Since March is Birth Expert month I figured I’d take a few minutes and focus on another professional. As a Newborn and Maternity Photographer, I really get to meet and interact with a lot of people who work with expectant mamas….from doulas and midwives to postpartum care and lactation consultants. I even work with other photographers and vendors in my industry as well. Not to mention the mamas in all the different stages of life.
Meeting a Birth Expert
I’d like to introduce you to Rachel Johnson. She is a Midwife and Nurse Practitioner.
SRP: Tell me a little bit about where you are employed..
Rachel: I am a Certified Nurse Midwife and Nurse Practitioner at Swedish Issaquah. We see women for care throughout the lifespan including: pregnancy, birth control needs, well women care, menopause, mood, breast feeding, newborn procedures, etc. as well as specializing in low-risk pregnancy, but our “definition” of low risk is different than the community. We can still see many women for high risk conditions, like vaginal birth after cesarean, gestational diabetes, advanced maternal age, etc.
SRP: What do you do? Why did you decide to do this?
RJ: I guide and partner with families through the process of pregnancy and birth and empower them to make decisions that are best for them and their families. I love supporting families through such important transitions in their lives and educating them to make good choices for them. This is my calling.
SRP: Do you offer doula services/midwifery?
RJ: Swedish offers doula services that can be purchased. We contract with specific doulas that understand the dynamic of hospital birth and partner with them to improve outcomes for our pregnancy patients.
SRP: What is the best part about your job?
RJ: All of it. 🙂 Well, probably the education. Let people know they have choices and are stewards of their own health. Educating yourself is so important and I love being able to support that process.
SRP: What is your favorite part about supporting women during pregnancy and (possibly) postpartum?
RJ: Pregnancy is above. I love supporting families with breast feeding. Whether it’s difficulties in feeding at the breast, supply issues, returning to work and pumping (as I type and pump as a working mother myself). Feeding your tiny humans is such an important job and there are so many ways to do this well – I want every person to feel empowered and successful in their own way at this.
SRP: How do you feel we can grow as a society by being this resource for women?
RJ: Where do we start! I think we are doing a great job in general, but there is tons of room for improvement. Parenting, pregnancy and birth should be an empowering process. You body knows exactly what to do, our role as birth professionals is to support your brain to know that. Collaboration is key. Every person in the birth community provides a valuable expertise toward the growing family.
SRP: What would you say are the benefits for a pregnant or postpartum mama seeking you out?
RJ: I may be biased, but midwifery care should be the starting point for pregnancy and birth in the U.S, as it is in most of Europe. Midwifery care has shown improved outcomes in study after study, including vaginal birth rates, breast feeding rates, preterm birth rates and more. Certainly if you have a high risk pregnancy seeking care from a high risk provider is important. As a practice we take great pride in our 9% c-section rate and 22% induction rate. . We have consistently had exclusive breast feeding rates >90%. Our appointments are all a minimum of 30 minutes to allow time for education and decisions to be made that are best for you and your family I offer specific services for breastfeeding, like frenotomies. I see my job as a partnership. It is not my job to make decisions for you, it is my job to explain to you the options, risks and benefits of each of these and let you make a well informed choice.
SRP: Where are you located? What areas do you serve?
RJ: I am located in the Issaquah Highlands at the Swedish Medical Center. I exclusively deliver at Swedish Issaquah.
Thanks so much Rachel for taking the time to answer a few questions. I really love bringing focus to others that are in the birth community. I feel like it so important we come together as women and support each other.
If you are interested in newborn and/or maternity photography, I’d love a chance to chat. You can contact me HERE to get your session date scheduled.