At Yinova, we have always been dedicated to providing integrative care and to giving our patients the tools they need to take their health in their hands. Now, more than ever, it is important to uphold that statement.
While we are a general practice, our main area of expertise and focus is in fertility as well as reproductive health—an area of medicine where the percentage of black women who are unheard, mistreated, and taken advantage of in our medical system is distressingly high.
The amount of stories that expose maternal mistreatment of the black community, within the American medical system is staggering. Shalon Irving, for example, lost her life due to a series of missteps from the medical community and a lack of voices to advocate with and for her after she gave birth. (You can read more about the ways the medical system failed Shalon Irving in this article from ProPublica.) Furthermore, according to CDC data from 2011-2016, across the nation, black women are three to four times more likely to die in the postpartum period than white women. In New York State specifically, black women are 12x more likely to die during pregnancy than white women.
We are not blind to the injustices that exist within the medical community—both in conventional medicine and holistic medicine. As a center, we are committed to supporting our community with tools that can make a difference. We have compiled a list of resources that our patients can use to advocate for themselves and their newborn babies.
Find a trustworthy doula
If you are trying to conceive or are already pregnant, having someone in your corner throughout can help you feel more at ease with all of the changes to your body. Doulas are valuable resources as they are able to provide childbirth education, as well as lactation and postpartum support. Not only can they be an ally, but doulas are trained in evidence-based practices that have been proven to actively help decrease black infant and maternal morbidity. They can give you the tools you need to feel empowered & confident in your abilities to advocate for yourself throughout your pregnancy and into postpartum.
Here are some resources for doulas:
Directory for community-based doulas: Along with providing an extensive list of doulas, this page also defines what a community-based doula does & the type of service that you will get.
Ancient Song: A community-based organization out of Brooklyn that provides quality & accessible care regardless of your socio or economic standing. They are committed to advocacy, education, and reproductive justice. They offer virtual doula services & doula services to incarcerated pregnant women who are currently at Rikers Island Rose M. Singer’s Women’s Jail, a program led by Olivia Ahn and Somaliah Williams.
Our Brilliant Bodies: Two doulas who work to intentionally drive out racism, & sexism out of the fertility and pregnancy world. They aim to give you the tools to understand and advocate for your body.
Mama Glow: They offer doula support at every stage of childbearing, from preconception to postpartum.
Find a Midwife or OBGYN that matches your vision of healthcare
When it comes time to decide whether or not a midwife or an OBGYN is the best option for you, it is important to ask yourself what level of care you’re looking for during your pregnancy. Both midwives & OBGYNs are fully qualified to guide you through a pregnancy- but they will do it with different approaches.
Below are references for OBGYN’s & Midwives throughout New York:
NY HomeBirth: A directory that helps you find midwives throughout New York
Irth: This is a “Yelp-like” review & rating app for hospitals & physicians made by and for Black women & birthing people of color.
Sista Midwives Productions: A directory that lists various black birth workers & midwives who are able to perform either at home or in hospital births.
Calla Women’s Health: An OB/GYN practice located on the Upper East Side that educates, empowers, and inspires women through their services.
Dr. Janice Aubey: An OBGYN associated with Columbia University who offers patients in-patient obstetrics care and surgical gynecology if needed.
Holistic OB/GYN & Midwifery: A New Jersey-based practice that combines obstetrics and midwifery in one place. They are aligned with Hackensack University Medical Center.
Brooklyn Birthing Center: Staffed by the Brooklyn Midwifery Group, this group of midwives is committed to supporting & empowering their clients.
Village Maternity: A midwife practice that works hand in hand with Metropolitan Hospital.
Sakina Health: Takiya Sakina Ballar is a licensed certified nurse-midwife and an international board-certified lactation consultant.
Support your reproductive health with alternative therapies
Both acupuncture, herbal medicine, and massage can be used to support you throughout your reproductive health journey. Whether you’re looking to enhance your fertility, improve sexual health, balance hormones, or regulate the menstrual cycle, alternative medicine can be an incredibly powerful tool.
Acupuncture and Herbs: By using acupuncture & tailored herbal formulas, a Chinese medicine practitioner is able to help prompt your body’s intelligence to restore balance.
Reproductive Health Massage: At Yinova, we offer a very specialized form of bodywork for reproductive health which was developed by Yinova founder and Making Babies author Jill Blakeway, the head of Yinova’s bodywork department, licensed massage therapist and acupuncturist Dr. Daryl Thuroff, as well as massage therapist & reproductive justice worker Somaliah Williams. By using a combination of massage techniques and acupressure, we’re able to help support the uterus back into place, which also helps to flush toxins and to restore the nutrients that help tone the tissue and balance the hormones. This supports a perfect foundation for regular and less painful cycles and improved fertility, as well as pregnancy, labor, and delivery.
We’re here and happy to support you.
Here are some additional resources, as well:
WovenBodies– An inclusive digital practice designed to support queer folks and allies through the parenting process. They also offer doula support, pregnancy & childbirth education, and acupuncture in Brooklyn and Upstate, NY, in Kingston.
Dr. Naika: A naturopathic doctor based in Brooklyn. Naturopaths can help you to heal your gut, conduct hormonal assessments, and help you get your hormones into balance.
Plan for a birth experience that fits your needs and wants
Ask the questions that are important to you, never default and trust that because they’re doctors, they have the best intentions for you specifically. Below are some of our favorite birth education companies that can help you feel more prepared & empowered in your journey.
Here are some places that offer support:
Stork & Cradle: Parenting classes & lactation consultations that aim to keep you and your baby safe throughout your pregnancy and postpartum journey.
CityBirths: They offer childbirth classes, doula support, newborn care & breastfeeding support, and infant CPR classes.
Plan for postpartum health
Here at Yinova, we believe that postpartum support is just as crucial as pregnancy support. We have always been committed to supporting a new mother through the many stages of postpartum. We offer many resources to help our postpartum patients with tools like acupuncture, things they can implement at home like moxibustion therapy, and mental support when they need it.
Below is a list of some of our favorite postpartum professionals:
The Motherhood Center: Specializes in postpartum depression, and offers a range of services aimed to support mothers.
Postpartum Resource Center of New York: A nonprofit organization that connects new mothers with the resources they need to manage their postpartum.
Boober: A company that matches you with your desired doula, whether it’s a birthing doula or a postpartum doula. They also offer lactation support.
Last but not least, find organizations to lean on for support and/or donate to them to ensure that other women have the tools they need for a healthy pregnancy:
Black Women’s Health Imperative: An organization dedicated to supporting black women and girls physically, financially, & emotionally
Black Mamas Matter Alliance: An organization that strives to create change within the healthcare system to provide black women with the same inclusive care as white women.
There are many different people, physicians, and organizations that you can depend on when questions come up or if you encounter challenges along the path. Crafting your reproductive health dream team means that when things do pop up, you’ll know just where and who to turn to for a helping hand.