New Support Group Focuses on Pregnancy, Birth

Having a baby can be a spiritual and emotional experience. Though the results are adorable, as shown by baby Henry, some may benefit from the newly-formed Emotional Support for Mother and Families.
It will be held twice per month at SoL Wellness and Gathering Space, 608 W. DuBois Ave., DuBois, and led by the Maternal and Child Center of Penn Highlands DuBois, Penn Highlands Maternal Fetal Medicine, and Heart and Hand Doula Services of DuBois.
(Provided photo)

A new support group is being formed for women who are considering pregnancy, are currently pregnant or have previous birth experiences.

The group will be hosted by the experts who know quite a bit about babies and the birthing experience including the emotions that can go with it.

Emotional Support for Mother and Families will be held twice per month at SoL Wellness and Gathering Space, 608 W. DuBois Ave., DuBois.

The group will be led by the Maternal and Child Center of Penn Highlands DuBois, Penn Highlands Maternal Fetal Medicine and Heart and Hand Doula Services of DuBois.

The meetings are free to attend. They will be held from 6:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. on the first Thursday of the month and from 10 a.m. – 11 a.m. on the third Thursday of the month.

The next meetings will be Thursday, Nov. 7, from 6:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. and Thursday, Nov. 21, from 10 a.m. – 11 a.m.

“The goal of the group is to provide a comfortable, non-judgmental atmosphere for women and their families to discuss their hopes, dreams, worries and concerns surrounding their pregnancies and deliveries with peers,” Dr. Christina Pisani-Conway, maternal-fetal medicine physician, said.

Maternal-fetal medicine is a specialty branch of medicine that manages the health concerns of mothers-to-be and their babies before, during and shortly after pregnancy.

“We created this group to move beyond the brief, one-on-one patient-provider encounter to provide the time, attention and camaraderie women and their families need to express themselves in a supportive atmosphere, surrounded by others with shared experiences,” Pisani-Conway said.

“Although having a baby is a common experience for women, it can be intensely spiritual and emotional, and can have a large impact on women, couples and families.”

“As up to one-third of women giving birth describe their birth experience as traumatic, I felt we could do so much more to help women be comfortable, knowledgeable and empowered before and after their birth experience,” she added.

Stevie Sierzega from Heart and Hand Doula services will also be on-hand for the families. Sierzega is one of the area’s first doulas and is a huge asset to pregnant women and the entire community, according to Pisani-Conway.

A doula is an individual trained to provide information, emotional support and physical comfort to a mother and her family before, during and after childbirth.

“I believe that one of the most anxiety provoking things about pregnancy, delivery and postpartum is sorting through the overwhelming amount of information coming from well-meaning family, friends and the Internet.

“We’d like to help women grow confident in their informed decision-making to maintain a collaborative environment for their pregnancy, delivery and postpartum experience.”

Women, their partners and families are welcome at one or many meetings, whatever their preferences. SoL is a comfortable space with opportunity for those who attend to ask questions, discuss experiences and learn self-care techniques that will serve them long beyond the meeting itself.

The group intends to offer supportive healing strategies before and after birth that meet individual needs.

Meetings are informal, and children of any age are welcome. The expectation is that anything discussed will be kept absolutely private.

Group moderators include doulas, midwives, nurses and physicians that support pregnant and laboring women, several of whom are taking advantage of trauma-informed childbirth training and many other educational opportunities to bring experience, knowledge, fresh perspective and helpful ideas to the group.

“The best outcome we want for a new or experienced mother is to move through her pregnancy, delivery and postpartum experience feeling comfortable, listened to and respected,” Pisani-Conway said.

“We wish for her partner, other children and extended family to feel cared for in an environment of love and support.”

For more information about the meetings, feel free to reach out to PH Maternal Fetal Medicine’s office at 814-375-6501.

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