Ep 96: Revisiting My Top 10 Episodes & Looking Ahead to 2021

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We've made it to the end of 2020, an undoubtedly challenging year for so many of us. It has been a year of upheaval, grief and isolation, and I sincerely hope that you and your loved ones have had time to rest and look ahead to a better year in 2021.

This year has had a few silver linings, including the fact that I was able to connect with & serve more people than ever. This podcast reached almost 400,000 downloads as pregnant people sought information about how to have a healthy, empowered, beautiful pregnancy in the face of many challenges. So much of that is due to you, my amazing listeners, for spreading the word about the show, so I wanted to end this year on a bit of a lighter note!

In this episode I'm sharing the top 10 episodes of the podcast so far and some behind-the-scenes commentary about each one. I'm also really excited to tell you about the upcoming changes to The Birth Preparation Course and the big plans I've got in the year to come. 

Thank you so much for being a part of this amazing community - I absolutely love the work I do and can't wait to continue serving all of you in 2021 and beyond. 

In this Episode, You’ll Learn About:

  • Some of the things I've learned over the past year of podcasting and serving this community
  • Why I had to learn so much about nutrition on my own for the nutrition episode of the podcast
  • Why I think episodes about giving birth during the COVID-19 pandemic have been popular this year
  • How I plan to include more content about the postpartum period on the podcast in future episodes
  • What we learned about labor induction, breastfeeding, and other important pregnancy topics this year

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I want this podcast to be more than a one sided conversation. Join me on Instagram where we can connect outside of the show! Through my posts, videos, and stories, you'll get even more helpful tips to ensure you have a beautiful pregnancy and birth. You can find me on Instagram @drnicolerankins. I'll see you there!

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Ep 96: Revisiting My Top 10 Episodes & Looking Ahead to 2021

Nicole: It is the last episode of 2020, and it is a fun one. I am going to take you through the top 10 most popular episodes of the All About Pregnancy & Birth podcast.

Nicole: Welcome to the All About Pregnancy & Birth podcast. I'm Dr. Nicole Calloway Rankins, a board certified OB GYN, who's been in practice for nearly 15 years. I've had the privilege of helping over 1000 babies into this world, and I'm here to help you be calm, confident, and empowered to have a beautiful pregnancy and birth. Quick note, this podcast is for educational purposes only and is not a substitute for medical advice. Check out the full disclaimer at drnicolerankins.com/disclaimer. Now let's get to it.

Nicole: Well, hello. Hello. Welcome to another episode of the podcast. This is episode number 96. I'm so glad that you're spending a bit of your time with me today. So we are finally at the end of 2020, this year has been so much in so many ways. COVID really turned our world upside down in ways that we could not have possibly imagined, but there was a bright side to this year for me, because of COVID people were looking for online education in droves. And as a result, I have been able to serve so many more people during their pregnancy and birth. And for that, I am truly grateful. Now, the end of 2020 also marks a milestone for me. It was in December of 2018, so two years ago, that I posted a trailer for what was then my new podcast called All About Pregnancy & Birth.

Nicole: And when I launched this podcast, I honestly had no goals in terms of podcast downloads or reach or anything like that. I just knew that I wanted to use podcast as a way to get information out to women about pregnancy and birth. Before that I had been doing a blog for a short time, and it was hard for me to keep up and the podcast was intended to replace the blog. I'm a podcast junkie. So it just felt like a natural matching of the things that I was interested in. And I could not have imagined that in just two years, it would be a top podcast in the Apple parenting category, and that it would have been downloaded at the time of this recording nearly 400,000 times. So despite all the craziness and chaos of 2020, I want to say, thank you from the very bottom of my heart for helping me reach this silver lining in the middle of the 2020 COVID storm.

Nicole: I so appreciate having you along with me for this ride. Now, what I thought would be fun to do is a recap of the top 10 most downloaded episodes. Since the podcast was released, I was actually a little bit surprised when my assistant Keli pulled these for me. I was like, Oh, really? So we're going to count them down from 10 to 1. And I'm going to include some thoughts that I didn't include when the episode aired. So this is going to be a really fun episode. Now, before we get into the episode, let me tell you a quick story that I recently saw from one of the students in my online childbirth education class, the Birth Preparation Course, she posted this in the private Facebook group for the All Access level of the course. And I'm paraphrasing here a bit. And she said, I had a very discouraging conversation with my OB about hospital policy.

