Here is my new video! A huge thank you to all of the wonderful readers who said these kind words.
My 100th Post! It almost feels surreal. What began as an idea to help use my passion for cooking and healthy living with my vocation as a midwife and a desire to work with women has become a share space where all of us can share what we know and what we’ve been through. I love this community we have created and am so appreciative for this platform, and for the power of social media, to reach and connect with so many of you over the past 2 years.
I have been blessed to meet so many extraordinary women, families, partners, grandparents, friends, and people in different communities throughout the world who share the same vision I do.
A Place to Share
I remain committed to my vision: I want to develop a place where people can come together and share their experiences culturally, personally, and professionally. Since there is so much misinformation on the internet, I chose to use my research background to thoroughly explore recipes, suggestions, and practices fully to be sure I provide the best information based firmly in science or evidence that would promote and not harm women or families.
I have felt particularly privileged to receive direct or personal messages from so many of you asking me questions you did not feel comfortable asking your health care provider or to ask through our chat functions. That’s fine! I am so happy to be able to listen and provide whatever insight I could to help guide you in a direction to more answers. I also value the hundreds of baby pictures you share, the family photos, the sonogram pictures, or the birthday pictures. I am honored, and humbled, to have become, in some way, part of your world, your families, and your stories.
Looking Ahead: A Cookbook!
There is so much ahead. First, I am happy to announce that, thanks to all of you and your request to have all the recipes consolidated into a book, I am nearing completion of a manuscript for a cookbook with all the recipes from this website! This book will not only have all my best recipes but also some helpful information for pregnancy to guide women and their families.
These recipes were always meant to be a guide for healthier living and are meant to help pregnant women and their families; the cookbook will be something anyone who wants to cook and eat healthier and still satisfy a family or a group! You have all helped me expand my thinking and goals and helped me see beyond pregnant women to encompass the needs of a global community.
Since so many of you have shared your personal stories and traditions from your culture, I am already now working on the outline for book two to capture all the suggestions, recipes, and customs from your various cultural backgrounds that are specifically for pregnancy, childbirth or caring for families. I so excited to share what I’m learning and what the work on this book is telling me!
Coming Soon to the Site
The www.prenatalpossibilities.com site will continue to grow and thrive, but more exciting features are coming too, including recommended podcasts and videos that show cooking demonstrations, techniques, and interviews with some of my expert colleagues, people of interest, and thought leaders in the world of women’s health or who impact families. I also will include more links to the other great websites, blogs, and commerce of people I believe support women and families in a positive light and promote health, wellness, and the status of women overall.
I cannot thank each of you enough for your continued support and encouragement. I may not get to meet each of your personally, but I hope that as I speak internationally, I will get to meet you and connect face to face to convey my thanks, my support, and my appreciation for all of you.
This entire body of work, however, would not be possible without the small village I surround myself with to bring it to life:
I will never fully be able to thank the creative artistry, aesthetic, insight and guidance of Tracey Molineux who has served as a technical genius, muse, and ambassador. Without her, my work and vision would never come to life. She is a true partner in this journey, and she is appreciated and valued beyond words can convey.
Lettie Conrad has been a lifelong friend and mentor who helped me launch my website, helped me put pen to paper, and has been a source of encouragement and strength to keep teaching, sharing, and growing.
Lastly, my love and heartfelt thanks goes to my biggest supporters: my Mom, Eileen, my partner, David (and my Beagles, Maggie and Milo!), my work colleagues and circle of midwife brothers and sisters, and my Quinn, Guidice, Gilsenan and Lanni families who remain in my corner at any hour, any mood, or any project.
Great things are ahead! With intention, joy, and purpose anything can happen. The possibilities are endless!
Namaste….and Thank You!
Featured photo by Patrick Tomasso
Pregnancy is time of infinite possibilities. There is an incredible sense of excitement, anxiety and anticipation about the future baby (or babies!) who will arrive and what a woman will be like as a Mother. More importantly, pregnancy is a time of inquiry, exploration, and discovery as women begin to learn more about their bodies, abilities, and potential. Pregnancy, then, is a time to learn and develop new habits and skills to promote health and well-being both during pregnancy and for the future.
The internet and the availability of information has been both a blessing and a curse. On one hand, there are reputable sources available on the internet that provide factual information for women who seek answers to questions about health or pregnancy. The reputable sources, however, are few. There is too much inaccurate information available from sources who are neither reputable nor experienced. Further, there is minimal surveillance or monitoring of what is posted or by whom. A majority of the information, then, is either based on personal experience, folklore, myth, or inaccurate information that is repeated through different sources.
As a nurse midwife, I have spent countless hours listening to, and being with, women. I have heard their questions and provided them with answers that helped to make informed decisions about their pregnancies, care, or health choices. My intent is to do the same here: provide the most up to date information about nutrition, health issues, or trends surrounding pregnancy and women’s general well-being. My goal is to empower women with information to make informed choices and provide them tools or resources to develop healthy lifestyle habits that will stay with them far past pregnancy. Ultimately, I strive to create a culture of informed women who share healthy lifestyle choices with their children, families and other women.
