Birthpedia has created a new free podcast available to birthing families wherever they listen to their podcasts.  The topics are conception, pregnancy, labor/birth, postpartum support and newborn care.  Each episode will feature birthing professionals talking about the current birth landscape and how to pursue your best birth outcome.  This is our first episode where we get a chance to meet Birthpedia Co-founder, Justine Tullier as she shares here birth journey into developing Birthpedia.    Next up is meeting our team, Briana Bloembergen, CNM and Mandy Hallock.  Each are respected birth workers who have recently taken on new roles at Birthpedia.  Watch the episode to learn more about them and how the Birthpedia app can help moms have better birth outcomes.

Listen to the podcast on the platform of your choice!




Justine (00:00):
Hi, I’m Justine co-founder of Birthpedia. I’m so honored that you chose to join us today. On this podcast, we bring you the most qualified information surrounding all things birth from preconception to post-partum and newborn care by bringing the birth professional to you. We do what we do to cut through the noise so that birthing families can feel empowered and knowledgeable as they’re making some of the most important decisions of their lives and the life of their new baby to come. Just a reminder that this podcast is for informational purposes only, and not meant for medical advice. You can read our full disclaimer at birthpedia.Net. So whether you’re driving your next destination, doing all those dishes or relaxing with some tea, welcome to the conversation.

Justine (00:58):
Welcome to the show! It’s Birthpedia’s first ever podcast. So exciting. And this episode is sponsored by you guessed it. Birthpedia Birthpedia is a resource for birthing families to help them prepare for conception, pregnancy, labor, and delivery, postpartum and newborn care. Not only do birth professionals, answer your frequently asked questions, but there’s a plethora of instructional videos from fitness videos to breastfeeding videos. There’s a toolbox with essential tools like a kit, counter affirmations. Meditations, a labor tracker and so much more. Obviously we’re going to be talking about birth PDL on the show, but if you want to learn more or to create an account, go to, You can sign up for a free five day trial and download the app on your phone or to create an account. You can use the code Birthpedia1 that’s Birthpedia with the number one for 15% off for listening to the show today.

Justine (02:06):
So let’s get started today. We’re going to be talking about Birthpedia, what it is, why it exists as well as some of the reasons that birthing families face more challenges today than ever before. When it comes to where they access their information to prepare for their pregnancy, labor and delivery and postpartum. Joining me in a little bit are Briana and Mandy that are on the Birthpedia team. But before I introduce them, I want to tell you a little bit more about my background and why my husband and I decided to start Birthpedia. So my appreciation for birth started really, as a young girl, I was very fortunate not to grow up hearing fear-based birth stories from my mother or my relatives. And a lot of that was thanks to my grandpa who was medical doctor, who also owned his own family practice, where he included obstetric care in his family practice. For many, many years. I love listening to his birth stories.

Dr. Marcial (03:12):
A lady came to my office like seven there, you better go to the hospital because you’re ready to deliver your car. Somebody. And she’s almost crowning and pulled my secretary, get my bag. We pulled it in the car is 15 miles away, the hospital. So half way through the house, she’s my secretary said to me, you better stop wait. There’s something going on in the back there. The baby was crowning. So it’s happens to be, we’re just in front of a bank. This was a noontime. So we pull into the parking lot. I said the way, get some towns and call them. And it’s all these doses, Doc. I messed up your car. She never payed.

Justine (04:27):
He was also present at my birth as well as my older sister’s birthday. And my mom used my grandpa’s hypnosis tapes for childbirth. She listened to his cassette tapes to help prepare for her labor and delivery. And I would hear my mom growing up from time to time reference her labors and how she enjoyed them and how much hypnosis helped her in the process. So by the time I was pregnant with my first son, I had already attended a couple of hospital births by close friends of mine. And I think, you know, what I experienced, I really thought was, was normal. You know, this is how you have a baby and looking back on it now, I realized that some of the things that I witnessed had shaped the view of my birth and the belief that I had in my birth, but actually weren’t ideal.

Justine (05:24):
So now I’m young and I newly pregnant with my first son and I did what a lot of people do. I hired an OB GYN because my friend hired him and I thought, well, her experience was okay, so mine should probably be okay. And during my pregnancy, there were a couple of things that happened in my prenatal visits that didn’t quite sit well with me, but again, I just kind of kept going as this is normal. This is how it is obviously. And as far as my mentality for labor and birth, I think it was, I’ll try to have a natural labor. And if I can’t, then I’ll just get the epidural type thing. Well, at 34 weeks pregnant, I ended up taking a free childbirth education class that was taught by a doula. And she did a wonderful job. It was in this class that she was talking about the difference between a doctor and a midwife and how to be expected to be treated by either one.