Nicole: And I feel like I'm too late to change hospitals two weeks out from my induction date. She told me that they have to break my water before starting Pitocin, that it's hospital policy that they do this. When I asked about preventing tears, she said, the hospital doesn't do perinatal massage or warm compresses. She was told that they don't do delayed cord clamping for C-sections because quote, it's not enough benefit, which isn't true and that you could be bleeding out on the table, which also isn't true and a fear tactic. Um, she also made it sound like skin to skin within the, or was not allowed. And then she ended it with, by saying I'm so upset. I feel like my birth wishes aren't going to be considered. I'm worried. I'm going to make doctors upset and be treated worse. I'm feeling stupid for not doing this course sooner so I could have had these conversations earlier and changed hospitals. Well, thankfully I was able to give her some good advice and the other members of the group to kind of regroup and reset this situation to make the best of it. But I'm sharing her story because I don't want you to be in that same situation. When you go through The Birth Preparation Course, you will have a deeper understanding of the process of labor and birth. So you can have these intelligent conversations and you can do it in a timely fashion so that you don't find yourself scrambling at the end, realizing that you wish you would have made some different choices throughout your pregnancy. And even if you find that you have a supportive doctor in hospital, that's great information to know, and you'll also feel calmer and just more confident and empowered as you go into your birth.

Nicole: So check out the Birth Preparation Course. It's drnicolerankins.com/enroll. I am currently about halfway through redoing the entire course. I'm so excited going to launch it at the end of January. It's great now, but it's going to be even better then, and the price is going to go up just a bit. So snag it now, it's drnicolerankins.com/enroll. All right. So let's get into the top 10 most downloaded episodes of the All About Pregnancy & Birth podcast. All right. So number 10 is episode 42 Proper Nutrition During Pregnancy. And I should say, if you're interested in going back and finding in these, any of these episodes are, of course, there'll be linked on the show notes page of the website, but you can go to any episode of my podcast by going to drnicolerankins.com/episode, spell out the word episode, and the number.

Nicole: So this would be drnicolerankins.com/episode42. So for episode 42. Okay. So number 10, episode 42 Proper Nutrition During Pregnancy. This episode was the third part in a series related to weight during pregnancy. And I talked about nutrition during pregnancy, and I shared some practical information on advice on optimizing health during pregnancy with proper nutrition. So just an overview of nutrition, foods to avoid during pregnancy, I talked about macro nutrients, micro nutrients, food safety, to avoid food born illness, and then some myths related to nutrition and pregnancy, for instance, like eating for two, that kind of thing. And then finally seeing a nutrition and some food choices. Now I will say this was actually a hard episode for me to do. It was hard for me to put it together in a way that I was hoping that I was conveying the information in a way that was easily understandable.

Nicole: And it was also hard because in medical school and in residency, physicians get like almost zero training on nutrition. So a lot of the stuff I was learning new for myself. So I am happy to see that the work from this episode paid off and it shows up in the top 10 most downloaded episodes of the podcast. All right, number nine is episode 71 Rachel's Birth Story: Giving Birth In New York During COVID-19. So in this birth story, this was with Rachel Givens. And at the time Rachel gave birth things were literally changing minute by minute at hospitals because of the pandemic. And she talked about how she and her husband prepared for the possibility that Rachel might have to give birth alone at the hospital, because that was happening in New York. At the time she'd shared what her overall experience was like. Um, her long labor, the importance of having a supportive community.

Nicole: And then she talked about how she navigated postpartum mastitis. I think episode is really popular because so many people want to know what it's like to give birth during COVID-19 and then specifically giving birth in New York. When we know that that was the big, hot spot area at the time. So I am not at all surprised that this episode is pretty popular. Now, for me, this episode was also meaningful because it was released about the same time that George Floyd was murdered by a police officer. And this was kind of a turning point for me in a way, and really being committed to showing up as my authentic self. I will say that as a black woman, you're often taught that in order to be successful and professional, that you have to maybe bend and fit in order to fit into predominantly white spaces. And although over the years, I have gotten more comfortable being myself, for sure, like I used to straighten my hair with chemicals now wear my hair natural. I do things like my ID badge has a picture of a black woman on it. Those kinds of things. I'm just really this year in particular with all of those things that were sparked by George Floyd just made me feel 10 times more comfortable. Like I am not going to hide any parts of myself or modify parts of myself in order to fit in any spaces. It's just not worth it. And it's harmful to myself and my health. So I can, at the same time say that I'm a Star Wars nerd, or my husband has turned me into one. We love the Mandalorian, we're Avengers nerds, but at the same time, feel comfortable saying that Black Panther has more significance for me because of the beautifulness of seeing black people being so successful on film.