This site is not just for pregnant women. I welcome men, teens, non-pregnant women, the families, friends and coworkers of pregnant women or women seeking to become pregnant to review my content and ask questions. It “takes a village” to raise a child but I believe it takes a network of friends and family to support and encourage women to rise to their full potential. One of the most powerful ways to empower women, then, is with information and education.
There are a host of websites, blogs, links, and resources available for pregnant women. What sets me apart from the others is that I come from a clinical and scientific background. I have been a nurse for close to three decades and a Certified Nurse Midwife (CNM) for almost two decades. I have worked in diverse settings and had the privilege to meet, care for, and interact with the most dynamic, interesting, and insightful women. Possessing a PhD in nursing, I am a scientist at heart. I have a voracious appetite for research- both performing it and evaluating it. I get excited by innovations and advances in science, medicine, nursing, and midwifery. Moreover, I have learned how to take the most complex scientific data and explain it in a way that is concise and understandable. Research and scientific advances are only valuable if they make sense to, and are applied within, the population it is intended for.
I made a promise to the women who allowed me into their most intimate moments physically, emotionally and spiritually: to honor those precious interactions by sharing what I learned from each of them with other women or families who would benefit from the lessons that, together, we co-created. I make a similar promise here: To empower women and the significant people in their worlds with the most accurate, current information that will promote health, wellness, informed choices, and safety during the prenatal period and beyond. Join me on this journey. The possibilities are endless!
~Paul Quinn, PhD, CNM Prenatal Possibilities
All views expressed on this site are wholly owned by Paul Quinn. The information on this site do not represent the opinions of any associated entity or organization. Readers are encouraged to consult their physicians and medical professionals in all healthcare matters.
© 2017 Dr. Paul Quinn, Prenatal Possibilities, all rights reserved
To all of the women who have reached out to me through emails or direct messages to ask me questions: Thank you! I love hearing your thoughts and questions. One of the most common questions I get is about high blood pressure and what the differences are between high blood pressure, hypertension, and preeclampsia. So, here is a post on the differences between each of the maternal conditions related to blood pressure that happen during pregnancy.
What is blood pressure?
Blood pressure, essentially, is a measurement of how forcefully the blood is circulating through the arteries. It is impacted by several factors, but most importantly by the heart rate and the elasticity of the arterial walls. When the blood meets resistance, the heart has to work harder to force the blood to circulate. That increased workload of the heart translates into high blood pressure. Blood is supposed to flow freely throughout the body, not be under force or pressure to get to all parts of the body.
Why it matters for pregnancy
In pregnancy we keep a close eye on women’s blood pressures. Most people have no symptoms when their blood pressure is elevated. Dangerously high or sudden spikes in blood pressure may be associated with dizziness or headaches, but elevations in blood pressure are typically unnoticed.
The reason why we get so concerned about blood pressure during pregnancy is because we are always worried about the placenta. Since the placenta is how the baby gets nourished and sustained, we in obstetrics want to keep the placenta working properly. The placenta is vascular and susceptible to blood pressure changes. High blood pressure in the mother means the placenta is under pressure too and that could lead it to not function properly as a filter and source of nutrition and oxygenation for the baby.
Types of blood pressure issues
There are different kinds of high blood pressure issues for pregnant women. Among these include:
Women with gestational hypertension have high blood pressure that develops after 20 weeks of pregnancy. Treatment for gestational hypertension differs and can range from close monitoring to medication. Typically there is no organ damage and the condition usually goes away once the baby is delivered. However, some women with gestational hypertension may progress to have persistent high blood pressure or hypertension after delivery or worsen to develop preeclampsia.
Chronic hypertension is high blood pressure that was present before pregnancy or that occurs before 20 weeks of pregnancy. Some women are aware they have hypertension because it was diagnosed by their health care practitioner, but sometimes it is not diagnosed until pregnancy. Since there are generally no symptoms with high blood pressure, it is often hard to determine when it actually began (i.e. with pregnancy or before).
Chronic hypertension with superimposed preeclampsia.
This condition occurs in women with chronic hypertension before pregnancy who develop worsening high blood pressure during pregnancy. What makes this significant is that women begin to have protein in the urine or other blood pressure related complications during pregnancy. Protein in the urine is an indicator that the high blood pressure is causing the kidneys to not work properly.
Preeclampsia occurs when hypertension develops after 20 weeks of pregnancy, and is associated with signs of damage to other organ systems, including the kidneys, liver, blood or brain. Untreated preeclampsia can lead to serious — even fatal — complications for mother and baby, including development of seizures. Fortunately there are various medications available to treat preeclampsia. However, since this condition is serious, most women are monitored closely and are often admitted to the hospital for the duration of the treatment.
Just a summary
This is just a snapshot of the various blood pressure-related conditions during pregnancy. It is not exhaustive or all-inclusive. The message I want to emphasize is that blood pressure is an important parameter to monitor during pregnancy. Most women never realize they have elevations in blood pressure, so we act swiftly to create a monitoring plan and schedule additional testing as needed.