Bloom 2021 Live Panel: What the Experts Had to Say


Birmingham Mom Collective proudly presented its fourth annual Bloom event with presenting sponsor, Ascension St. Vincent’s Hospital and co-title sponsor, Shipt. Bloom is for new and expecting moms, and this year due to COVID restrictions, went virtual. A panel of experts from St. Vincent’s answered all your questions–everything from pregnancy and postpartum to kids and COVID vaccines. 


Read on for a recap of Bloom 2021 Facebook Live Panel, and if you want to watch (or rewatch!) the Bloom Facebook Live, you can view it above and here!

Bloom 2021 Panel of Experts

Five experts from St. Vincent’s rounded out the Bloom 2021 panel including:

Jody Robinson, R.N. and team leader for Monogram Maternity
Jody Robinson, R.N. and Team Leader for Monogram Maternity

1. Jody Robinson, R.N. and Team Leader for Monogram Maternity

St. Vincent’s Monogram Maternity program was the brainchild of a St. Vincent’s labor and delivery nurse as a way to establish relationships with patients before the delivery. It offers resources from even before conception (the “Beautiful Beginnings” class) to well after delivery and breastfeeding. Monogram Maternity makes it possible for patients to design their birth plan, schedule classes, get information, and even shop for all their needs at the in-house boutique. Everything is personalized to individual needs and wants.

Did you know that Monogram Maternity is for all moms–not just those who deliver at St. Vincent’s? It’s true! Check it out online here and even take a virtual tour! Ms. Robinson loves what she does and will make you feel right at home!

2. Dr. Katherine Thompson, Nurse Anesthetist (and former Labor and Delivery Nurse)

Dr. Katherine Thompson, nurse anesthetist (and former labor and delivery nurse)
Dr. Katherine Thompson, Nurse Anesthetist (and former labor and delivery nurse)

Dr. Thompson talked mostly about pain management during delivery and eased fears many moms have about the big delivery day. She said many women don’t know their pain tolerance for delivery going in, but that she works with each patient individually to help them find their particular comfort level. Each delivery is different due to the baby’s size and positioning as he or she comes down into the pelvis.

There are many pain management options St. Vincent’s offers laboring mothers including IV pain medications, nurses trained to assist laboring positions, and of course, epidurals. Many moms worry about getting to the hospital too late to be eligible for an epidural, but Dr. Thompson assured us that it’s never too late for an epidural unless the baby is already out!

Dr. Thompson set many minds at ease as she described the entire epidural process (the patient getting into a “C” position with the aid of her labor and delivery nurse while Dr. Thomspon administers the numbing medication, the needle, and the catheter once the needle comes out). The entire process only lasts about five to ten minutes, then the patient is well on her way to a more pleasant delivery experience.

For those wondering, an anesthesiologist is onsite 24 hours a day at St. Vincent’s. If you go into labor on nights or weekends, be assured you will always have access to that epidural!

3. Dr. John Edwards, Obstetrician/Gynecologist

Dr. John Edwards, obstetrician/gynecologist
Dr. John Edwards, Obstetrician/Gynecologist

Dr. Edwards has been at St. Vincent’s his entire medical career, starting in 1992 right after his residency. He has literally seen it all and is an expert in all things mother and baby.

Currently, many of his patients are asking about the safety of the COVID vaccine for pregnant and nursing moms. Dr. Edwards assured us that the vaccine is safe for those pregnant, breastfeeding, and those hoping to get pregnant. He explained that the COVID-19 virus acts differently in pregnant women, so weighing the risks, it’s better to take the vaccine as opposed to getting infected with the virus. Dr. Edwards recommends pregnant women get the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine during the second trimester or beyond.

Regarding the COVID vaccine, Dr. Edwards also gets asked about mammograms and the possible temporary lymphatic swelling after the vaccine. While Dr. Edwards hasn’t seen any issues first-hand, he urges his patients to use common sense. If they feel any swelling directly after their vaccine and happen to have a mammogram schedule shortly thereafter, he suggests delaying the mammogram by one or two months.

4. Jenny Mizzell, RN, Lactation Consultant, and Birth Doula

Jenny Mizzell, RN, Lactation Consultant, and Birth Doula
Jenny Mizzell, RN, Lactation Consultant, and Birth Doula

Ms. Mizzell is a mother herself and offers great advice for her favorite postpartum and nursing products including:

    • nipple cream butter such as Earth Mama brand or simply coconut oil
    • a good nursing pillow (her favorite is the Brest Friend brand) to help with positioning
    • reusable hot and cold packs with washable covers–these can be used everywhere from your breasts for initial engorgement to incisions from delivery
    • Haakaa milk catchers which apply a light suction to catch any letdown milk from the breast not being nursed and also help clear clogged milk ducts
    • a good diaper and feeding app to help you stay organized and on track during those early days
    • a good postpartum support group already lined up

She also shares advice for getting off to a good breastfeeding start: using the Monogram Maternity resources (such as taking prenatal classes), checking out Kelly Mom, as well as offering frequent feedings once your baby arrives. Once you’re ready to wean, Ms. Mizzell recommends the use of cold cabbage leaves to help with engorgement and wearing a good supportive bra (without underwire). She assures lactating women hoping to wean that the leaking does eventually stop, usually after a couple of weeks.

5. Dr. Max Hale, Pediatrician

Dr. Max Hale, Pediatrician
Dr. Max Hale, Pediatrician

Like Dr. Thompson, Dr. Hale is also fielding lots of COVID questions these days. As the FDA has just approved the Pfizer vaccine for 12 to 15 year olds, many are asking when even younger kids will be eligible. He estimates in the next 90-120 days, trials will start through his office (and at Children’s of Alabama, among other places) for ages six months and up. If interested in enrolling, call his office at Birmingham Pediatrics Associates for more information.

While on the subject of COVID and kids, Dr. Hale recommends the continued use of masks for kids, especially in the classroom setting. He says the virus is spread so much more easily in enclosed spaces, so if you can keep a mask on your kids, it’s still a good idea at this point. For indoor and enclosed gatherings, Dr. Hale says masking is the considerate and right thing to do as we await the vaccine approval for children.

Dr. Hale also gets asked how to best protect newborns from COVID. He says there’s no new CDC recommendations on that–the same recommendations for newborn health still apply: limit the number of visitors and make sure those visitors are well and wash hands before holding the baby. But he would also add asking visitors to wear a mask or to visit outside. Ideally, eligible family members and visitors will get vaccinated. If it’s uncomfortable to ask extended family to do that, he says you can always blame that advice on him (and other doctors)! As for protecting newborns from school-age siblings, he says just try to have the older siblings stay out of the newborn’s face, but just do what you can. Sometimes that’s easier said than done!

Birmingham Mom Collective appreciates all our panel experts who took the time to answer our readers’ questions! Stay tuned for Bloom 2022 when hopefully we’ll be back in person as in year’s past!