Justine (06:31):
And it was then that I realized that I had been mistreated as a patient, but at 34 weeks pregnant, I didn’t have many options, but thankfully the doctor who I chose was in a group and there were also three midwives in that group. So I pretty seamlessly was able to transfer to the midwifery model of care with those three midwives. But because it was so late in the game, I knew I was only going to be able to meet them each maybe once before I went into to deliver after that class, I became even more determined to believe that my body could actually do this. It could give birth naturally, just like my mother did. I remember meeting a mom randomly in the motherhood maternity store and she had just had her baby and she was nursing her baby. And she just, we got in a conversation and in this conversation, she was like, you can do this.

Justine (07:37):
Your body knows how to do this. You were made to do this. You have to trust your body. And it, it really instilled something in me. And it’s still the belief that like, okay, I can, I can give birth to this baby. Like I was made to give birth to this baby. So at 34 weeks pregnant, my mentality really shifted. And I started listening to my grandpa’s hypnosis tapes, the same ones that my mother listened to. And he even did a couple sessions with me and my husband over the phone to help me prepare for my labor and that just over 40 weeks, I gave birth to an eight pound six ounce, baby boy, naturally, and unmedicated in the hospital with one of those midwives. And for the most part, it was a very respectful and empowering birth experience. Almost three years later when I became pregnant with my second son, I knew right away that I wanted a different birth experience.

Justine (08:37):
And pregnancy experience. I read different books filled with positive birth stories. I was more careful with where I got my information. Of course, I listened to my grandpa’s hypnosis tapes right away, straight from the get-go. I went a childbirth prep book called birthing from within, which was really impactful for me. And probably the biggest change I knew right away was that I wanted to have a home birth with a home birth midwives. And I honestly didn’t even know home birth was a thing. When I was pregnant with my first son, I found the most wonderful midwives from a local birthing center and my prenatal care, my birth and postpartum were so night and day different from my first experience, I fell in love with the midwifery model of care. And I also fell in love with this new confidence and belief in myself and the entire process of preparing to bring this little life into the world.

Justine (09:45):
I just, over 40 weeks, I delivered my nine pound 11 ounce baby boy in a birth tub in my bedroom. My experience forever changed me and I have no doubt that it had every impact on the way that I transitioned into mothering. A new addition into the family. When a woman feels empowered and respected and knowledgeable in her pregnancy and birth, she carries that empowerment, respect, and knowledge into her very role. As a mother, when my youngest son was five months old, I decided to get trained as a childbirth educator. And after my training, all I knew and what I told my midwife was that I wanted to be a powerhouse of resources. I wanted to bring people together and bring resources into one spot, as much as I could to help my local community. I started doing birth photography and my husband actually joined me and did cinematography for some of those births.

Justine (10:45):
And one day we were dreaming of how we could work together, doing something that we love. He is super passionate about cinematography and telling stories, and I am super passionate about birth. So I said, I’ll do birth with you. And so we started dreaming of this resource that we could create together that would bring childbirth education in a new way. Something that was extremely important to me was that it was a place where somebody could go to receive information, whether they were having a home birth, a birth center, birth or hospital birth birth is not linear. Sometimes plans change birth venues, change providers change. And I thought it would be wonderful to have a resource for women no matter what changes in their plan. So that’s a little backstory about why we created Birthpedia, a resource at your fingertips where birth professionals answer your questions. Before I get more into the app, I want to introduce you to Briana. Briana is a midwife and Birthpedia’s content manager. So she plays a key role in making sure that the information that you receive is current and qualified.

Briana (12:03):
I just seen, how are you? I’m so happy to be here.

Justine (12:07):
So happy that you’re here with us. So why don’t we start by you telling our listeners a little bit more about your background and how you came to join the Birthpedia team?

Briana (12:18):
Yeah, absolutely. So I started my career as a labor and delivery nurse. And throughout my time in nursing school, I started struggled with trying to find my passion and my niche. And then I got to labor and delivery and it all became super clear to me. Birth is intoxicating and I just loved supporting women through their labor and their birth. I worked in a busy hospital in Chicago suburbs and I saw firsthand what the effects of increasing interventions were for in childbirth and our PR at my hospital, one in three moms would end up with a C-section and I knew there was a better way. So I went back to school and I became a certified nurse midwife, and I supported women through pregnancy and childbirth in and out of the hospital for many years throughout my time, I started my own family and I’m blessed to have three beautiful children.

Briana (13:15):
My births gave me so much perspective on the experiences women have throughout childbirth. My births did not go as planned. My first was a vaginal medicated birth and my second I was pregnant with twins. So I ended up having a C-section with them. But both times I was well supported by a birth team that honored and respected my wishes and my desires for as natural, a birth as possible. And I was well-informed and ready for whatever outcome came. But that’s not always the case for women. And I saw that a lot in my practice. And so after years of supporting hundreds of women, I took time to be at home with my family. And in that time I wanted to find a way to help more women feel empowered and informed and their decisions surrounding their pregnancy and birth. Thanks to Birthpedia. I have a new avenue to reach more women. So Birthpedia’s mission is so much aligned with my desire to educate, support and empower women and as many women as possible during their pregnancy and birth journey. So I just feel so blessed to be a part of Birthpedia.