Nicole: And I can talk about racism and feel comfortable. I can talk about things that are important to me, like abortion rights and being politically active and just being comfortable in my own skin and fully expressing myself and realizing that I don't have to fit in any spaces. I can just make my own spaces if I need to. And that's a really good feeling. So that was the start of that with this particular episode. All right. Number eight is episode number 57 Using The Bloom Method to Prepare Physically for Birth and Postpartum Healing with Brooke Kates. Now, of course, I talk a lot on the podcast about getting ready during your pregnancy and birth. And this was really the first time that I talked about doing so physically as well. And Brooke is the founder of the Bloom Method. It empowers expecting and postnatal moms with education and workouts and getting prepared for birth and preventing and healing injury, like common pelvic floor injuries. And I can see why this episode is popular because it's just not something that we talk about a lot. It's not even something that we're trained to even bring up a lot in traditional OB GYN training. So this was really like the beginning of me realizing like dang, we totally underutilize physical therapy, both during pregnancy and in the postpartum period. So I have really talked a lot more about the possibility or the, um, the idea or the thoughts of seeing a physical therapist during pregnancy and after pregnancy, in order to optimize, like getting ready for birth and then helping you heal in the postpartum period, for sure this helped open my eyes to that. All right, episode, let me get it straight, number seven is episode 50 10 Things To Help You Have Your Best Pregnancy, Birth and Life. And this was the episode that kicked off the beginning of 2020, right? Yes, 2020. And I talked about 10 pieces of advice to help during pregnancy birth and life in general. So not only was there some practical advice about having or getting the best care during your pregnancy. I also talked about some things like life in general and taking care of yourself physically, emotionally, and spiritually.

Nicole: And I have to say I was a little bit nervous about this episode because it was the first time that I was intentional about talking about more like personal development and mindset stuff. I totally have mind trash from time to time about imposter syndrome and feeling worthy about things. And I have not always been comfortable talking about that stuff. So this was the first time that I felt like intentional, that I was saying something that was outside of the pregnancy and birth space. That was more like life advice and feeling like this was something that I can do so, or that I can do and that I can speak about confidently and comfortably about. So I'm glad that the episode has resonated with folks and it shows up on the top 10 at number seven. Okay. So number six is episode 60 Sleeping, Caffeine, Deli Meats, Sex: Answers To Common Questions About Pregnancy.

Nicole: And this one was a little different because in this one, I just threw together a bunch of common questions that I get and just kind of put them all together in one episode, like small things that I knew didn't need a whole episode and kind of just put them together, you know, to make an episode. And I talked about things like sleeping on your side, deli meats, cheese, caffeine, all that kind of stuff. And also at the end of the episode my daughters make an appearance. They, I happened to leave up the, um, the notes for the episode, and then I was recording and then they just took it upon themselves to look at some of the notes and things that I had up and record a little piece themselves. So it was really fun to include a little snippet of their them into this conversation.

Nicole: I wonder if that's one of the reasons why the episode is popular. I honestly didn't think that this episode was going to be popular at all. I felt like it was something that I sort of threw together at the last minute. I was thinking, ooh, what I'm going to talk about? What can I do? What can I do? And so it's fun to see that it's actually the number six most downloaded episode of the podcast. And I'm wondering if it's, because I just answered a bunch of short questions quickly. I have found now that I've been doing live Q and A sessions on Instagram, I've been doing them a couple of times a month. You can follow me over there @drnicolerankins. I hope you do. If you don't already, I have some great times over there and I see the questions that I get.

Nicole: I get tons of questions. I can't even answer all the questions for the Q and A sessions. So maybe that's why it's a popular episode. Folks, just like to have those, those quick answers to questions. Okay. So number five is episode 73:Why We Need Better Preparation For the Postpartum Period with Dr. Christine Sterling, OB GYN. I'm always excited to have a fellow OB GYN on my podcast, especially, or particularly ones who share my philosophies and approach to helping pregnant people. And Christine teaches parents about the postpartum period. She has online courses. She does a lot on social media. She has like over 50,000 followers on Instagram. So she has a really great account there. And in this episode, she just talked about her tips for preparing for postpartum and mental health postpartum, and then just some really great information about getting ready for the postpartum period.

