the vaccine. If you still have unanswered questions consult with your doctor and do your research before making your decision.

5 Lactation-Boosting Recipes for Breastfeeding Moms

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Breastfeeding is a magical experience that forms a lasting bond between mother and child. Unfortunately, many new mamas struggle with lactation when it comes to breastfeeding their little ones. The little one you shared your body with for the last 9 months is now in your arms, and as before, you are the source of their life.

It’s okay if the immense love you’re feeling right now is mixed with a bit of uncertainty. Bringing a child into the world is a pretty big deal, but you also may be concerned about whether you can produce the amount of nourishment they’ll need to thrive and grow.

However, this is a common concern that a lot of mothers have. To help you feel more at ease about nursing, we’ve put together some lactation-friendly recipes, foods, and general advice so that you can take your mind off of your milk supply and live in the moment with your precious little gift.

Lactation Boosting Foods (Galactagogues)

Galactagogue is a fancy name for substances that naturally increase breast milk production. Galactagogues come in various foods and herbs, and anyone can easily use them in lactation-boosting recipes. As a matter of fact, you probably already consume them regularly and don’t know it.

Lactation-friendly foods:

– Pumpkin
– Oats or Oatmeal
– Brown rice
– Chickpeas or garbanzo beans
– Lean proteins
– Electrolight rich beverages (such as coconut water)
– Healthy fats like eggs and avocados
– Herbs like turmeric and fenugreek
– Dark green leafy vegetables
– Moringa leaf

Lactation Boosting-Recipes for Breastfeeding Moms:

Lactation-friendly Pumpkin Chai Latte

Usually, when we think of pumpkins, we think of autumn. But you can enjoy this warm, delightful treat and stimulate milk production any time of the year.
lactation_latte_recipe
Directions:

– Bring ½ cup water to a gentle boil in a small saucepan.
– After removing the water from heat, add the teabag.
– Let the tea bag steep for a few minutes, depending on how strong you like your tea.
– Next, add the pumpkin purée, almond milk, vanilla, pumpkin spice blend, and salt to the saucepan.
– Whisk in the cornstarch. Pour the mixture into a blender and blend until the ingredients are creamy. (1-2 minutes)
– After the mixture is blended, pour it back into the saucepan.
– Warm the mixture on low heat to your liking.
– Finally, top with totally optional whipped cream and star of anise or cinnamon stick.

Stimulating Southwest Vegetarian Bake

Think brown rice is bland? Well, this recipe begs to differ. This savory south of the border dish includes more than one lactation boosting ingredient. Plus, the whole family will love it!
lactation_vegetable_bake_recipe
Directions:

– Bring water to a boil, and then add the rice.
– Cover the pot, reduce the heat and simmer, for 35-40 minutes until tender. – Preheat oven to 350°
– Layer beans, corn, tomatoes, cheddar cheese, and rice in a large bowl.
– Then, mix in the salsa, sour cream (optional), and pepper.
– After mixing food, transfer it to a baking dish coated with cooking spray.
– Add in the onion and olives.
– Bake, uncovered, 30 minutes until everything is heated all the way through and the cheese is melted.
– Let stand 10 minutes before serving and enjoy.

Mediterranean Chickpea Salad

This colorful Mediterranean-style salad could give breastfeeding moms the boost in lactation they need while helping them get back to their pre-pregnancy shape!
chickpea_lactation_boosting_salad_recipe
Directions: Toss ingredients together in a bowl and drizzle with vinegarette dressing.
Enjoy!

Spinach Salad with Salmon and Lactation-Boosting Dressing

In reality, dark leafy greens should be a staple in every breastfeeding mom’s diet. However, this recipe takes greens and mixes them nicely with other nutrient-rich powerhouses like salmon and sweet potatoes. Then couples them with a lactation-friendly dressing.
salmon_spinach_salad_breastfeeding_recipe
Directions:

Combine ingredients in a bowl and toss with dressing. Enjoy!