Justine (14:34):
Well, we are so blessed to have you, we’re so excited to have you part of the team and it’s true is that you’re not also just a midwife and you work on Birthpedia’s team, but you also educate future midwives, right?

Briana (14:48):
Yeah. I have been at university of North Carolina as well as York technical college for undergraduate nursing students so that they can find the same passion that I did in nursing school for supporting women and childbearing families throughout their birth journey. So I really enjoy sparking the same passion that I have in new nurses.

Justine (15:18):
Awesome. Awesome. Well, thanks so much for sharing. Hang tight. I’m going to bring Mandy on so that everyone can meet her. Mandy is a doula and a childbirth educator, and she’s also Birthpedia’s birth worker liaison.

Mandy (15:35):
Oh, hi. Thank you for having me. It’s good to see you too. Yeah.

Justine (15:41):
So please tell us a little bit more about yourself and how you came to join the team.

Mandy (15:46):
Yeah, so my foray into birth work didn’t begin until I was pregnant myself. And with my first, I didn’t really know much and I didn’t put a lot of research or thought into it. And so it wasn’t until halfway through my pregnancy that I realized, you know what, I need something different if this is going to turn out well for me and for my baby. So I switched gears and ended up in a different environment and that meant that I had to do a lot of research and really kind of dig my heels in and get prepared. But it turned out to be such a beautiful experience. And with my second and third pregnancies, I actually chose home birth with midwives because I had felt so supported with that model of care when I switched with my first child and I just loved the friendship that I experienced as a birthing woman from these women that were providing such important care in my community.

Mandy (16:52):
And so from that point, I kind of decided, you know, what, this really matters to me. I want other women to have beautiful, empowering experiences, like I’ve been able to enjoy. And I took my first doula training in 2017, went on to get certified and started my own small business, providing doula support to women in the area. And during that time, I also got certified as a hypnobirthing childbirth educator with hypnobirthing international. Because while I didn’t know that I was going to be interested in childbirth as a young girl, I think I realized at an early age that I was kind of born to teach. And I, you know, I had taught English prior to becoming pregnant. So yeah, childbirth education just felt like a natural a natural decision for me. So I started to incorporate that into the doula support that I was providing and also getting to meet lots of families that already had doulas, or maybe didn’t, weren’t sure that they wanted a doula, but didn’t need that childbirth education.

Mandy (17:58):
So I really enjoyed just providing that for them because childbirth education is so important and it really opens your eyes to, like you said, Justine, what your body is capable of. And I remember that light bulb moment when I took my childbirth education class when I was pregnant with my first and it did, it shifted my whole perspective. It made me realize that I had so many resources within myself to do this and that the fear I was experiencing wasn’t really because I wasn’t designed properly. And so starting, starting to process that with so instrumental for me. And so it really became a gift to be able to offer that to other women. And at the beginning of this year, I kind of expanded my birth business a little bit. My business partner, and I decided to merge our individual businesses into an LLC.

Mandy (18:54):
So we started that back in March and it’s been so beautiful to see just the women that have been supporting us in that and allowing us to serve them. And my business partner is really good on social media and she actually sent me the ad that Birthpedia was looking for,ua liaison to birth professionals. And I really love networking. I love talking with other birth workers and expanding that community of collaboration, collaboration is something that’s really important to me. And I think that if we’re going to see the statistics shifts in our country around maternal health and mortality rates and for infants as well, like collaboration is where it’s at and we have to start bringing all of the different birth workers, obstetricians, midwives, doulas, childbirth educators, and everything in between. We have to start bringing them all together to be having these like empowering conversations for the families that are being seen by them. So, yeah, I, I love the vision of Birthpedia, I think,trying to put easy to understand educational videos into the hands of birthing families is so important. And, but as a resource, it’s even so much more than that. So that’s exciting too, to be a part of something that just has the potential to impact a mom positively at a lot of different levels.

Justine (20:13):
Yeah, absolutely. Thank you so much for sharing. And you know what you said about collaboration among providers, as well as childbirth education. Like it’s, it’s all really bringing it back to mom’s centered care, right. Absolutely centered care and putting the power and the informed decision-making in the patient’s hands again. Yes,

Mandy (20:42):
Yes. 100%. Yeah. I mean, I don’t think I don’t when you’re carrying a new life there’s just such a, there’s just, there’s just so much love and such a desire there to to make good choices and to do what’s best for yourself, but even more importantly for your baby. I think for a lot of moms, I think the baby’s needs actually take priority and precedent and but without informed decision-making, the mom can sometimes be left to kind of pick up the pieces, like when things change and she doesn’t understand why. So I think the more, yeah, the more information we can put back into families hands the better.

