The Blast Jan. 2024 Issue No.12


Hello Better BedRest Family!

Happy New Year! We hope you are staying warm in this cooler weather.  For this issue, I’d like to highlight an organization I find to be really important. This is a great resource for social workers to share with patients and for doctors to learn about!

Count the Kicks is a way to monitor the baby’s movement in the third trimester. They are very specific with how to do it. They have an app as well. Their goal is to make this a common practice by reaching as many providers and expectant parents as possible. Make sure you run this by your doctor and share as they might not be aware of this organization.


What’s Inside:

            -Founder’s Corner

                        Greetings & Count the


              -Community Outreach:

                        More Blankets for Babies!


              -Callers Voice:    

                         Cheryl Rozanski

              -Spotlight on RSV:     

                         Dr. Erica Leventhal




I am glad BBR can help with spreading the word. We also are so appreciative of your continued support!

Happy Reading!

Joanie Reisfeld, Founder BBR


 In our last issue, we highlighted the Forest Knolls Knitting Club. They have been working in conjunction with BBR for over ten years.  They have provided handmade blankets for NICU and general maternity wards at area hospitals as well as creating goodie bags for women’s health care workers during the pandemic. This past year was no exception.

Through the kindness and hard work of the knitting club, BBR was able to donate crocheted, knitted, and hand-tied fleece blankets to the NICU and general maternity ward at St. Agnes Hospital in Baltimore, MD last fall.

We would like to thank Dr. Erica Leventhal for coordinating this project with St. Agnes and everyone that took the time to create a blanket. All of your efforts are very much appreciated!


 Like so many of our callers, our latest grant recipient was facing being evicted from her home and having her utilities shut off. She was put on restrictions by her doctor and unable to continue working. In the blink of an eye, her entire world was turned upside down. With a very limited support system, and trying to care for her two year old, she was extremely stressed and scared. BBR stepped in providing a $500.00 grant towards her rental payment. BBR additionally provided her other organizations that were able to help her financially. BBR made phone calls on her behalf to her Landlord explaining her situation and requested for some leniency in her ability to pay her rent on time.

She successfully delivered her baby and is currently back on her feet.  She is now enjoying her two bundles of joy without the fear of losing her home or having her electricity turned off.


 The Importance of RSV Vaccination and Prevention: 

RSV: Respiratory Syncytial Virus is a common respiratory virus that usually causes mild, cold-like symptoms.  The symptoms can lead to severe lung infections in infants (especially 6 months and younger) and older adults. 

Each year nationally, RSV infection causes hospitalization of an estimated 58,000-80,000 children under age 5. Most of the hospitalizations are in infants under 6 months, and there are 100-300 deaths in this age group.

On August 21, 2023 the FDA approved the first RSV vaccine, Abrysvo, for use in pregnant people to protect infants 6 months or younger. 

Babies born to mothers who receive the vaccine at least 2 weeks before delivery will get passive antibody protection from their mothers.

Maternal RSV vaccination has been shown to reduce the risk of severe lower respiratory tract infections in infants by 70-90%.

The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG) and the CDC recommend a single dose of RSV vaccine (Pfizer Abrysvo only) for pregnant people between 32 and 36 weeks of pregnancy to prevent RSV lower respiratory tract infection in infants.  

The RSV vaccine is given during the months when respiratory diseases are common, the months of September through January, and can be given at the same time as the Flu and COVID vaccines. 

For babies whose mothers were not vaccinated the CDC recommends one dose of RSV specific monoclonal antibodies (nirsevimab) is given to infants younger than age 8 months  to prevent severe infection in their first season. Nirsevimab has been shown to reduce the risk of hospitalizations by 80%. 

Adults at the highest risk of severe RSV infection are those that are older, have chronic medical conditions such as heart or lung disease or a weakened immune system. 

Severe infection can cause inflammation of the lung airways, pneumonia, shortness of breath and low oxygen levels. RSV infection can cause worsening of asthma, COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) or heart failure. Severe illness can result in hospitalization or even death in Adults as well as young children.  

The CDC recommends adults 60 yo or older get vaccination against RSV.  There are 2 vaccines available for adults Arexvy made by GSK and Abrysvo made by Pfizer. Both vaccines are over 80 % effective in preventing severe lower respiratory tract infections the first season they are given. 

**Modified from: ACOG clinical practice advisory on Maternal RSV vaccination 9/2023,  CDC RSV vaccine information statement 10/2023, CDC statement on RSV vaccination in older adults 8/2023.