Moringa Leaf Morning Smoothie

This spicy little plant may be lesser known to the masses, but it lacks nothing in the ‘good for you’ department. Moringa leaf is packed with vitamin C, calcium, potassium, iron, amino acids, protein, and antioxidants. Not to mention, it’s a natural galactagogue! You can find it in powder form at your local health food store.
moringa_lactaction_smoothie_recipe
Directions:

Put the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Enjoy!

The Best Defense is a Good Offense

Diet is undeniably the most important part of sustaining your milk supply. But outside of diet, you can do some other proactive things to make sure your milk supply is strong and steady.

– Nurse or pump frequently
– Reduce stress
– Get plenty of rest (sleep when baby sleep if possible)
– Take hot showers

Benefits of Breastfeeding for Baby

There is no denying that breastfeeding can be emotionally draining, physically exhausting, and mentally taxing. However, it is one of the best things a healthy mother can do for her newborn child. Whenever you’re feeling overwhelmed, remember that you’re doing the best you can for yourself and your baby.
Here are just a few of the benefits of breastfeeding:

– Vital nutrients and antibodies are transferred to the baby during nursing
– Builds strong immunity against common childhood illnesses such as ear infections, asthma, childhood obesity
– Builds immunity against more common illnesses such as colds and the flu
– Lowers the risk of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death) or Crib Death

Benefits of Breastfeeding for You:

– Reduced risk of heart disease, breast cancer, ovarian cancer, and type 2 diabetes
– Breastfeeding helps you lose baby weight
– It’s convenient (no waking up to make bottles at 3 a.m.)
– Breastfeeding is free!

Word of advice

It’s always best to speak with your care provider before starting or stopping any routine. The professionals at MidWife 360 can help devise a plan that is right for you, your body, and your baby. Contact us today for more information.

Midwife360 Turns 7!

Insurance Midwife360 Updates

On April 1st, Midwife360 will be celebrating it’s 7th year of practice. As I sit here savoring my morning cup of herbal tea, enjoying the sunshine and beautiful weather only south Florida springtime can bring, I am remembering the early days – my big ‘why’, the successes and setbacks, the various people who helped (or hurt) along the way and the current state of affairs. 

MIDWIFE360 OVER THE YEARS

I started this practice to offer something different to the women and families of my community. After working in the hospital and OB office for 8 years, I know that many women, especially the millennials, want something different when it comes to the care of their gyn health and pregnancies. And I wanted something different and better for the babies. They don’t have a voice; I am their voice and I am shouting that babies want to come into this world gently, with love and respect.

“We” started out as “I” for years, along with various students that worked with me along the way. Most notably, I was able to help Rosalia Cannava become licensed after 3 long years of apprenticeship. Mandy Rojas (currently owner of Palm Beach Maternity Center) trained with me for a bit. And then in 2018 Lauren Danella, CNM moved to Florida to begin working with me. Last February Lauren left to work with Bliss Birth Center, but came back in November when we were getting so busy. Marlie Honorat started with us in September, and will continue having 2 office days a week. In addition, the people that have helped with keeping all of the details working smoothly have been essential to our success. These include Vanessa Scoz, Sandra Alandete, Kayleigh Taylor and Bruna Possobon. 

CHALLENGE IN BIRTH SERVICES

One of the consistently biggest challenges has been dealing with insurance companies. Like any business that sells services, the key to success is being able to charge appropriately for those services and to get paid for that work. Sometimes when I’m driving around and I see a landscaping truck or construction vehicles with the company logo or even the pool guy, I am envious that those people are providing services and getting paid. The healthcare industry is unique in the world of business in that most providers (if they work with insurance) do not do the work and then get paid. I am constantly shaking my head at the system that we have inherited from the last century. 

HOW INSURANCE WORKS WITH MIDWIFES

In case you didn’t know, here’s how it works. A provider has to go through a lengthy application process to become credentialed with an insurance company. They may have to wait 60-120 days to be approved. And one can be credentialed, but not invited into the network. If they are out of network, some folks with that insurance cannot see them and use their benefits or a request can be filed to have the services covered as if the provider were in network – this is called a GAP exception or single case agreement. This usually only works if the service is something no one else is providing – like home birth with a Certified Nurse Midwife (CNM). And this can be beneficial as the provider is allowed to balance bill the client for the difference between the contracted rate and the actual charges.