Justine (21:27):
Absolutely. All right. Well, I’m going to bring Briana back on talk with both of you. Awesome. So I have a, I have a question for both of you and I’ll start with Briana and, but Mandy, I’d also love to hear from you as well. Your answer to this question, what do you think is the biggest issue or issues preventing the most optimal birth outcomes today?

Briana (21:55):
Yeah, so I think there’s a big fear of childbirth and then just lack of general social support. You know, we don’t live in communities where we have a village anymore and so more and more women are turning to the internet to sort of take the place of that village. And so moms and aunts and cousins and, and other women surrounding and supporting women through pregnancy and childbirth they turned to their providers, but unfortunately healthcare in this country is sort of lacking in time and resources. So routine prenatal appointments, aren’t really very long women. Aren’t given a whole lot of time to discuss their concerns and their fears related to childbirth. Then they go and they seek out information on Google or on social media. And there’s a lot of information overload confusion about what information is good and what information isn’t.

Briana (23:00):
And then with social media, you know, when there are women who have traumatic birth experiences who may have barriers to access mental health care, following their, their traumatic births, they turned to social media and they use that as a sounding board as a way to sort of process what they’ve been through moms that are pregnant, who are looking for information, they go, and they seek that out and all they hear are scary stories about birth. So there’s an actual term that we use for the fear of childbirth it’s called Tocaphobia. And there was actually a research study in Ireland that said that almost 14% of women can potentially be experiencing this, this fear. And it, it has a biological effect on moms. The adrenaline is one of those hormones, that’s part of the fight or flight response. And when that gets activated, it removes you know, it pulls some of that blood supply away from the womb.

Briana (24:12):
It makes labor longer and more painful, which then means that those women experience more adverse outcomes, more unplanned C-sections and have a real sense that their earth is, you know, the outcome was, was traumatic. And so some of the ways that we can counteract that is by educating and informing and supporting women in any way possible. And you know, Birthpedia is a resource for moms that’s in their pocket that gives them good qualified information to answer those questions, to release some of that fear. We also have in the app and area where you can share your birth stories. So we want to see that empowering good, positive birth stories being shared to help with some of that fear.

Justine (25:08):
Yeah, absolutely. It’s so amazing. Isn’t it? How powerful a birth story is, you know, just from another mom who’s given birth and has had an empowering birth, that experience wouldn’t you agree? Like it’s just so powerful to, to hear that. And so many other cultures around the world are so story-based, you know, and they do, they, they do such an amazing job at having a village it’s just built into their culture and in America, especially, unfortunately we just don’t have that village mentality. It’s kind of sink or swim. It’s like this big hustle mentality, and that all has carried into the way that women are, are giving birth the way that most women in this country are giving birth. So Mandy, if you could also share some of your thoughts and add anything to issue or issues that are preventing optimal birth outcomes today.

Mandy (26:11):
Yeah, absolutely. I wanna, I want to go off of some of what Brianna said, cause I think it will dovetail nicely with what immediately comes to my mind when you ask that question. I just love so much that she brought up that topic about fear, because I really do think it’s at the core of a lot of the issues that we experience as American women when it comes to childbirth. Um know for myself like my exposure to childbirth growing up, wasn’t super positive. Umnd it, it kind of scared me. I remember when I found out that I was pregnant, m was, I was excited that we, my husband and I are going to be having a baby. It was something that we had planned for, but I wasn’t excited about the actual birth part. Umnd so all of the decisions that I made on that I made early on about my care and where I was going to give birth were really based on one thing, not having to feel it.

Mandy (27:13):
But making any decision from a place of fear isn’t isn’t wise, right? Because then you miss out on all on learning about all of the other options that are available to you. So thankfully I had some really special people pour into my life and ask me good questions that really got me thinking, and it shifted my whole mindset and kind of transformed, transformed my experience. So I think yes, like releasing fear and education is a huge part of that, which Brianna did a beautiful job of hitting on that whole thing about the hormones affecting labor. Like it’s absolutely true. We see it over and over and over again. And it’s really important to me that women learn that when they take my childbirth education classes. But I think something that goes hand in hand with that fear component is also informed consent, which you and I touched on a little bit during my introduction Justine.