(Synthesis provided by Dr. Erica Leventhal.)


 Enjoy Winter!






The Blast July 2023 Issue No. 11


Hello Better BedRest Family!

We hope you all are having a great summer. BBR has been continuing to distribute our Maternal Emergency Grants to our Maryland callers. We also have referred many in-state as well as out of state callers to the Colette Louise Foundation who have helped many in challenging times.

To date, this foundation has helped 1888 families in 48 states with 6811 served, totaling over $1,342,800.

BBR continues to do community outreach projects. This year for our Labor

Day project, we are enlisting our friends in the Forest Knolls ES Knitting

Club to make blankets! The blankets will be for the Maternal Health

Department at St. Agnes Hospital.

These knitted, crocheted and tied fleece blankets will be distributed to the

What’s Inside:            -Founder’s Corner                        Grants & Community                        Service               -Community Outreach:                         Blankets for Babies!               -Callers Voice:                              M.K.              -Spotlight on board member:                               Dr. Donna M. Neale

families in the NICU and maternity ward. We are so proud and appreciative of our partnership with the knitting club!

Wishing you all a wonderful summer! Please stay safe out there while having fun!


Joanie Reisfeld, Founder


The Forest Knolls Knitting Club has been working in conjunction with BBR for over ten years.  They have provided handmade blankets for NICU and general maternity wards at area hospitals as well as creating goodie bags for women’s health care workers during the pandemic.

The knitting club has been in existence for over twenty years and continues to engage in many community, national and international endeavors to help those in need. 

The club began when a group of teachers at Forest Knolls Elementary in Silver Spring, MD found that knitting or crocheting was a great way to relax at lunchtime.  It blossomed into a multitude of service projects ranging from making blankets for babies at local hospitals, dog sweaters for Rescue Well in Baltimore, MD,  goodie bags for U.S. armed forces, 100 pairs of mittens for Afghan refugee children in Atlanta, GA, and The Mother Bear Project, just to name a few.  

The pandemic did not deter the knitting club.  Though many have retired and moved away from Maryland, they still meet twice a month on Zoom due to the expertise and kindness of one of their founding members, Ann Moy — and their mission continues. 

BBR is pleased to partner with the knitting club and, of course, to call them our friends.

(BBR’s founder, Joanie Reisfeld, and board member, Barbara Banks, taught at Forest Knolls ES until their retirement.)


Better Bedrest supported me for 6 months of my very difficult pregnancy. They not only emotionally helped me navigate during such a trying time but also financially assisted in paying my rent which helped me and my children from being evicted from our home. I will always be grateful for their support. M.K.


Dr. Donna Neale is the Obstetrical Champion of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion for the University of Maryland Health System. The University of Maryland Health System includes 7 hospitals that provide birthing services to the women of Maryland and account for 10,000 deliveries in this state/year. It is the unequivocal intent of the University of Maryland Health System that every woman/birthing person who receives perinatal care at a UMHS facility receives the same level of quality, evidenced based care, no matter which institution they are visiting. Moreover, this care should be given in the context of equity for each individual patient. 
Dr. Neale’s first assignment is to continue development and growth of the perinatal services at the University of Maryland Capital Region, located in Prince George’s county to improve perinatal outcomes in that county, where rates of maternal morbidity and mortality are some of the highest in the state.

(Prior to her work with UMHS, Dr. Neale worked with Howard County General Hospital and has been a long term BBR board member.)

   Happy Summer!

The Blast – March 2023

The Blast Mar. 2023 Issue No. 10


Hello from Better BedRest!

Spring is in the air as we continue to celebrate our 30th year of supporting moms with high-risk pregnancies!

Please enjoy this issue as we highlight the Collette Louise Foundation that is helping moms and families across the US.

We also want to ask that you reach out to us if you need any BBR business cards to have on hand or to hand out at your workplace. We want to spread the word so we may continue our mission.  Email to get some our business cards.

We have funds available to provide grants to moms that are dealing with a high-risk pregnancy if they prove they’ve had to stop/reduce their working situation due to their pregnancy.



What’s Inside:

            -Founder’s Corner

                        BBR is 30 years old!

              -Caller’s Voice:

                         Shana S. – A Caller’s Story


              -The Colette Louise Tisdahl



              Community Outreach                  

                         Maternity Home References  


Wishing everyone a wonderful spring and make sure you don’t forget to smell the flowers!


