Women's health education at The Woman's Place
Proper medical care is important when having a baby, but just as important is preparing for the changes we will go through both with educational courses and community support from experts and fellow parents.
Registered nurse DIANE SMITH opened The Woman’s Place at 109 Pier Master Pointe to “…bring all things related to women’s health and pregnancy education and services together in one place.”
“We hope to become the place women and families think of to find the education, services, and products they are looking for right here in Wilmington,” she says.
Smith’s experience in these areas is second to none.
“I was always fascinated with the pregnancy, birth, and breastfeeding processes and knew I wanted to work with new families,” says Smith. “My first birth experience made me realize there had to be a better way to do it! So, I took a Lamaze certification course while in nursing school and started teaching in the 1970s. It was a great time to help women know their rights and options and how to negotiate for more options because hospitals at that time limited so many things.”
She worked with a co-op of educators and she says they were instrumental in getting fathers into the delivery rooms and for cesarean births. They were also influential in creating rooming-in, birthing rooms, freestanding birthing centers, and starting lactation programs.
Smith moved from Texas to Wilmington when she retired after working for fifteen years developing and running a women’s health, childbirth education, and inpatient/outpatient International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners program for a large hospital system.
“I enjoyed meeting new friends and being active in my new community but missed teaching and working with expecting and new families,” says Smith. “I looked for a need in Wilmington and decided to create a ‘one-stop shop’ for women’s health, pregnancy, and birth education and services.”
The Woman’s Place is a boutique combining a variety of classes and events, breastfeeding consultations, and pump sales and rentals with retail including maternity and baby/children’s clothing.
The shop also helps support local artisans who make items for the store such as baby quilts and crocheted blankets, purses, and gift items.
While the main focus of The Woman’s Place is pregnancy, breastfeeding. and post-partum/newborn education and consultations, there is much more one can take advantage of for overall women’s health.
“We offer a variety of women’s health classes and consultations such as menopause and incontinence education,” says Smith. “We also offer monthly free educational events on topics from breastfeeding and pumping, pregnancy and post-partum nutrition, healthy pregnancy and birth choices, baby and toddler sleep, being a dad, pelvic floor physical therapy, and more.”
Smith works closely with local pediatricians when providing lactation consultations and weight checks.
While there is a charge for most of the classes, consultations, and services available at The Woman’s Place, there are free healthy pregnancy and birth options classes each month as well as some free monthly events.
“We also provide a free Fantastic Fridays Zero-6 Month Support Group on Fridays where new moms can come to ask questions, get support, and meet other new moms. Moms can also learn to swaddle and wear their babies and weigh their babies on our super-accurate Medela scale to see how feeding is going.”
The Woman’s Place also recently added pediatric sleep training and specializes in helping breastfeeding families get more sleep while protecting their breastfeeding relationship.
“Families have so many important decisions to make,” Smith says. “We hope to make this easier for them by helping them know about all of their options and giving them the knowledge they need to make fully informed, evidence-based decisions.”
To view more of photographer Terah Hoobler’s work, go to terahhoobler.com.
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