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How to LA: Pregnancy Text Service, Little Arabia, Emotional Support Duck

An illustration of people surrounded by question marks thinking about a baby.
LAist is launching Hey bb, a text message service to answer questions about pregnancy, birth and parenthood
(Alborz Kamalizad for LAist)
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Good morning, L.A. It’s Tuesday, August 23.

As you all know, I LOVE kids — from babies fresh out the womb to teens flapping their wings to leave the nest (all the parents are saying “YAY!” *raised hands emoji*).

Even if you’re not a parent, you have an idea of how hard it is to give birth and raise a child. Parents need all the help that they can get…and the sooner the better is ALWAYS ideal. We live in a country with a maternal health crisis. Did you know the United States is the most dangerous place to give birth among high-income countries, especially if you are Black, Native American or live in a rural area? For example, pregnant Black women are three times as likely to die as white women regardless of socioeconomic status.

Pregnancy is a joyful time for many, but it's also fraught with anxiety — with worries about childbirth and how to care for a small human being. If this is you, or someone you love, LAist wants to help NAVIGATE the pregnancy, birth and postpartum phases of having a child. That’s why we’re launching Hey bb, a text message service to answer questions about pregnancy, birth and parenthood — from how to advocate for yourself (systemic racism is real!) to explaining just what a doula does. If you would like to sign up for the service, text “heybb” to 73224.

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Kimberly Durdin is the co-founder of Kindred Space LA, a birthing center owned and operated by Black midwives. She is also a mom, and this month she will be joining KPCC and LAist journalists to answer questions through Hey bb. I recently spoke to Durdin about all of this and learned so much. I wish I could include our whole conversation, but the following transcript has been edited for brevity and clarity:

Aaricka: What issues have you noticed with pregnancy care? 

Kimberly: The issue that is concerning is seeing how people are treated in the mainstream system. Unfortunately, the system itself doesn't leave room for people to have time with their providers. Often they can't bring their partners with them on visits. Doctors have a very, very short time period seeing different patients. So people aren't able to get all their questions answered.

The truth of the matter is almost everybody goes into the system very blindly.

Durdin’s Top Tips for Advocating for Yourself During Pregnancy: 

1. Interview your providers — whether they are a doctor, doula or midwife 

Kimberly: Do your best to try and interview the people that you're thinking you might want to take care of your pregnancy. People should be able to have some idea of who they're choosing to take care of them in a really important time of their life.

2. If you don’t feel comfortable, find a different health care provider. 

Kimberly:  You can change and sometimes people feel like, ‘Well, I'm 34 weeks pregnant. It's too late for me to change to another doctor.’ You can change up until you're in labor, you can do whatever you want. I think it's important that people listen to their gut and if they're not feeling comfortable, they need to seek different care.

3. Don’t discount midwives as an option. 

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Kimberly: Not everybody knows what a midwife is. Not everybody knows what a midwife does. Why not interview a doctor AND interview a midwife?

We have a lot more time to spend with our clients than the OB does. An average OB visit is about five, six minutes. With midwifery care, we have hour-long visits and we get to really touch on all aspects of the person's life.

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Don’t know how to find a midwife? Durdin says you can find certified midwives to talk to who work in hospitals, homes or birthing centers. Just Google. But if you need a little bit more guidance, she says people can call her practice Kindred Space LA.

*Disclaimer: Midwifery care is for people with low risk pregnancies, so please consult with your health care team to explore the best options for you.

Pregnant and want to ask Kimberly Durdin a question yourself? Sign up for Hey bb and ask away. 

As always, stay happy and healthy, folks. There’s more news below the fold.

The News You Need After You Stop Hitting Snooze

The Kicker — How One Unhoused Angeleno Found Emotional Support Through A Duck Named Cardi D

A row of tents sit on a sidewalk in front of a chain link fence. Buildings are visible in the background.
A homeless encampment on first street across from city hall in downtown Los Angeles.
(Chava Sanchez/LAist)

On Tuesdays, I like to give attention to an interesting story that caught my eye, and today, I’d like to share the story of Cardi D, Autumn McWilliams’ rambunctious, Pekin duck. Cardi D loves to eat watermelon, waddle in fountains and get rubbed down by Angelenos all over the city. Named after the New York-bred, energetic rapper Cardi B, this duck keeps McWilliams calm when life gets tough. And for McWilliams, life has always been pretty tough. She’s had to make it on her own.

This story is more than just about a cute, little white duck and their owner. It’s about finding love and care in a city that doesn’t often give much grace to those who’ve had difficult childhoods and are housing insecure. Learn more about McWilliams and Cardi D in the Los Angeles Times.

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