Joanie Reisfeld


Better BedRest, Inc


Dear Better Bedrest Family,

I was so blessed to be a part of the Better Bedrest Program. I was the recipient of a grant to help pay my storage fee since I lost my home due to my high risk pregnancy.  They also paid my cell phone bill.  Without their help, I would have lost all my belongings and would have no way to communicate while living in a shelter.  Better BedRest was my support system that helped me through this difficult time. I am extremely grateful for the weekly phone calls and blessed for their support. 

Shana S.



A note from Michelle Valiukenas,
Founder and Executive Director:

 The Colette Louise Tisdahl Foundation was created in memory of our daughter who died at nine days old.  Our mission is to improve outcomes of pregnancy, childbirth, prematurity, and infancy, as well as aid in the grieving process through financial assistance, education, and advocacy.  Financial assistance is available nationwide to families in crisis due to high-risk or complicated pregnancy, NICU stay, or loss.  For more information, to apply, or to donate, please visit


 We have generated a list of maternity homes that we have distributed as a resource for our callers. We hope this might be of help to others:


  1. St. Ann’s Center for Children, Youth and


4901 Eastern Avenue

Hyattsville, Maryland 20782

*Teen Mother/Baby

*Transitional Housing

If you are a local pregnant or parenting young woman facing

homelessness, St. Ann’s Center is just a phone call away. (301) 559-5500

Social Worker is a good point of contact –

Notes: Three levels to this program. They have a teen unit with 24/7 supervision. Hope House also has supervision, 15

rooms with 5 on 3 units. Clients have their own room, can make their own meals for themselves and children. These

clients can be working and/or in school. Faith House has 8 furnished apartments. There is a shared kitchen and lounge.

There are social workers there to help with employment counseling, GED instruction and clients can stay up to 2 years. Once accepted, they have 90 days to get a job. They pay a small amount of rent once they have a job.


  1. Gabriel Network is a Christian ministry of loving service to women and families challenged with a crisis pregnancy. We have been helping women and children in Maryland and Washington, DC for more than twenty years. 


If you need help, call us today at 1-800-ANGEL-OK / 1-800-264-3565


Note: They have several homes for pregnant moms in the tri-county area. Call (202) 483-7008


  1. The Northwest Pregnancy


Call: 202-483-7008

Maternity Home:

Call: 202-483-2857

Notes: For Maternity Home – Point of Contact – Susan Gallucci


Townhouse for ages 18-30, 4 women at a time can live here. Women can stay up to 18 months. Located in DC, but accept women

from surrounding areas. There is a 3 step interview process open to anyone except those with substance abuse issues. One must be in therapy if there are major mental health issues. It is a transitional home and they ask for 30% of a person’s income. 5% is put into a savings account and given back when a woman leaves. Social work services are available. There is a curfew and responsibility for chores.  Male visitors can come on the main level only and must be out by curfew. There is live-in supervision from 8:30pm-6am as well as volunteers and a social worker there during the



  1. Brenda House of Promising Future is a transition house for women and children, non-profit 501 c 3 in

Baltimore City started 2017.

We serve and empower young women in need by providing shelter, financial direction, nutritional needs and

education resources to become fully functional additions to

their family and community.

3905 Rokeby Road | Baltimore, Maryland 21229 (443) 743-0099















































BBR Blast! Celebrating 30th Year!

The Blast Dec. 2022 Issue No. 9



To our Better BedRest Family,

It is with great appreciation that we can say how blessed we are to be celebrating

our 30th year!

BBR got its start under a tree when an idea was born. Through the years thesebranches grew to become a national nonprofit speaking to women all over the US who are experiencing high risk pregnancies. Our Maternal Assistance Fund continues to provide the women of Maryland financial support during this time. Women are still dealing with their cars being repossessed, being evicted and utilities being shut off.

Please help us continue to assist these women by making a donation in honor of

our 30th year.  Click Donate on our website. 

We want to wish you all a wonderful Holiday Season and a Happy and Healthy

new year.  The entire BBR Board of Directors thanks you from the bottom of our hearts.



Joanie Reisfeld, Founder, Better BedRest, Inc




What’s Inside:

            -Founder’s Corner

                        BBR is 30 years old!

              -Caller’s Voice:

                         Martina – A Caller’s Story


              -Community Outreach:

                          Nothing Bundt Cakes!





