Newport, RI – May 23, 2021 – The Flourish Collective is pleased to announce that its founder Melissa Bowley co-presented at the American College of Nurse-Midwives (ACNM) 66th Annual Meeting & Exhibition, which was held online this year. Melissa and Elisabeth D. Howard, Director of Nurse Midwifery at Women & Infants Hospital in Providence, RI, delivered the “Flourishing Families Project: Socializing the Maternal Health and Educational Experience” session.
Their presentation centered around how COVID-19 has highlighted the need to revamp childbirth education for new and expecting families to address disparities in maternal health outcomes. Melissa and Elisabeth presented a new educational model: The Flourishing Families Virtual Education Partnership.
The Challenges of Traditional Childbirth Education Classes
Hospital-based childbirth classes were created in the 1960s for a different generation of parents. Though the needs of parents have changed significantly since then, childbirth education has not shifted.
In addition, hospital-based education focuses on childbirth and the prenatal period; though recent research shows that continuing education after childbirth well into the fourth trimester improves maternal and child outcomes in the postpartum period.
The COVID-19 pandemic halted in-person childbirth education classes at hospitals. Recognizing that families needed support, especially during a pandemic, the Flourish Collective partnered with Women & Infants Hospital in Providence, RI, to create The Flourishing Families Virtual Education Series. “We heard from many pregnant and postpartum women that they felt isolated, had lots of concerns and questions, and they wanted to hear from experts and mothers who had similar experiences to them. We talked about topics that were selected based on requests including breastfeeding, infant sleep, building your birth and postpartum support team, fitness, nutrition and more,” said Melissa Bowley, the Founder of Flourish Collective Inc.
The collaboration brought together OBGYNs, pelvic floor physical therapists, birth doulas, lactation counselors and other childbirth and postpartum specialists to deliver free virtual education to new and expecting parents. The professionals gave talks and answered new and expecting parents’ questions through online educational sessions.
“Placing education within the community it serves and decentralizing authoritative knowledge to include doulas, birth workers, friends, families and providers builds capacity and strengthens individuals and communities. It provides opportunities for connection, mentorship and participatory action,” Elisabeth said. “We believe this leads to higher self-efficacy within marginalized populations and ultimately results in better health outcomes such as initiation of breastfeeding, lower rate of preterm birth, and lower C-section rate,” she added.
The Flourishing Families Virtual Education series reached over 1200 families across the country and was offered every month taught by a panel of experts with a variety of backgrounds and experiences. The series will continue to be offered throughout 2021.
About the Flourish Collective
The Flourish Collective was started with a vision to fill the gap in maternal healthcare and make wellness accessible to all moms. The Flourish Collective launched its first product, The Flourish Fund Baby Registry, in 2020, a first-of-its-kind platform where expecting parents can register for pregnancy, birth, and postpartum support in addition to essential products for mom and baby. Learn more at www.theflourishfund.com.
CONTACT: Aliza Friedlander