ORLANDO, Fla. – One local woman took her midwifery on the road to not only help women with prenatal and postpartum care, she’s also providing much-needed mental health support for new moms.
A bus converted into a mobile maternity clinic, called the Midwife Bus, is a one-stop-shop for expectant mothers to get the prenatal and postpartum care they need.
Owner Brooke Schmoe is a licensed midwife who had a vision, to improve access to prenatal care for those who are uninsured or underinsured. But Schmoe also offers services you won’t find in the brochure: support.
“What has been an even bigger part of it is just the social support. Having people who look fine on the outside and they come in here and open up about things that’s causing them a great amount of stress in their life. Just sitting with them and just letting them talk and just caring and knowing their name, that has been the biggest difference,” said Schmoe.
According to the World Health Organization, one in five women will experience a mental health condition during pregnancy or in the year after birth.
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Schmoe can relate. She’s a mother of four so she offers support by spending extra time with her patients, keeping the conversation going between appointments, listening to their concerns and connecting them to physicians or mental health resources they need.
“I think it’s because her being a mom herself, she knows how important the support is. Not only for the mom and baby’s health, but also for the mom’s mental health and I think that it’s an amazing thing that she does,” said Maxime Karman.
Karman was halfway through her pregnancy before meeting Schmoe, saying other maternity clinics wouldn’t accept her insurance. She didn’t know who to turn to.
“Stress, in general, is such an unhealthy thing for moms that having unnecessary stresses shouldn’t be happening in general. We should support the moms in our communities, and I think that Brooke goes above and beyond doing that,” said Schmoe.
It’s that one-on-one time that Karman said helped get her through pregnancy. She gave birth to a healthy baby girl, named Zoa.
“She was really supportive, texting me and asking how Zora was doing... Anytime I needed her I could call her or text her and she would respond quickly,” said Maxime.
The Midwife Bus has several stops throughout Osceola and Orange Counties with an ultrasound tech, certified nurse midwife and consulting OBs on staff. For patients who are uninsured, the Midwife Bus charges based on income. The rest of the cost is funded through health care grants.
Schmoe hopes to expand, rolling out accessible holistic care to more women who need it.
“With pregnancy and postpartum specifically, that whole person care is vital,” said Schmoe.
“She definitely goes above and beyond, for me she’s a hero. I think she’s saving a lot of people and making things a lot easier for them and you don’t find a lot of that in the world.”
To get in contact with the Midwife Bus to get help, or to donate, head to the Midwife Bus website.
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