Newport, RI – June 1, 2021 – The Flourish Collective is pleased to announce the Flourish Collective executive team co-authored an article published in the April/June 2021 – Volume 35 – Issue 2 of The Journal of Perinatal and Neonatal Nursing (JPNN).
The article, ”Innovations in Maternal Health Education: The Flourishing Families Virtual Education Partnership,“ explored the reasons why hospital-based childbirth classes are outdated and introduced a new educational model during the COVID-19 crisis. Elisabeth D. Howard, Ph.D., CNM, FACNM, Melissa Bowley and Salil Patel, MD, were co-authors.
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. Additionally, only 18% of pregnant women in the United States attend childbirth classes, most of which are offered at hospitals.
”It is well known that today’s parents are different from previous generations. In earlier generations, two-parent households were the norm, and mothers usually worked inside the home caring for their children and managing their households. Today, many mothers work outside the home, and parents are in a range of relationship types, and families are from many different ethnic backgrounds. So it makes sense to update traditional hospital-based childbirth classes,“ said Elisabeth D. Howard, Director of Nurse Midwifery in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Women & Infants Hospital of Rhode Island and The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University.
In addition, hospital-based education focuses on childbirth and the prenatal period; though recent research shows that continuing education after childbirth improves maternal and child outcomes in the postpartum period.
The Origins of the Flourishing Families Virtual Education Partnership
When COVID-19 hit, Liz and Melissa had the opportunity to reinvent the childbirth and parenting educational experience. The pandemic halted in-person 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.
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.
Moreover, the panels ”worked to provide families with real-world, culturally congruent, family-centered education and support interwoven with engagement and, ultimately, action,”
The Impact of the Virtual Education
Each event received between 100 and 200 registrations. Since March of last year, over 1200 families have attended the virtual events from across the country. ”The result was a quadrupling of participation rates for maternal education…compared with their traditional [hospital-based] educational programs,“ the JPNN article pointed out.
The Final Word
The Flourishing Families Virtual Education Series was a success. “We strongly believe that collaborating with the community to provide real-world education and making it accessible to all families will have a profound impact on maternal health outcomes in this country. Families want to see and hear from those who have been in their shoes and allow a forum to get their questions answered.” said founder Melissa Bowley about continuing to offer the free virtual educational series.
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.
1 Howard, Elisabeth D. PhD, CNM, FACNM; Bowley, Melissa BS; Patel, Salil MD Innovations in Maternal Health Education, The Journal of Perinatal & Neonatal Nursing: April/June 2021 – Volume 35 – Issue 2 – p 110-113 doi: 10.1097/JPN.0000000000000566
2 Howard, Elisabeth D. PhD, CNM, FACNM; Bowley, Melissa BS; Patel, Salil MD Innovations in Maternal Health Education, The Journal of Perinatal & Neonatal Nursing: April/June 2021 – Volume 35 – Issue 2 – p 110-113 doi: 10.1097/JPN.0000000000000566
CONTACT: Aliza Friedlander