Nicole: So I'm not at all surprised that this is a popular episode. Now for me, this episode brings up a little bit of a struggle in that I have a lot of folks ask me about doing information for the postpartum period. I primarily focus on pregnancy and birth. I mean, the, the podcast is called pregnancy and birth, but I need to provide some information about the postpartum period because that starts immediately after birth. And I can't just be like, hey, have your baby, and then good luck. So I'm starting to include or incorporate more information and being intentional about it, both in the podcast and definitely in the Birth Preparation Course about information for the fourth trimester- those first three months postpartum. Now I will say, I don't know nothing about babies, other than taking care of my own. Like from time to time, I get people who send me messages and they're like, my one month old or my two month old is doing this.

Nicole: And I'm like, I, the, my knowledge as a physician about babies ends when I hand the baby over to the parents after that it is the, the domain of the pediatrician. So those questions are best asked or answered, uh, by a pediatrician. I just remember what I know from having my own girls who are now 11 and 13. So it's been a while. So I don't talk about things about babies, and will not talk about things about babies, because it's not what I know or do, but I am going to be more intentional about talking about that fourth trimester, the first three months postpartum. Okie dokie. Number four is episode 70 Labor Induction: What To Know and What Questions to Ask. In this particular episode, I talked about labor induction, what the process is like, whether you're having what's called an elective induction or being induced for a medical reason.

Nicole: I talked about medical, nonmedical reasons for induction, what you can expect from the different methods medication, some questions to ask. I also talk about the arrive trial, which has caused a lot of push for like inductions at 39 weeks by some OB GYNs. So I am not at all surprised this is one of the most popular episodes, because if I had to pick a topic that I get the most questions about, DMS, emails, things like that, it would be labor induction, for sure. So I'm not at all surprised about the popularity of this episode. And although I talk about labor induction in this episode, in the Birth Preparation Course I actually go into more detail about it. When I talk about more specific details about the risk and benefits of each of the medications and methods, and as I'm rerecording, can you tell I'm excited about rerecording the course? I keep talking about it. But as I'm rerecording, I'm doing a walkthrough of what a typical induction will be like. You know what you can expect more specifically from day to day, hour to hour, in a labor induction. So I'm excited about that. All right. So number three is episode 69: All About Breastfeeding And Breast Milk with Laurel Wilson. This was a great episode. Laura Wilson owns The Mother Journey. She also has a degree in maternal and child health. She's a certified Lactation consultant. She has many years of experience, over 26 years of experience in lactation and perinatal health and being a speaker and sharing her knowledge and lots of topics related to breastfeeding. She talked about obstacles parents face when breastfeeding, finding support, how to work through concerns, how to start getting prepared for breastfeeding even while you're still pregnant. And what was really fun is she talked about how human milk is designed scientifically to nourish babies and their microbiomes.

Nicole: We talked about skin to skin contact. It was just a really great episode and it wasn't like breastfeeding. You have to breastfeed or else. It was really just supporting families choices about feeding their children and giving them information so that they can make choices for themselves. I have to say that this was one of my favorite guest episodes. Laurel really knows her stuff. She's really passionate about what she does, and it was very more so science-based. So I really enjoyed that episode. Again, not surprised that you enjoyed it too. Okay. So number two and number one, I have to say honest to goodness, surprised me. I was really not expecting this at all. So the number two most downloaded podcast is episode number two: Giving Birth Without Medication In The Hospital. And in this episode of the podcast, I talk about some specific things to help you if you are planning an unmedicated birth in the hospital. Now, I was surprised about this because I honestly didn't think that people would go all the way back to those early episodes of the podcast. So I was really surprised to see that this is the number two most downloaded episode. And so it really opened my eyes in terms of the way that people are consuming information about the podcast. And I found that really helpful. Now, one of the things that I'm doing and y'all are going to get tired of me talking about this, the, the refresh of the course. I got it. I'm just so, so excited about it and just like making it better. So it better serves people, but I'm actually creating a downloadable guide about managing pain without medication that has all of these beautiful visuals and illustrations of positions that you can try both at home and at the hospital.