Dear Better Bedrest Family,

I would like to start my letter off by saying Thank you!  Thank you for being such a blessing to my life, Thank you for your kindness, mentorship and support. Thank you for the weekly phone calls, (those are so therapeutic and reassuring, by the way) and thank you for being considerate, unselfish and caring.

Better Bedrest has been more than just a resource, they have become my family. The help I’ve received will never go unnoticed or forgotten. Thank you for relieving the pressure and strain of the financial burden my family has endured. You guys are truly inspirational. 

With love always,



 We are pleased to announce that we recently sent Bundt Cakes to the Maternity and

Labor Delivery staff at Howard County General Hospital and Ascension St. Agnes Hospital in Baltimore!

At this time, we are waiting for approval at a third hospital. We are so appreciative of

every single person that works in these units to help the moms that are their patients!

Happy Holidays to all!


Better BedRest Blast – Fall 2022

The Blast Sept. 2022 Issue No. 8



Hello! We hope that everyone has had a wonderful summer and is gearing up for fall. It seems like so many people were out and about enjoying the nice weather and travelling!

I’d like to highlight a wonderful organization that is here in Maryland with wonderful goals of providing behavioral health and case management services

for all in need. Please check out Springboard

Community Services. They have a mission of changing the lives of children and adults by providing opportunities to build self-confidence, resilience and hope. For more information, you can visit:

For additional assistance in Maryland go to:



What’s Inside:

         -Founder’s Corner

                        BBR is turning 30 in November!

              -Community Outreach:

                         Goodie Bag Deliveries!


              -Caller’s Voice:

                          A Caller’s Story




In the meantime, take this opportunity to get ready for cooler temps and the beauty of the fall colors!

Better BedRest will be turning 30 in November! We are so excited to celebrate this huge milestone and our continued support of moms with high-risk pregnancies!

Stay healthy and safe everyone!

Joanie Reisfeld, Founder, BBR


 As part of BBR’s continuing community outreach program, we paid a visit to MedStar Montgomery Medical Center to surprise the hard working women’s healthcare workers with goodie bags for “Labor” Day. The handmade, crocheted bags were stuffed with a variety of comfort items to brighten their day. The bags included several sweet treats, tea bags, hand lotion and lip balm. As an added bonus, the handmade bags can also be used as a jewelry pouch or small trinket tote.

Deneen Watson and Claire Meltzer

 I would like to thank Claire Meltzer, Marketing and Communication Specialist for MedStar Montgomery, for helping to coordinate the drop-off.  She distributed the goodie bags to the women’s health care workers and even took this wonderful photo!

Women’s healthcare workers at MedStar Montgomery

 Our next community outreach event is scheduled for November—right before Thanksgiving.


 A client of BBR for the past two months, who wishes to remain anonymous, was our latest grant recipient!  She was working for Amazon at the time and her doctor told her she could no longer work while carrying her baby. She lives alone and was faced with no income to pay her bills. This particular mom had just a few days before her gas and electric was to be shut off and her car was in jeopardy of being repossessed. Because of all of you, who have generously supported BBR in the past and continue to support BBR, we were able to pay her gas, electric and car payment. Most importantly, we were able to eliminate the financial stress this mom was feeling.


For more information on how to donate to BBR, please visit our website at



Happy Fall!!


BBR Newsletter

The Blast Dec. 2021 Issue No. 5


Hello all!

It is so hard to believe it is already December. Better BedRest is going into our 29th year! We have so much to be proud of and still so much more to do. What can you do to help? Go to and tap that donate button. Every penny helps. Our Maternal Assistance fund has helped so many during a very scary time. You can also send a check to BBR, PO Box 2625, Windermere, FL 34786.  Lastly, make us your designated charity on Amazon Smile! Open the app and find “Settings”. Tap on AmazonSmile and follow the onscreen instructions.

In this issue, you will hear from Akiva Katz who was part of the 211 Maryland staff


What’s Inside:

            -Founder’s Corner

            -Message from Maryland 211

                  Guest Contributor – Akiva Katz

            -Caller’s Voice

            -Community Outreach:

                 Crafting on Bed Rest


assisting Better BedRest callers! Check out our tips for things to do on bed rest that are crafty and hear from one of many callers talk about how BBR helped them.

From the entire Better BedRest family, we want to wish you all a very Happy Holiday and may the coming year be one of good health and happiness. We are so grateful for your support.

