The Better BedRest Blast





The Blast March 2021 Issue No. 2


Welcome to our 2nd issue of the Better BedRest Blast! It’s a wonderful way to connect with all of you!

Better BedRest had a good holiday season! We noticed this year, in addition to individual donations, we got donations from various Family Donor accounts as well as Family Foundations. This was wonderful. Some of these donors have arranged for BBR to get this donation each year. We invite you to consider this option.  BBR appreciates all the donations we get. Whether large or small, every penny counts.

We continue to work with 211MD for our partnership and encourage you all to learn more about 211. Did you know that 211 services all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and Canada?  211 will connect you to essential community services. We are truly lucky to have this partnership. In this issue, you will find a letter from a past BBR maternal assistance (keep scrolling down)




















recipient. Also, the BBR baby is going to be a father! Check out Zach Reisfeld’s thoughts about this exciting event! Lastly, our board member, Dr. Erica Leventhal, will talk

about a newly developed pacifier that plays music! This sounds like so much fun!

We hope you are all doing well, staying safe and healthy. Let’s hope that by the next newsletter most of you have gotten vaccinated and are moving forward to end this pandemic..



 Joanie Reisfeld

 Founder, BBR


BBR Baby Is Having A Baby: “Birth Stats”

About 31 years ago I was born 10 weeks early at 2lbs 10oz, but many of you reading this will already know that fact. Growing up as the “Better BedRest Baby” makes it pretty hard to forget birth stats, or the fact that I almost didn’t make it at all. Now, 31 years later, I am about to have my own child. Everyone keeps asking if I am excited, nervous, or anxious, but it is hard to sum it up in one word. Coming from a high risk pregnancy and working with BBR for much of my life, I know how scary it can get. The risks and potential complications can be paralyzing. So, back to the question, “Am I excited?” The answer is simple: I am so ready to meet my son, but I won’t quite feel comfortable until I am holding him in my arms, introducing him to others by quoting his birth stats. 

For any current or prospective parents reading this, birth stats are fun, but once early childhood is done, maybe find new ways to introduce your child.

Zachary Reisfeld, Board Member, Better BedRest



I was in a rough place in my life and the staff at BBR were true blessings. It’s the small things that count when you feel you don’t know what to do, where to go, with no one to help and low on options. I was high risk while pregnant with no income.  I was late on bills, and stressed and depressed while pregnant. BBR gave me a $500 grant toward my BGE bill. It wasn’t just about the money but the generosity that they showed and how understanding they were. To know that it was sincere, was what I needed most. Not only do they help with paying specific bills, they also have resources/programs that help with finding jobs, getting food, etc. Anything that you’re unsure about or have questions about, they’re more than willing to help you find an answer. I’m very appreciative of the kind efforts BBR has made for me. I pray that any woman in a similar situation would contact BBR. 




Musical Pacifiers: a beneficial tool for Premature babies in the NICU

Babies in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit have many challenges. Premature infants are born too early to have a suck-swallow-breathe reflex.  In 2012, a professor of music therapy at Florida State University, Jayne Standley, developed a music triggering pacifier that provided positive reinforcement for the sucking reflex.  The pacifier is connected to a sensing cord wired to a specialized machine, manufactured by Powers Medical Devices, that senses the strength of the sucking motion and triggers a Lullaby.  This Pacifier-Activated Lullaby device (PAL) can be adjusted to play music for weaker suck initially then adjusted upwards to promote more vigorous feeding. The PAL stimulates more vigorous sucking in premature infants, especially those born having been exposed to dependent drugs in utero. These particular newborns with neonatal abstinence syndrome tend to be more irritable and agitated.  The sounds provide comfort and calm babies so they can rest and have more energy for feeding.   Studies have shown that newborns that use PAL ingest more nutrition and gain weight faster. The faster they grow the faster they can go home.

At Ascension Saint Agnes Hospital in Baltimore, use of the PAL device was spearheaded in August 2019 by Kathy Goad, PhD, MSN, RNC, CCRN, Nurse Manager of the Maternal/Child Heath Division.  Kathy reports the NICU staff has used the PAL device with 15 babies.  In this group of newborns, the device has been shown to decrease length of hospitalization by 7 days, decrease the rate of readmission and decrease the need to send babies to assisted care facilities like Mount Washington Pediatric Hospital.  The use of the PAL device is very innovative as no other hospital in the State of Maryland is using it at this time.  Kathy is excited about their progress with the PAL device and she is looking forward to the continued treatment of babies in need of this form of  Music Therapy.

Erica J. Leventhal M.D. 

Medical Director

The Women’s OB-GYN Group

Seton Medical Group OB/GYN Assoc.

