There are a lot of unknowns for first-time moms—but there’s always strength in numbers.
That’s what expecting mothers enrolled in Fairview’s Shared Wisdom groups have found during their pregnancies. For these new moms, patient experience was just that—a true shared experience lasting nine months and involving myriad experts from across Fairview.
As a prenatal care model at Fairview Clinics – Riverside, Shared Wisdom partners six to 12 pregnant women due in the same calendar month with a certified nurse midwife.The group meets monthly with the midwife and other experts like pediatricians, lactation consultants, doulas and massage therapists. The topic of each session coincides with the progress of the pregnancy.
Heather Jelinek, Fairview Clinics nurse midwife, helped lay the groundwork for the program in 2010, and it’s been popular ever since.
“The name of the group—Shared Wisdom—says a lot about it,” she says.
The program is unique, in part, because the collective nature of the group means more knowledge for everyone.
“I hear from women a lot who say ‘Wow, I never thought to ask that question, but I’m so glad she did,'” Heather says.
With traditional prenatal care, she says it’s difficult to give everyone all the information. But with Shared Wisdom, two-hour blocks allow midwives to cover the details time doesn’t allow for in a regular check-up. During the sessions, each woman, along with a partner or support person of her choosing, has 10 minutes alone with the midwife to hear the baby’s heartbeat and address any personal concerns she may have.
A group discussion is led on a pregnancy-related topic, guest speakers are hosted and snacks are shared.
For Shannon Laveen, enrolled in the “April group” of 2013, Shared Wisdom has meant a sense of community in addition to great prenatal care.
“Being a first-time mom, it was very helpful to have that community and knowing they were going through the same things that you were,” she says.
Because every pregnancy is different, Shannon says she’s relied on what she’s learned in Shared Wisdom during her second pregnancy.
Even now, moms share advice on day care facilities and articles on Facebook about how to get infants to sleep through the night. But most importantly, friendships have been made and kept.
“They’ve taken the program outside of Fairview,” says Heather.
For women with less social support, she says, the group has meant “everyone has someone in their corner.”
For more information about Shared Wisdom, ask a certified nurse midwife or call Shared Wisdom Group Prenatal Care, 612-672-1835.