Joanie Reisfeld

Founder, Better BedRest



My name is Judith Osbourne. In February 2010, I found out that I was pregnant. I was 

living in Baltimore City at the time. I was 29 years old and I was excitingly happy to find out that I was having my first baby. It did not take long to find out that my pregnancy was high risk. It was then that I learned what a “mucus plug” was and the definition of the term “High Risk Prepregnancy.”

I started complaining to the doctor of the cramps I was experiencing. The doctor told me after an examination that I was already dilated one centimeter at one month pregnant, thus she placed me on bed rest. I also learned that I had gestational diabetes and preeclampsia a few months later. When I got to six months pregnant, I thought the baby was moving a lot, but

the movements were contractions. I went to the office for a prenatal visit which resulted in me having to be admitted to the hospital. While in the hospital, I was on strict bed rest.  I had to do everything and anything in the bed without any exceptions. This wasn’t how I envision my pregnancy, so it was very emotional for me. It was then at one of my darkest moment I turned to face a wall with a poster that read “Better Bedrest (BBR).” After calling the number from the poster and speaking to a very soft spoken lady, who assured me that I wasn’t alone. Knowing that I could speak to a live person who could relate was a blessing. 


After a month of being hospitalized and months of not working, I was needing all sorts of help. BBR gave me a grant of $500, for my bills. I honestly believed that God sent BBR. They were there for me not only financially, but having the support, and knowing that there is someone who understood what I was going through made it easier for me. I delivered Ava at 34 weeks and she only stayed two extra nights in the hospital because of jaundice. BBR, you helped make it possible and I will forever say THANK YOU a million. I will forever love you all. 

MESSAGE from 211

What is it like speaking to a BBR caller?

Although every pregnancy is different, there were a few experiences common to almost all the conversations that I had during my time with Better Bed Rest. One of these was the high expectations that are placed on pregnant women. Many expressed feelings of shame when they needed more rest, or because they had to take time off of work. They reported feeling like they had to do everything they’d done before they were pregnant, despite experiencing a serious medical condition! Women with children were often expected by their partners to continue playing the same roles they had played before they were ordered to bed rest. So one of the things that I found myself doing, besides searching for resources and making referrals, was discussing how it felt to be less capable than before. No one likes to feel less able, especially when the people around us don’t recognize that it is actually the person on bed rest who needs more support! In some cases, I was able to help some women plan conversations with their partners, children, and doctors in which they could explain their need for increased support during this time. This often helped increase a sense of self efficacy and control that was lost while required to be on bed rest. 

Since the Better Bed Rest program is designed for women who’ve lost income, I also heard a lot about financial struggles. Many women were frustrated, understandably, that it felt like there were few resources to assist them in this time of need. Specialized medical care, on top of normal monthly bills, really adds up when you aren’t able to work. A further complicating factor was that in two income households, sometimes the other earner also lost their job due to Covid-19, and many jurisdictions were slow to provide unemployment benefits and financial assistance to those impacted. Sadly, many programs were forced to shut their doors due to the pandemic as well. I found it challenging to sit with feelings of being powerlessness to help, but found that sitting with someone else made a bigger impact for them than I had thought. It led to fruitful conversations about plans for after delivery, and hopes for the future. I was able to help one woman find agencies that would help her finish her degree online while she was on bed rest. 

My time with Better BedRest was, to say the least, immensely educational. As a man, I’ll never be pregnant, yet all of the sudden I found myself asking women about medical conditions that I wasn’t sure how to pronounce. So, I had to do some learning about pregnancy, and about the numerous complications that can arise. Together with my supervisors at 2-1-1, as well as the Better BedRest administrators, we were able to show up for women who needed us, and I am grateful to have had this opportunity. 

Akiva Katz, MSW Candidate


Crafting on Bed Rest

 Being told that you have to be on bed rest for the duration of your pregnancy is daunting.  You may feel scared, frustrated, lonely and very, very bored. Engaging in craft projects is one way to entertain yourself and create something nice for you or your new baby. Two very popular needlecrafts are knitting and crocheting. If you don’t know how to knit or crochet, there are many tutorial videos on that can walk you through the steps to learn the crafts.  If you’re not up for learning one of these crafts, I suggest trying the Knifty Knitter.

This loom is fun and very simple to use and can be purchased online or at most craft stores that sell yarn. The repetitive motion used to create with this loom is quite soothing and relaxing. Go with the round loom starter kit first (usually around $15). There are many shapes and varieties of looms to choose from when you become a super Knifty Knitter!