Nicole: So just something you can have handy when you are managing pain without medication. So I'm super excited about that. Okay. Now, here we are. We are down to number one, the number one most downloaded episode of the All About Pregnancy & Birth Podcast, drum roll please. Doo doo doo doo doo doo doo doo. That was a pitiful drum roll. But episode that has been downloaded the most times is episode number one: Nine Things You Need To Know Before Giving Birth. Yes, the very first episode of the podcast is the one that has been downloaded the most. And in this episode, I go through nine important things I think every pregnant woman person should know about giving birth. Now, when I go back and listen to snippets of this episode is like, oh my God, really me talking now I say snippets because the truth is I have never actually listened to an episode after it's like a whole episode after it's been released, even after I recorded it.

Nicole: And the editor sends it back to me. I, I haven't listened to the whole thing because one, I don't think I can just stand, like hearing my own voice talk for that long. And two, part of it has been like a little bit of fear, like, oh my God, what if I sound bad? What if I sound terrible and not wanting to like criticize myself? Obviously I know it's not bad or terrible because the podcast you guys tell me that it's not. And people tell me that my voice is soothing, which I still get surprised about, but I've never actually listened to a whole episode. I just rely and make changes on, on the episodes based on the feedback that you guys give me, not my own feedback from listening to it. So I listened to this and I'm like, woo wee. I put myself out there.

Nicole: I did the editing myself, at the time I was doing all the editing. I put all the music together. I uploaded it. I literally was doing everything for the first several months that this podcast was being released. And the fact that this first episode where it wasn't perfect and I wasn't, you know, I was doing all the things myself is just a lovely reminder to me that things don't have to be perfect. Things don't have to be super fancy. I just have to show up and put my heart and soul into the work and that comes through and you all appreciate it. So that really made me feel good that this first episode is the one that's been downloaded the most. So I appreciate that. Now, it just so happens that I am updating this episode and the updated version is going to kick off 2021.

Nicole: So I'm super excited about that. Okay. So just to recap, the top 10 most downloaded episodes of the All About Pregnancy & Birth podcast. Number 10 is episode 42: Proper Nutrition During Pregnancy. Number nine is episode 71: Rachel's Birth Story: Giving Birth In New York During COVID-19. Number eight is episode 57: Preparing Physically For Birth and Postpartum Healing with Brooke Kates from The Bloom Method. Number seven is episode 50:10 Things To Help You Have Your Best Pregnancy, Birth and Life. Number six is episode 60: Sleeping, Caffeine, Deli Meats, Sex: Answers To Common Questions About Pregnancy. Number five is episode 73:Why We Need Better Preparation For The Postpartum Period with Dr. Christine Sterling, OB GYN. Number four is episode 70: Labor Induction: What To Know And What Questions to Ask. Number three is episode 69: All About Breastfeeding And Breast Milk with Laurel Wilson. Number two is episode number two: Giving Birth Without Medication In The Hospital.

Nicole: And the number one most downloaded episode of the All About Pregnancy & Birth podcast is episode number one: Nine Things You'll Want To Know Before Giving Birth. So there you have it. Be sure to subscribe to the podcast in Apple Podcasts. So you never miss an episode or subscribe wherever you listen to podcasts. And I would love it if you leave an honest review in Apple Podcasts that really helps the show to grow. It helps other women people to understand what the show is about and help them understand that they should give it a listen, which of course they should. And also, don't forget to check out the Birth Preparation Course. As I said, 50 11 times during the episode, I am excited about the upgrades that are coming. And I have to say the price is probably going to go up a bit, with all of the content and things that I'm adding.

Nicole: So you can snag it now, especially if you're early in your pregnancy at the current price, you can go to drnicolerankins.com/enroll. And the course is great. Now, like I'm sensitive about that as well. Maybe a little bit, the course is great. Now I'm just really making it a lot better with the upgrade. So again, check that out at drnicolerankins.com/enroll. All right. That is it for this episode, do come on back next week. And until then, I wish you a beautiful pregnancy and birth. Thanks so much for listening to this episode of the All About Pregnancy & Birth podcast, head to my website, drnicolerankins.com to get even more great information, including free downloadable resources on how to manage pain and labor and warning signs to look out for after birth. You'll also find information on my free online class, on How To Make A Birth Plan That Works, as well as everything you need to know about my signature online childbirth education class, the Birth Preparation Course. Again, that's drnicolerankins.com and I will see you next week.