Mandy (28:08):
When we have moms who are afraid already of childbirth, and they’re just looking for someone to take care of them and help them get through it because it feels overwhelming. It feels terrifying. They’re being told everywhere on social media, in film and TV shows like w we see it everywhere, the traumatic side or the scary side, because maybe it’s more entertaining. I don’t know. I don’t know why we have such a fascination with focusing on the negative. But we do, we get it, we get it from a lot of different places. And so when we go somewhere looking for like nurture and guidance and protection but then if that care that we’re receiving, isn’t also intentional about making sure that we understand the things that are being offered to us. I think that’s when we can see birth kind of spiral into situations like Briana mentioned early on with her experience in the Chicago hospital, like women not being explained what or why something is being done to them and unnecessary interventions leading to unplanned Syrians, and then women who made those decisions in the first place, trying to avoid what they were so afraid of still find themselves in a traumatic scary place.

Mandy (29:32):
And when they’re supposed to be enjoying that postpartum phase loving on that sweet, new baby, they’re having to kind of pick up the pieces of like, of their emotional health, their mental health. And yeah, Brianna also mentioned like lack of social support. So we have, we have like a lot of fear. We don’t always have informed consent. Then we end up with birth trauma. One in three women. A study was done like anywhere from 25 to 34% of women experience birth as traumatic. And Briana already mentioned like one in three women experiencing a C-section like we’re talking and we’re talking about low risk healthy women finding themselves in an Orr with major abdominal surgery. And I think when we look at those statistics, you would think if that was like the trend that we were experiencing, that we would have some really awesome postpartum support in place to make sure that women can come back from that, but we don’t have that either. So there’s, there’s just so much that can potentially get stacked on top of a new mom. And I just don’t really think it’s fair for her to have to navigate all of that by herself. Yeah,

Briana (30:44):
It was interesting. There’s actually a, there was a study back in 2013 that women with a moderate or high level of fear had more negative birth experience and were more effected by an unplanned Syrian section or an instrumental vaginal birth. And they’re 12 fold increase risk of reporting a negative birth experience. It all comes down to reversing those negative outcomes,

Mandy (31:10):
Which is, what’s so beautiful about what Birthpedia is doing. Cause I think a lot of times like lack of informed consent and our fear is rooted in not getting our questions answered or having questions that we don’t even know where to go for for the answers. I know when I was afraid of childbirth, it was a lot, there were a lot of questions like, what’s it gonna feel like, am I strong enough? Like, how am I supposed to do this? And, you know, the way that Birthpedia has brought together, all of these birth professionals to answer these questions and an easy to understand and easy to absorb format is amazing. If I had had something like that I probably would have figured out what the right path was for me a lot sooner in my first pregnancy.

Justine (31:54):
Yeah, I agree. Are I, I’m so grateful for our birth contributors. We call them all the birth professionals who have dedicated their time. They believe in the mission of Birthpedia. They donated their time to be interviewed. They’ve answered as many frequently asked questions from conception to post-partum and newborn care that, that we could ask. And what’s beautiful is if somebody searches a question and maybe there isn’t an answer, they can write to the team and we will have it answered for you. It’s just a really great option and network. Like, I don’t know that there, I don’t think there’s anything else out there like it, you know? And one that I know is that all of the people that we’ve interviewed, they are working with pregnant women and birth on a daily basis. They’re not just, you know, not that there’s anything wrong with pharmaceutical reps, but it’s, they’re not just pharmaceutical reps writing an article on a medical website.

Justine (33:03):
You know, they are working with pregnant women, birthing women, postpartum women on a daily basis. And they all want the best, most respectful, most optimal and transformational experience. A woman can have no matter how she ends up delivering that baby. Because I think, I think that’s the thing, like, of course this, the Cesarean rate is outrageous. Like we can all agree on that, but I think what’s more important is that if you are someone who is in the position and you are, you are well-informed, you are educated, you are empowered and you still decide that Assyrian section is best for you. That is awesome. That’s wonderful. And I think that’s what you know, is so important, is that, okay, so this is your situation. How can it be most optimal for you? You know, and that you’re not just plugged into a system and kind of get a run of the mill experience. Birth is

Briana (34:14):
Not one size fits all

Justine (34:17):
Exactly. And it’s meant, you know, in it’s in its nature, it’s meant to be transformational. So whether you have a good experience or a bad experience, it’s transforming you. And so you’re going to be transformed. How do you want to be transformed? And one thing I wanted to, to, I feel like we keep saying the word informed consent, and I realized that not all the listeners, they might not even realize what that is. Briana, would you like to kind of answer and tackle that?

Briana (34:55):
Sure. So informed consent is really when your provider, either your doctor or your midwife sort of lays out all of your options without any bias or coercion. So the, just the facts of what the situation is, what their recommendations would be, and then leaving the decision-making in the hands of you as the patient or mother or, and your partner and in order to do that, you have to have all of the information. And so really where informed consent seems to be lacking these days is that, you know, sometimes the provider has an idea of what they want and they give you a biased viewpoint of how to, how, you know, what the outcome may be. You know, we get a lot of moms they’re sort of coerced or feared into intervention.