Of course, there are many other crafts you could enjoy while on bed rest such as scrapbooking, adult coloring books, embroidery or cross stitch, origami, or jewelry making to name a few. A good resource for crafting is www.pinterest.comwhere you can find a multitude project ideas and tutorials.

Also, for other ideas for surviving bed rest visit the BBR resource page:

Happy Crafting!

Barbara Banks





















The Blast Sept. 2021 Issue No. 4

The Blast Sept. 2021 Issue No. 4


BBR is looking to expand our Board! If you know a community member or medical professional in the OB/GYN field that would be interested in joining us, please have them send an email to We have quarterly zoom meetings and it’s a great group to be involved with. 

In this newsletter you will hear from Dr. Donna Neale, Director, Center for Maternal and Fetal Medicine at Howard County General Hospital talking about being pregnant in Covid times and a heartfelt memory from a past caller who got a BBR grant.

Last, but not least, we are about to enter that holiday giving time of year. We ask that you consider a donation to our Maternal 

Assistance Fund that offers $500 grants to women who are losing an income due to a high-risk pregnancy. To date, we have given out approximately $75,000 to help moms pay a bill for rent, utilities, car payments, insurance and medical bills. Every penny helps. You can make a donation on our website

Wishing you and your families wonderful fall and please stay safe and healthy out there.

Joanie Reisfeld


Better BedRest, Inc


My name is Paige and I am from Louisiana. In 2011, I found out that I was pregnant and to my surprise I was pregnant with triplets. It was a surprise and a shock because this is rare without the use of fertility drugs. My doctors told me that I would have to be on bed rest for the duration of my pregnancy. I started to research and read about how to cope with bed rest because I am a very active person. I had no support or anyone who could understand my situation. When

I felt under pressure from the situation, I came across Better BedRest. I began corresponding with them and they provided the emotional support I needed. Not only did they provide me with that love and understanding, but Better BedRest offered to assist financially. Better BedRest was my godsend. I know that this organization is a blessing and will continue to be a blessing to all the women who are in need.

(l to r) Brylee, Braylon, Brylon

(l to r) Brylee, Braylon, Brylon today


Pregnancy during Covid 19 – Is it possible?  Is it safe?

Donna M. Neale MD

The SARS-COV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2) is the strain of coronavirus that causes COVID 19 infections.  Other viruses such as Ebola, SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) and MERS (Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome) are much deadlier than SARS -COV2, killing 50%, 10% and up to 40%, respectively, of those infected.  So, why is COVID 19 so dangerous?  First, this virus has never been seen in humans before. This means that NO ONE in the world had immunity to the virus when it first started in 2020.  Secondly, the virus spreads easily from one person to another and thirdly, it infects the upper and lower respiratory tracts.  The upper respiratory tract includes the mouth and the nose. Therefore, the virus can be spread thru coughing, sneezing, huffing, puffing, singing and even talking loudly.  Plus, an infected person can show no symptoms for days yet be spreading the virus.  Moreover, an infected person can remain asymptomatic for the entire time that he/she is spreading the virus. Lastly, the SARS-COV-2 virus is very sticky.  In fact, it is much stickier than the SARS 1 virus. This sticky property literally allows the virus to quickly attach to cells, stay attached to cells and quickly spread throughout the body. The combination of all of these things makes the novel SARS-COV2 virus very dangerous for us. With this background, let us discuss whether it is possible to have a safe and successful pregnancy during the COVID 19 pandemic.

First, there is no direct effect of the virus on the pregnancy.  Women who become infected with COVID 19 during their pregnancy do not have an increased risk of poor pregnancy outcome.  However, it is very clear from the data that pregnant women who develop COVID 19 are more at risk for hospitalization, ICU admission, mechanical ventilation and death than their non pregnant counterpart. Those women who require hospitalization may get so ill that they require a preterm delivery.  So, there have been reports of increased preterm births with COVID 19 infections but these preterm deliveries are indicated (to improve maternal outcome) versus a spontaneous preterm birth (an early birth that happens because labor starts too soon).

So, how do pregnant women keep themselves safe?  Get vaccinated.

Although none of the original COVID vaccine trials included pregnant women, the CDC has followed almost 4,000 women who received the vaccine throughout different points in pregnancy – 1st trimester; 2nd trimester; 3rd trimester and no adverse pregnancy outcomes or short term neonatal outcomes have been observed.  There were no increased pregnancy complications such as miscarriage, stillbirth, preterm birth, small for gestational aged baby, birth defects or neonatal deaths.  Moreover, and equally important, COVID 19 antibodies have been identified in the cord blood samples and breastmilk after vaccination which indicates passive immunity of the newborn.  Thus, the newborns have some protection from COVID 19 after the mother has been vaccinated. In addition, no decrease in pregnancy rates have been observed in women who have been vaccinated, which refutes the claim that the COVID 19 vaccine is linked with infertility.  

