When Toronto doctors wanted to ease fears of a pandemic pregnancy, Instagram star was born

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The fact that PPG is run by volunteers means that patients and parents can trust its content, said Bogler.

“As healthcare providers, we were clear at the outset that providing evidence-based information means that it must be free from influence to be reliable,” she said. “We’re not trying to be like a mom Facebook group (although these are important) … it’s really about offering an evidence-based, multidisciplinary platform – and one run by doctors. “

Nakita Singh has followed PPG since her first article and has seen the account grow in tandem with her pregnancy.

A few days before giving birth, the Toronto television producer said PPG helped her stay healthy by offering advice on everything from breastfeeding to what to pack for the hospital – all on Instagram, an app she uses every day.

PPG also helped Singh, a first-time mom and Bogler patient, to feel connected during the months of self-isolation. As PPG gathered followers, more and more questions and shared their own experiences and perspectives with the group.

“It is really helpful to be part of a community and to know that you are not alone in what you are going through. ”

Singh rarely misses PPG’s live Instagram lessons with experts, especially those who focus on prenatal yoga and mindfulness techniques.

“They were really helpful at first,” she said. “We were in seclusion, and it was such an anxious time, but so many people could go on this platform and take a 30-minute break from their day to focus on their baby and their sanity. It was a blessing. ”

Bogler, along with Dr. Eliane Shore and Dr. Sheila Wijayasinghe, are the doctors who run PPG. As mothers, they know firsthand the difficulties that parents may face in the weeks and months before and after birth.

Bogler has twin daughters, now two and a half years old, who spent their first month at the NICU in St. Mike’s. She said the distressed experience was tempered by the empathetic care received by her family, particularly from the neonatologist Dr. Douglas Campbell, head of the NICU at the hospital.

“He instilled such calm in me; I wanted to offer this to other parents, ”said Bogler, who invited Campbell to make several interview-type videos for the PPG community, including one aimed at determining if people with COVID-19 could breastfeed safely . (Campbell told his subscribers that, so far, the evidence suggests that you can and that the known benefits of breastfeeding currently outweigh the risks).

“Parents had so many questions about the impact of the virus on their babies. I knew he could talk about the evidence and do it in a reassuring way without creating fear and anxiety. ”

Cheyanne Reed, a third-year medical student at the University of Toronto, has been helping to write, edit and monitor PPG content since April. She said the experience completed her clinical training, which was put on hold during the pandemic, and taught her to answer the types of questions faced by new and expectant parents.

“It gave me skills to help me communicate with patients,” said Reed, adding that she and the other medical students involved bring their social media and design skills to the project. “We know the technology; I’ve seen Instagram evolve and a lot of the information we get and digest is through social media. ”

Recently, Bogler and his team interviewed PPG subscribers about how the account can best support them as their pregnancies and parenting lives progress with the pandemic. Some 1,600 people responded, and the team will analyze the results to guide their journey.

“The pandemic will not end soon. We need to find out what other patients need to know. ”

Singh, who appreciates the range of voices and diverse perspectives presented by the Pandemic Pregnancy Guide, hopes that this will continue beyond the pandemic.

“It appeals to so many different people … It really reflects what’s going on in the world, and that’s what I like about it,” says Singh.

“There is something that every woman, every person, can relate to. ”

Megan Ogilvie is a Toronto reporter for The Star. Follow her on Twitter: @megan_ogilvie



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