Justine (35:54):
Yeah. I think another term as well, that is being used in the birth community is shared decision-making, you know, you and your team share in the decision-making you know, you’re, you, as the, as the patient are coming in, informed your team is there that you have hired and you trust to give you all of those options and it’s all presented together. And you have, I would say most of the time you have time to make a decision.

Mandy (36:33):
Well, and I think, I think the reality too, is that even with, even with interventions, that for the most part have like safe outcomes or are pretty standard in certain birth environments, the reality is that every intervention carries some degree of risk. And so to only be presented with the benefits and not to also know what the potential risk factors are for you, that’s not allowing you to make a fully informed decision where you have complete confidence that what you’re doing is in your best interest and in the interest of your baby. So I think I think any informed decision-making shared, decision-making like if it’s not including a conversation about alternatives or potential risks, you’re, you’re missing a huge piece of the pie.

Justine (37:23):
Sure. And how have you guys how do you feel like social media is helpful or detrimental? You know, I’m, I’m kinda segwaying into something here, but let’s just stop there for a minute. Mandy, like what do you, how do you feel like social media is helpful or detrimental?

Mandy (37:45):
Yeah. So social media is such a unique animal because I think like with most things it can be used for so much good, but it can also be used for so much harm. And especially when you, most of these social media sites like Facebook and Instagram, like they have these algorithms that have the ability to like literally sift content based on your interest on your interests. So just a simple search could potentially lead you down a rabbit hole that could open up a whole world of things to you. And maybe one day it’s a lot of positive things that are really helpful to you for you to know about. But then another day it might be like, someone’s traumatic birth story without any context, or like any framework for you to understand if that’s even a plausible possibility for you, but you still walk away from that, with the anxiety.

Mandy (38:37):
Right. Like it, you know, it, it kind of, it kind of sparks that in you a little bit like, oh man, what if that happened to me? But you don’t really have the full story. So I think yeah, I think social media can be pretty dangerous when it comes to childbirth because of that lack of context. You know, I, I know that there have been a lot of times in my own mothering journey where before I knew about something like Birthpedia, right? Like I would go to Google because something was going on with my newborn and it was the weekend and I couldn’t get ahold of a pediatrician and it’s like typing symptoms and what’s what’s happening, what’s going on. And I would have to sift through multiple mommy blogs and multiple like vague, generic, like medicine websites to try and combine for myself what I thought a reasonable answer was for what I was experiencing.

Mandy (39:35):
So I think, yeah, I think there’s a lot of pressure on the person kind of consuming the different websites and posts to like discern whether something is a reputable resource, whether it’s quality information. And that’s a lot when you’re also trying to like nurse the baby and get some sleep. So I think with a resource like birth PDA, you’re cutting out all that noise because, you know, like if I open this app and I type in a question, I am only going to get an answer that’s from a qualified birth professional. And not that moms out there don’t have great advice. Like as a, as an educator, mom, myself, I love sharing what I’ve learned, but the reality is about like, it’s not always what’s right for someone else. So I think having a qualified birth professional, answering your questions when you really need them is lovely because it simplifies it. And like I said, cuts out all that noise. And I know for me, like I realized social media is creating a lot of anxiety for me. I have to, I have to filter that a little bit. And so for moms who are looking to filter some of that out to create more peace during their pregnancy or postpartum experiences, Birthpedia can be that place where they go for like rest and to get good information that isn’t going to kind of spike those stress hormones. Yeah.

Justine (41:04):
And there’s only one of you, you know, there’s just so many people. And that’s another thing I love about you know, if you, if you ask a question and a birth professional on the app, answers it underneath that video is going to be that birth professionals, a website. If you want to go learn more about that professional, there’s also going to be links. If they’re referencing something, there’s going to be links to other resources that may not be pedia where you can research more about that topic, whatever it may be. So yeah, Brianna, did you want to add anything to the

Briana (41:43):
Social media? I mean, that’s what I’m working really tirelessly for that content portion of it is making sure that when you’re going down a rabbit hole, you’re going down a good rabbit hole somewhere here to learn and grow and feel like you, you have a better handle on your questions. And social media, it is, it’s a double-edged sword, I myself, and taking a break right now because I, there is just more peace in my life without it. But new moms, if there’s also some really wonderful sides and it it’s of building a community connecting with people from far away, we don’t live in our, in our nuclear families as much anymore where everyone’s within the same town. So connecting people and having a place to feel supported is also important. So it’s really about the balance of making sure that when you’re going to get real information to help you feel more safe and secure with your pregnancy that that’s coming from qualified sources and social media, unfortunately, there’s just, no, there’s no telling what rabbit hole you’re going to go down.

Justine (42:59):
Absolutely. And I know I’m, I’m going to kind of segue. So I, I love books. Unot as much as some people love books, but I love reading, you know, birth education books when I was pregnant. Udid you guys read books when you were pregnant? Yeah, I

Mandy (43:18):

Briana (43:19):
Yeah. Absolutely.