Because pregnant women infected with COVID 19 tend to get sicker than their nonpregnant counterparts – more chance of ICU admission, intubation and death, and to date, there is no evidence of poor pregnancy outcomes after vaccination, the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology and the Society of Maternal and Fetal Medicine both advocate for pregnant women to receive the COVID 19 vaccine.   For those women who do not want to get vaccinated, we are encouraging them to be vigilant with mask use, social distancing and hand washing protocols.  These interventions are very effective; they kept us safe before a vaccine was available.  Plus, every pregnant woman should receive the Flu vaccine during flu season, which is typically October – March.  The Flu vaccine protects against the flu not COVID 19.  But, it is well documented that pregnant women with the Flu can get very ill.  So, the combination of the Flu plus COVID 19 puts the pregnant patient at high risk for respiratory failure.

It is very important that your medical care not be interrupted during the pandemic. We recognize that patients want to minimalize their potential exposure to the virus.  Some visits can be done via telemedicine. Inquire about this with your provider.  Consider trying to bundle medical appointments. For example, consider having your blood drawn or your ultrasound on the same day as your prenatal appointment.  Inquire with your provider about their COVID 19 cleaning protocols and visitor policies.  It is important that you feel comfortable during your visits.  Plus, there may be times that you need an unscheduled visit with your provider.  If you ever experience vaginal bleeding, change in fetal movement (once you’re able to feel it), water breakage, contractions before 36 weeks of gestation, burning when you pass your urine, fever, headache that is unusual for you or is unresponsive to Tylenol, blurry vision, spots in front of your eyes, nausea/vomiting, pain under your right breast, these all may be examples of obstetrical emergencies that warrant a call to your provider.  Plus, a fever, shortness of breath, cough, heart palpitations, sore throat, loss of taste or smell may all be signs of a COVID 19 infection.  Please notify your provider if you have of these symptoms, been exposed to anyone with these symptoms or known COVID 19 infection or have new symptoms of any kind.  There is very effective treatment for COVID 19 infection during pregnancy.

Lastly, become familiar with your delivering hospital COVID 19 protocols, such as whether your husband can come with you to Labor and Delivery, can other family members (your other children) come too, will you have a COVID 19 test when you come to Labor and Delivery.  The more prepared you are in terms of these things, the more your expectations will be aligned with the reality of what happens in the hospital and you will be able to enjoy your labor and delivery experience.

So, although the COVID 19 pandemic is not over, a woman can have a safe and successful pregnancy. Call your provider if you develop any symptoms of COVID 19.   Get vaccinated; stay masked, maintain social distancing at home, work and play, practice vigorous handwashing, get your Flu vaccine, keep up with your prenatal visits, and Enjoy!


Labor of Love Full Circle

Better BedRest, Inc recently honored frontline workers for “Labor Day” in Labor & Delivery and Maternity floors at Holy Cross Hospital at Germantown, Howard County General Hospital and St. Agnes hospitals. We cannot thank the entire staff enough for their many hours of care “full circle” during these challenging times. The staff received Bundt cakes from Nothing Bundt Cakes, Columbia, Maryland! It was a sweet treat to help them enjoy their day. We want to thank Bryan and Alice Pax for working with us on this project!

Joanie Reisfeld (Better BedRest  founder) and Bryan Pax (owner)

St. Agnes MFM healthcare workers

The Blast



The Blast June 2021 Issue No. 3


If you read the last BBR Blast #2 you saw that Zach Reisfeld wrote about “Birth Stats” from his experience at birth./  We are happy to say his son Theo was born and Zach got a set of “new stats”! Theo was 7lb 8oz and 20.5 inches long! Zach and Cara are doing well!

BBR is so proud of our Maternal Assistance Fund. To date we have given out approximately $80,000! You will hear from one recipient in this issue. We pride ourselves with our service and the emotional support we offer. It is important that women know that they need 3 weekly calls before they are considered for a grant. We are not just about the money, although we realize this important need during this time. We are also about ongoing emotional support BBR provides until a woman delivers.

Today I want to highlight this wonderful resource. This organization has many online support groups and pregnant women are welcomed.

