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, the program offered a true shared experience lasting nine months and involving experts across Fairview.
A unique model
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, such as pediatricians, lactation consultants, doulas and massage therapists. The topic of each session coincides with the progress of the pregnancy.
Heather Jelinek, CNM, a nurse midwife for Fairview Clinics, 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.
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.
For Shannon Laveen, 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 know 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.
Having someone in your corner
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.”