Justine (43:21):
Do you find that your clients are still reading, like book books, like not audio books or, you know, like, yeah.

Mandy (43:29):
Yeah. I, I think that it’s still happening for sure. I mean the childbirth ed course that I teach, like it has like a book book that comes with it. I think for the most part, they’re all reading it. They could, I guess they could be lying to me, but I don’t, I don’t think that that’s the case. So I do, I do think, and we have moms all the time, like asking us for resources, wanting to know about books out there for them.

Briana (43:55):
Yeah. That was the way I tricked my husband into learning more about childbirth and what to expect was I just put it near the toilet for him every morning and it worked, he got up and he read and he would be like, guess what I learned? I’m like, yeah, it’s gonna, you know, it’s great. But I love reading books. I’ve always loved reading books. I was actually in midwifery school when I was pregnant. So I was reading like the books, but still there’s so many great resources out there for moms. And I always encourage women to find especially good books. And there’s a, some really wonderful ones out there. Like Mama Natural and Ina May Gaskin, Spiritual Midwifery, all of those have really empowering and good stories in them. That help to sort of, like you said, fill you with positive vibes about childbirth and release some of that fear.

Justine (44:57):
Yeah, absolutely. I think something gets I’m kinda, it’s like a tangent a little bit, but I think something gets ignited. Like when I think about my own story, I didn’t grow up with the fear. Right. But I still wasn’t expecting this optimal experience, you know, like, and it was, it was other people who not professionals. It was other people who spoke something into me and like sparked something in me that was like, you can do this. Yeah. Like, if you want to do it, you can do it like you were made to do it actually. You know? So it’s just so powerful, the way that we talk about birth, the way that we speak to other people who are pregnant, like it is so powerful.

Briana (45:52):
Well, there’s a lot of negative messaging out there. And so to counteract that with those positive birth stories is so important.

Justine (46:01):
Yeah, absolutely. I do believe that people are still reading books and oh, I wanted to mention Briana. You are actually, you’ve been working on a recommended book list and we’ll have that completed and it’ll be in the show notes. So if you are looking for some reputable books please go in the show notes and download that, that free book list guide for you. But we really wanted to focus on video at Birthpedia because we feel like especially with social media, young moms, like they’re just scrolling and they’re looking for short videos that are educational, you know, and even, even still like reels just became like huge. And it’s like in 30 to 60 seconds, people are trying to like put a little course out there about stuff. And so I love that, you know, all of our frequently asked questions, we tried to keep the videos under two minutes for the birth professionals, just to, just to answer the question. And if you, if you want more information, then you can dive deeper, you know, or, or ask a, you know, a different question. Yes.

Mandy (47:15):
I think that’s, what’s so wonderful about what Birthpedia is doing is like, I don’t, I don’t think Birthpedia is trying to replace all of the other qualified resources that are out there. But you are trying to create something speaks to the way in which we are learning in this day and age. Right. if you’re, yeah, like we’re on the go so much, but we still have our questions. And so I think those short form videos are such a quick way and such an easy way to get that information into a mom’s hands. But you’re also on the backend, like building that content and like filling out those transcripts and having those additional resources that are relevant to the video. So that, like you said, moms can do a deeper dive into a topic that is of interest or is important to them for wherever they’re at in their birth journey.

Mandy (48:07):
And I think that, that, I think that that’s such a gift and yeah, like providing a book list, right? Like reading a book requires that you have time to sit still and read it. And that’s important. We should all like work to have that kind of space in our day, but the reality is bad. It doesn’t always happen or it doesn’t happen until the weekend. And so having those videos, it kind of ensures that we still get what we need in the moment until we have time to kind of sit still for a little bit longer.

Justine (48:36):
Sure. And I know that when I, when I had a question, I didn’t always feel like I could call and ask my midwife the question. And I know that that was probably the story I was telling myself, like, I’m sure I could have called her. And I did many times, but there were also times it was like, I don’t feel like I should bother her with this, you know, or with my, with my first pregnancy, when I was with the group I had to call, I got transferred to a nurse. Sometimes I had to leave a voicemail. Or when I got to talk to the nurse and ask my question, I didn’t know her. She didn’t know me. She doesn’t know my background, you know, she doesn’t know my pregnancy. So that’s another thing I love is that at any time of day, people can ask the question, you know, when they can’t fall asleep, that 12 o’clock one o’clock in the morning, you know? And they’re, they, they’re thinking of all these questions, you know, they have a qualified resource that they can be searching. The questions that isn’t Dr. Google, you know, when you don’t know what you’re really finding.