COMMUNITY OUTREACH: Holy Cross Hospital Project

In February, BBR honored women’s healthcare workers at Holy Cross Hospital in Silver Spring, MD for Valentine’s Day.  Once again, some of the folks from the Forest Knolls Knitting Club stepped up to create crocheted goodie bags for the staff.  The contents of the bags included candies, gum, tea, lip balm and hand lotion compliments of BBR.  The bags were delivered to Holy Cross on Feb. 12 and distributed to the staff as a show of support for their dedication to women’s healthcare. Special thanks to Sarah Walker, Manager of Volunteer Services at Holy Cross Health, for her help in coordinating this effort.

**If you are considering a donation to Better BedRest, you can visit our website at or participate in AmazonSmile. Shop at and Amazon will donate 0.5% of the price of your eligible AmazonSmile purchases to your favorite charitable organizations.  Your efforts are greatly appreciated!



Highlighting the Mental Health Association of Maryland Program for Pregnant and/or New Moms

Years ago I volunteered for the Montgomery County Mental Health Association Crisis Hotline. I know how valuable this organization is for so many people. In Maryland now they have the Healthy New Moms program. If you go to you can read more about what they do. They have a great list of support groups in the state for pregnant moms that I have listed below. Always nice to know these exist! If you know of a mom in need, please share! Also as you can see in this list many hospitals have resources for new moms as well. ~ Joanie

Here are several support groups in Maryland dedicated to helping pregnant and new moms with perinatal mood and anxiety disorders: (Please click Healthy New Moms above and go to What We Do >Outreach>Healthy New Moms>Get Help for the latest updated information)

  • Annapolis – Anne Arundel Medical Center | 443-481-6122 |
  • Annapolis – Heritage Baptist Church | Contact Amanda at |  Click here for further details.
  • Baltimore – Sinai Hospital | Contact 443-846-6287 *Effective March 2020, The Postpartum Support Group meetings will be held virtually/via video, until further notice. Please call Shelly Bray at 410-601-7832 or email for further information*
  • Baltimore – Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center | Contact 410-550-5362
  • Baltimore – Greater Baltimore Medical Center | Contact Lanny Dowell at 443-849-6287 or
  • Baltimore – Mercy Medical Center | Lactation Resource Center | 410-332-9060
  • Baltimore – The Womb Room | Meets every Tuesday evening
  • Elkton – Union Hospital | Contact
  • Fulton – Capital Women’s Care | Monday evenings at 7:30 PM | Contact Jennifer Riley, PSI Coordinator at | Click here for further details
  • Frederick – Frederick County Perinatal Mental Health Support Group | Contact Jessica Kent at 240-285-3785 or
  • Hagerstown – Women’s Health Center at Robinwood | Contact 240-217-5091 or
  • Olney – MedStar Montgomery Hospital | FREE but must register before attending | Contact 301-774-8881 and press 3
  • Silver Spring – Postpartum Depression Support Group | Holy Cross Resource Center | Contact 240-432-4497 or
  • Westminster – Tevis Center for Wellness at Carroll Hospital | Contact 410-871-7000 | If unable to attend a meeting, an OB navigator is available at 410-871-7403, Monday through Friday

Free Mental Health Support

From the Pro Bono Project in Maryland

 I would like to share some information on a free mental health resource for Marylanders who are experiencing increased stress, anxiety, and life transition concerns. The Pro Bono Counseling WARMLine is staffed by a licensed mental health professional, 10AM-6PM, Monday-Friday. Callers can connect to the WARMLine Specialist by calling 211 or directly calling 443-608-9182. The WARMLine is great for callers who are not sure if they want ongoing counseling, but want to talk to a licensed social worker about stressful situations. Callers who speak a language other than English will be immediately connected to an interpreter with the WARMLine Specialist.

OPC Alert Maryland – Utility Asst., Frozen Pipes and Legs Representation

Prevent frozen pipes: As we continue to move into winter months, it is important to protect your pipes from freezing temperatures. The Red Cross has created some tips on how to prevent water pipes from freezing and what to do if they do freeze.

DHS call center extends hours: Office of People’s Counsel (OPC) strongly encourages anyone who may be eligible for the Office of Home Energy Programs (OHEP) to apply now and not wait for a turn-off notice.

There are a few ways you can apply:

1)      Go online and apply

2)     Call the DHS call center at 1-800-332-6347 and request an application be mailed to you. The call center has recently extended their hours.

         Monday-Friday 8AM-8PM and Saturday 9AM-4PM.

3)     Contact your local OHEP office to request an application be mailed to you. Some offices will allow clients to schedule an appointment or come to           the office to pick up an application. Call your local office for information on available services.