In this issue you will hear from Mary Lahood, MSW and BBR Board Member talk about the positive that has come from the pandemic in terms of mental health care. We have certainly heard a lot of negative, but some of the positive has created change.

Lastly, do you buy a lot on Amazon? Do you know you can support BBR with Amazon Smile? It is so easy to set up.

Go to your App store on your phone, just download Amazon Smile. It will ask you which charity you want to support. BBR will get a small percentage of your purchases. It does not work with your regular Amazon app. By getting the Amazon Smile app, it does not change anything with your account except what you designate as your charity. We hope you will consider!

Enjoy this issue and as always, thank you for your support.


Joanie Reisfeld

Founder, Better BedRest, Inc



Bed rest and pregnancy restrictions are rarely anticipated. Bed rest during a global pandemic? Well, that was not in the plan. We have all endured significant stress, trauma, and isolation this year. Study after study confirms that pregnant women have been among the most heavily impacted groups globally. Living through a pandemic with a high risk pregnancy has also meant solo trips to innumerable doctors’ appointments, stressful and highly anticipated ultrasound, stringent visitor restrictions on antepartum units, and emergency c-section and fast labors without a hand to hold. There are even more stringent visiting restrictions in NICU. Rates of prenatal (during pregnancy and to one year postpartum) mood and anxiety disorders have risen significantly. To learn more about mental health during and after pregnancy visit Postpartum Support International:

But, yes! We do seem to be coming out on the other side. There is one silver lining of sorts that we will happily bring with us into life post pandemic: the widespread availability of telemedicine.

Telemedicine, also referred to telehealth, is the use of technology to provide patient care remotely. Patients can use their tablet, smart phone or computer, to have a virtual “face to face” appointment with their provider.  It is covered by insurance (commercial plans and Medicaid), utilizes HIPPAA compliant platforms, and most importantly, removes barriers to care. Telemedicine is now quickly becoming the preferred avenue for treatment in mental health care. 

This is great news for women on bed rest! Being prescribed bed rest or pregnancy restrictions can feel like being dropped in a lake with a sturdy life vest and being told to hang in there for one to twenty weeks.  There is worry about not only the baby she carries, but also the welfare of her other children, separation from a partner, work related stress and job loss, and financial wellbeing. Women frequently feel isolated, and stress levels sky rocket. If a woman has prior mental health diagnoses, these symptoms may worsen. We know that high levels  of stress and symptoms of anxiety, and depression during pregnancy are correlated with a number of poor neonatal outcomes, including premature delivery and low birth weight.  For the health of the mom and her baby, women need support. Support groups, group therapy, and individual therapy can be a lifeline. There are now many virtual groups for pregnant women, but there is a vast need for groups specific  to women on bed rest. Stay tuned for updates! 

Mary Frances LaHood, MSW 


 Hasanjanzadeh, P., & Faramarzi, M. (2017). Relationship between Maternal General and Specific-Pregnancy Stress, Anxiety, and Depression Symptoms and Pregnancy Outcome. Journal of clinical and diagnostic research : JCDR, 11(4), VC04–VC07.

In addition to support from Better Bedrest:

Perinatal Mental Health Provider Directory

Online Support Groups, Postpartum Support International:

Keep ‘Em Cookin Live Chat



Before I spoke with anyone from Better BedRest, I was on bed rest, in the hospital, away from my child, and away from work.  I received a paper letting me know about BBR from the staff social worker that explained how I could have someone call and chat with me from time to time, and could also help me with a small financial debt. Little did I know that I would connect with a woman that checked in on me as if she was my own mother.  She offered me advice, gave me personal feedback, and gave a me alternatives for keeping myself “busy” while I was in the hospital for month. She always made me feel listened to, and she was always interested in whatever I needed to talk about.  She checked in on me when I had the twins and even when I get home, which was truly sweet.   BBR was truly a blessing in helping me keep my sanity while alone in the hospital away from my daughter and my normal living situation. This organization is needed to keep hope and to help moms stay motivated while on bed rest and stay focused on the end goal.  The calls helped me remember that this hardship was just a moment and it will all be worth it in the end. Thank you Better BedRest!  I do nothing but speak your praises to my family.



I had a lot of hardships due to me being put on bed rest, but you guys have helped with that tremendously and I really appreciate it. You have been a big help!




If you are considering a donation to Better BedRest, you can visit our website at  or participate in Amazon Smile. See Founder’s Corner for details!


 Have a Great Summer!