Mandy (49:42):
Yeah. I do. I really love Birthpedia, like takes the time to kind of answer things at an entry level, like so that you don’t yeah, there isn’t that intimidation factor. I definitely remember that being like that first time, mom who didn’t know a lot and asking a question and, you know, it’s, it can be so routine for the care providers. Like they’re just in it day in and day out. And so for them, it may not be a big deal. They see it all the time, but for that mom that it’s happening to for the first time, it it’s the biggest thing in their life at that moment. And so I think the way that the Birthpedia videos answer those questions as if you are a first-time mom is, is wonderful. Absolutely. My

Briana (50:27):
Own birth experience sort of gave me that perspective of just the little details that you do. You start to focus on. They are the only thing on your mind. It is the biggest deal. And I, you know, would try and bring that into my practice. So more moms would feel comfortable asking those questions, but you know, the realities of the healthcare right now is that there’s not a whole lot of time to ask the questions and all the questions that moms have and they forget. And, you know, I tell women to, to keep an, you know, a note memo on their phones so that when questions pop up, they can think about it, but now they can just go to their app and take a look and see if there’s an answer already there.

Justine (51:13):
Yeah, absolutely. Briana, do you feel like an app, like, like Birthpedia, could I could help supplement a provider’s care or Mandy even like educators care?

Briana (51:25):
Absolutely. Because the, you know, the women still have the questions and if they can feel comfortable and confident with the answers that it would be the same answer they get from their, their midwife, it frees up that time to, to discuss other topics during those visits.

Mandy (51:46):
Yeah. I think from my perspective as a doula or a childbirth educator, we have, we have moms ask us questions all the time and we do our best to give them qualified answers. But I think it’s also nice to know that there’s another resource that we can point them to as well. We do that a lot. I think actually I see that as part of like my job description to be able to direct mom to quality resources so that they can get the information that they need. I mean, that’s part of what a doula does, right? Like we provide informational support. And I think it’s, I think it’s kind of foolish for us to think that we would have enough hours in the day to provide all of the information in, and of ourselves that a mom or a birthing family might need. And so, yeah, like you can bet that Birthpedia is going to be on the resource list that goes to our clients because it’s qualified and it’s current and it’s evidence-based so that as, as someone providing nonmedical care, I know that I’m sending them somewhere.

Mandy (52:49):
That’s going to be giving them good information. Cause I think, I think that’s a fear sometimes too is, you know, if you’re, if you’re directing them to a website or to like a Instagram account and something happens to be on there, that isn’t sound advice, but you were the one who directed them there in the first place like that, that can get kind of tricky. So I know that at least like for our business, we do,uwe, we work pretty hard to make sure that the resources we’re sharing are safe and accurate. So having something like birth pedia, it just helps round that portion of the care that we provide, help them that out

Justine (53:24):
And of the way that Birthpedia knows that we’re providing that current and qualified information as not only do we have people like Mandy and Briana on our team who are seeing the information and, you know, Briana is our content manager, making sure that it is the most reputable, but we also have an advisory board and they are also there to again, just make sure that the information is the most current and qualified and isn’t just based on somebody’s bias or opinion. So guys, we are going to wrap this up. Thank you so much for being on our first podcast. It was fun.

Justine (54:12):
Are you sweating? So there is so much more right as we’re talking. I’m like, there is so much more, but that is why there’s going to be more podcasts and we’re going to be interviewing birth professionals. We’re going to be interviewing the people on our advisory board, Mandy and Briana are going to come back. We’re going to be doing different series, so stay tuned, stick around. It’s gonna get exciting. And yeah. So just thank you guys so much. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you so much for taking your time to listen to the episode today. Something I want to do is end each episode with some type of affirmation relating to either the content that we talked about or some stage of conception, pregnancy, labor, and delivery postpartum or newborn care. So, one that I felt was fitting for today is I put all fear aside as I prepare for the birth of my baby. So if this pertains to you, you know what, let’s do this. If you, as long as you’re not driving, go ahead and close your eyes. We’re just going to take a couple moments to take a couple deep breaths and repeat this to ourselves.

Justine (55:48):
I put all fear aside. I prepare for the birth of my baby.

Justine (55:58):
I put all fear aside is that prepare for the birth of my main

Justine (56:08):
And as you breathe in, as you put fear aside, you can begin to think, what will I replace fear with?

Justine (56:23):
Some suggestions might be, I replaced fear with love. I replace fear with trust. I replace fear with confidence, with courage, as we all know that you can’t have courage without feeling fear first. So take that with you today and in the days to come and I’ll talk to you next time.


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Briana Bloembergen, MSN, CNM is a Certified Nurse Midwife from Clover, SC. She has supported women through pregnancy and childbirth since 2008 in the hospital setting as well as in a free-standing birth center. Her philosophy of care is to empower women with knowledge in order for them to take charge in their healthcare decisions for themselves and their families.