That’s another eye-opener. The provider’s charges are not what the insurance company pays. For instance, my charge for self pay full journey for pregnancy care with birth at home is $7000. This covers everything, no hidden fees. The rates that have been offered to me from insurance companies vary from $2300 – $3600 for what is called Global Maternity. AND the provider may not bill for the services until after the birth. So we provide 8-9 months of regular services, but cannot get paid until well after the main event and are lucky to receive half of our normal fees. In addition, some companies require us to apply for authorizations in order to qualify to be paid for certain services – services that are part and parcel of what we do, that they cover, and are part of our contract to be compensated. 

In addition to all of this, the system for filing claims is complicated, CPT (procedure) and ICD10 (diagnosis) codes must be accurate and present, and they only accept electronic claim filing through an electronic data clearinghouse. Therefore, a provider has to turn over a percentage of the already low amount of money they receive to a third party to file the claims and appeal any denials – which happen regularly. I’ve been told that insurance companies deny a percentage of all claims in the hopes that some of them won’t get appealed. It’s all part of the game. These are some of the headaches and drawbacks for the provider when playing the insurance game.

DOWNSIDE FOR PRIVATE INSURANCE PATIENTS

From the client’s point of view it’s just as bad. People get insurance thinking that they will be covered if they get sick or, I don’t know, have a baby. They are paying a monthly premium usually $300-500 per month and are always shocked at the sticker price when we do the breakdown of what their financial responsibility is even with insurance. If they have a deductible, they must pay up to the entire amount before the insurance will cover anything. In addition, if there is co-insurance then once the deductible is met, they will have to pay their percentage of what’s left according to the contracted rate. Then there are things not covered by insurance (birth tub rental, second licensed person at the birth, supplies, home visits) and this fee is added. They are typically paying us an average of $4000 in addition to their monthly premiums. 

Through the years this system has consistently been the limiting factor for Midwife360. I went through 7 different billing scenarios (including doing my own electronic filing for about 14 months until I couldn’t keep up with the appeals process) before settling on the current company that we use. Innovation Billing (thanks guys!) And they are great – really help me feel that they care about our success. However, all of this paper chasing has taken the joy out of the work. The constant need to keep up with figuring out who needs to have an authorization and following up on them. And the length of time that payment can take if there is a denial or any problems with the claim makes it impossible to know what the actual revenue is for any specific period of time. It’s a ‘keep churning out the work, fingers crossed and hope for the best’ situation. 

MIDWIFE360 IS A CONCIERGE PRACTICE

Another consideration – we are a concierge practice. We offer hour long prenatal visits with at least one home visit during the prenatal period. The client has prenatal care with the provider that will attend the birth. We come to the home for the active labor and birth and stay 2-4 hours after, providing immediate postpartum care to the mom and immediate newborn care to the baby. We come to the home twice in the first week of the baby’s life. We draw labs in the office. We can perform some simple ultrasound procedures. Clients who have had standard OB care in our community are familiar with the 5-10 min prenatal visits after waiting an hour in the waiting room, sometimes having to go to the lab for blood draws, getting a provider at the birth they’ve never met, and another stranger to care for the baby. And on top of all that, insurance companies are paying the OB providers more for that level of service than they pay us for the concierge level services we offer.

NO LONGER ACCEPTING INSURANCE

In light of all of the aforementioned issues, Midwife360 is going to discontinue working with insurance companies as of November 1, 2021. We will continue all of our current contracts through October 31, 2021.

We encourage prospective clients to come in for an hour long consultation. We charge $50 for the hour, and apply that to the fees once the client has decided to come in for care with us.

We will do our best to make our services affordable for everyone who decides that they want this level of care for one of the most important days of their lives!