Fuel Fund of Maryland: The Fuel Fund of Maryland assists income eligible BGE customers with paying their utility bills after they complete OHEP. They have recently instituted some new rules that impact process and eligibility to effectively respond to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

1.      Waived the need for a turn off notice through 6/30/2021.

2.      Waived the need for seniors (age 60+) to complete OHEP before getting assistance from the Fuel Fund of Maryland through 6/30/2021. They will             mail the consumer an OHEP application as needed.

If someone is struggling with a utility bill, OPC encourages people to call their utility company and request a 12-month payment plan. For those that are OHEP certified, they are eligible for up to a 24-month payment plan.

Legal Representation: The Courtroom Advocacy Project (CAP) through the Probono Resource Center of Maryland (PBRC) provides free same-day representation for Failure to Pay Rent cases in Rent Court in Baltimore City as well as for some Consumer dockets in Baltimore City District Court and PG County District Court.  People can also contact PBRC for legal information and referrals related to evictions and illegal lockouts, repairs and escrow accounts, utility bill disputes and whether and how to attend scheduled court hearings. To connect with the CAP Team call the hotline at 443-703-3053. For more information about CAP or to schedule a presentation contact Project Director, Katie Davis at kdavis@probonomd.orgSee attached for more PBRC programs.

For more information, please visit our website.

Be well.

Brandi Nieland, LCSW
Director of Consumer Assistance
Maryland Office of People’s Counsel
6 St.Paul Street, Suite 2102
Baltimore, MD 21202

Donate to BBR during the upcoming holidays.

Please consider donating to the Maternal Assistance Fund during the upcoming holidays. Our Assistance fund helps women fight eviction, turn lights on and more. It is horrible to be on bedrest or not working while facing a high risk pregnancy. Every penny helps. Use the donate button on our site or mail a check to Better BedRest, PO Box 2625, Windermere, Fl. 34786. Find us on Facebook too!

CDC National Moratorium on Evictions 9/1/20

The CDC issued a national moratorium on evictions 9/1/2020. The Fair Housing Action Center of Maryland published key points on the eviction moratorium.


  • Tenants can still be evicted for other issues that don’t include nonpayment of rent.
  • All adults listed on the lease must sign, in order to be protected under the moratorium.
  • You must sign a declaration that states, among other things, that your circumstances were related to COVID, and be able to prove that if the need arises;
  • You must declare that you have sought all available funding sources to pay your back rent, including government assistance;
  • You must declare that you earn less than $99,000 annually (or $198,000 if you file taxes jointly with someone else), and;
  • You must declare that you would become homeless if you were evicted, and have no alternative housing available to you.
  • This moratorium expires December 31, 2020 unless amended.

You can find more information on their website

Are you pregnant during Covid-19?

We are going through challenging times now with Covid 19. Being pregnant during this time adds more challenges. It’s easy to let your mind wander and wonder how you will get through this. It is important to reach out for support whether it be family, friends, neighbors.  If you are one of those people that don’t have family, friends and neighbors to talk to or just need an ear other than people you know well, we are here to help. By calling 1-800-492-0618 you can can be connected with one of our BBR 211 staff that is trained to listen and provide resources as well as well as stay in touch with you weekly until you deliver. Sometimes that listening ear can provide compassion and really help you as you get through this pregnancy during this difficult time. Whatever your needs might be we are there to help. You can be anywhere in the US to reach out to us for help. Please do not suffer in silence. That is not helping you or the unborn child you carry. Remember call 1-800-492-0618 wait for the Better Bedrest prompt mailbox 4 and someone will return your call. Hang in there. You are not alone.

Are you on bedrest with twins?

“Are you currently on bed rest and pregnant with twins?
Researchers at the University of Iowa’s Physical Activity and Women’s Health Lab are looking to study the experiences of bed rest during twin pregnancies.
If you are currently pregnant with twins and currently on bed rest OR were prescribed bed rest within your current twin pregnancy and between 18-44 years old, you may be eligible to participate.
The study consists of taking an online survey. The survey will take approximately 30 minutes and you will have the opportunity to receive a $10 electronic Amazon Gift Card to thank you for your time.
Please use the link below to see if you are eligible:
If you have any questions regarding this study, please contact
Thank you for your time and consideration!”

New BBR Number 1-800-492-0618

Reminding people that we have a new number. 1-800-492-0618, wait for prompt for BBR. We have wonderful staff from 211 now answering all calls. We will talk to anyone with a high risk pregnancy, working or not working, bedrest or just doctor prescribed restrictions. We will talk to woman until they deliver. If they had to stop work due to their high risk pregnancy, we will explain our grant process to help pay a bill up to $500. Grants are just for women in Maryland. We talk to woman across the US! So spread the word.