Your South Jersey Pregnancy

by Karen Kurtz

The nine months of pregnancy give you lots of time to think about and plan for the healthy birth experience you want and educate yourself on pregnancy, breastfeeding and being a parent.  If you are expecting a baby in Southern New Jersey, there are resources that can help you prepare. Educating yourself and formulating a plan based on research, choices and collaboration with your health care providers can make the a big difference in your birth, breastfeeding and parenting.  Just depending on others to tell you what you need to know can often lead to frustration, disappointment and a less joyful start with your baby then you are envisioning.

While you are Pregnant

Take time during your pregnancy to read as many good books as you can.  Not every book out there has good information, which goes double for web sites.  Remember, what ever you read, it is a generalization and won’t fit every baby, family or situation; in the end listen to your heart.  Ask you Independent Childbirth instructor, your doula, your midwife or your La Leche League leader to recommend their favorite books, you’ll find some of my recommendations at the bottom of this page.   If you don’t know any of those other people then finding them might be the right place to start.

Selecting your Childbirth Care Providers

Midwives take time to educate their patients and really understand their hopes and desires for their pregnancy and birth.  In Southern New Jersey there are Midwives who deliver in hospitals and in homes, some work with doctors, some independently.  Meet with several to find a good match if you haven’t chosen one who meets your needs yet.  Also get to know her medical back up, should they be needed.

If you have a doctor you are happy with and don’t want to switch to a midwife, discuss developing a birth plan with him/her and think about hiring a doula as support for your labor.  A doula stays with you during labor, doctors often only check in with the nurses and show up as you are ready to deliver or if something is amiss.  A doula can help educate you during your pregnancy, help you relax during your labor, make sure others know your wants and needs. A doula can help you understand things that may be happening and discuss adjustments to your plan if needed.  A doula can also help you get started with breastfeeding after the birth.  Some doulas work postpartum only and come to your house after the birth and assist you with taking care of things in your home so you can take care of your baby and help you adjust to breastfeeding and baby care after your pregnancy.

Educate yourself during your Pregnancy

Your delivery hospital may offer it’s own classes in pregnancy, childbirth and breastfeeding.  Before just signing up do some research.  See what other options exist.  In South Jersey you can take independent childbirth classes with different philosophies that may better prepare you for the birth you want.  If you think you want to take the hospital class, talk to some other moms who have taken it and see if they feel it really prepared them for the birth and did the birth go the way they had hoped when they were pregnant.  Hospital classes often focus on the routines of the hospital and less on developing the right plan for you personally.

The same is true of breastfeeding classes.  If you want a more in depth education in breastfeeding you may want to take an Independent class while pregnant.  Whatever class you take make sure it is taught by an IBCLC (International Board Certified Lactation Consultant) not just a nurse.  IBCLC’s  have experience not just teaching breastfeeding but working with all types of breastfeeding situations and can support you if  you have special needs or problems do arise once you baby comes.    Independent classes can also offer you more in depth education on different topics related to breastfeeding.  Again, ask some other moms about their experiences and if they went the way they wanted or if they had a difficult start. For more information about breastfeeding, read our breastfeeding article.

If you are planning a hospital birth find out about their statistics, ie. number of  births, c-section rates, natural childbirth rates, etc.  You can find some of that information through ICAN of New Jersey , a group dedicated to reducing unnecessary c-sections.  You can also find out about your hospital’s breastfeeding rates, which tells you something about the help and support they provide from this State Web Site. Also, think about the things you want in the hospital.  Being able to have “non-separation” as most hospitals refer to it where you well baby never has to go to the nursery is a big plus for breastfeeding and for your piece of mind.  Newborns belong with their mothers and research proves both mother and baby sleep better in the same room.  Babies should be placed skin to skin with mother right after delivery and things like eye drops, baths, and other non-emergency procedures should wait until after the first breastfeeding.  Watch this amazing video by UNICEF.  Other things that are important to you and your family should be discussed, like who can be with you in the delivery room or during the night – whatever is important to you.  If you are told something you want is against hospital policy, ask politely ahead of time if there is a way to get that policy waived, if not look for another place to deliver.

Support for Pregnancy and Beyond

If you don’t know any other new moms, or even if you do, mother’s groups can be a great resource even while you are pregnant.  La Leche League meetings are a great chance to talk to experienced moms about pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding and parenting.   There are groups all over Southern New Jersey.   If you have never seen a baby breastfeeding their meetings offer an opportunity to do so.  They also maintain a lending library of great books if you join their group that you can borrow on all pregnancy and parenting topics.  If you are having more then one baby be sure to check out the Mothers of Multiples groups in Voorhees or Cumberland County, they have special parts of their meetings dedicated to expectant moms. Other moms groups may also welcome moms to be and are often community based so you can meet moms near you and hear about their experiences with hospitals, pediatricians, lactation consultants and other resources.

Last but not least, don’t wait to choose a pediatrician until after the baby comes.  Now is the time to interview several and find a practice you are comfortable with.  Here is an article from to give you some guidance on preparing to interview a pediatrician.    Know that asking questions such as do you support breastfeeding tell you nothing.  Ask instead “if my breastfed baby is not back to birth weight by two weeks what would you recommend”?  If their first answer is switch to formula, they are not supportive of breastfeeding, if their answer includes things like consulting with a Lactation Consultant, doing a full and though check up of the baby and asking the mom questions about any medical conditions and her breastfeeding history this is a doctor who understands breastfeeding or knows that he doesn’t have all the answers but would refer you to a specialist, in this case a Lactation Consultant.

South Jersey Pregnancy Resources


Here are some links to help you with your research and my favorite list of books for parents to be.

Find a Midwife in New Jersey

Check out South Jersey Baby’s pregnancy links for Doula and Childbirth Classes

Better Birth Network
Doulas providing labor and birth support and education in Southern New Jersey and surrounding areas.

Blossom and Birth Classes

Gentle Childbirth Preparation Classes in South Jersey
The Blossom & Birth Gentle Birth Preparation Course is packed with lots of techniques and tools all designed so that you feel prepared and ready for a comfortable birth.


Check out South Jersey Baby’s breastfeeding links for Breastfeeding Classes and Support

Karen Kurtz, IBCLC Professional Lactation Services for Breastfeeding Success. Offering Independent Breastfeeding Classes and pre and post partum consults.

La Leche League of New Jersey Support for Breastfeeding Mothers and those who want to learn more about breastfeeding. Group meetings throughout Southern New Jersey.

Check of South Jersey Baby’s links for Mother Groups

Holistic Moms West Jersey/Philadelphia Chapter

South Jersey MOMS (Mothers of Multiples)

Also visit Mom’s Magazine’s listing of Mother Groups

Some Great Books to Read:

The Thinking Woman's Guide to a Better Birth

By the Sear’s Family:  The Birth Book, The Baby Book, The Breastfeeding Book, 25 Things Every New Mother Should Know and Father's First Steps: 25 Things Every New Dad Should Know

By La Leche League International:
The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding - The Newest addition revised for 2010.

By Mohrbacher and Kendall-Tackett
Breastfeeding Made Simple: Seven Natural Laws for Nursing Mothers

Another Great Book that is out of print but still available used is:
A Good Birth, A Safe Birth by Diana Korte


So do your research, have a happy South Jersey pregnancy, a good birth and enjoy your newborn.

Unique Baby Gifts