It’s an exciting time when there’s a baby on the way, but pregnancy can also be fraught with anxiety and worry. Just ask Nikki Sapp Spoelstra, the wife of Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra, who revealed last week that she’s expecting their third child.
Through social media and her podcast, “The Know with Nikki Spo,” she has been very open about her past struggles and fears during pregnancy. Her first child, son Santiago Ray, was born at Baptist Hospital in March 2018, followed by his little brother, Dante Nicholas, in December 2019.
Recognizing that pregnancy can be exhilarating but also overwhelming, Nikki collaborated with Baptist Health in an Instagram Live session: Pregnant and Nervous? Here’s What to Expect to share tips and advice with other expectant moms. Joining her is Baptist Health obstetrician-gynecologist Peter Khamvongsa, M.D., who delivered her first two children and is guiding her through her current pregnancy.
Both agreed that developing solid communication and a good rapport is critical to helping expectant moms navigate their pregnancy, whether it’s their first child or their fifth.
“It is a special connection,” Dr. Khamvongsa explained. “You have to be open with your healthcare provider to address all the questions, issues, concerns, myths, and particularly all the nervousness you might have. I tell patients that I’m a mix between a priest and a hairdresser… I want know everything about them so we can address all the issues and concerns.”
Nikki Spoelstra said expectant mothers should feel “heard” by their healthcare providers. But that also means women must open up, advocate for themselves and share any challenges they are facing in order to get the care they need, she said.
“There were a lot of things that I could have been really scared to talk to you about, but because I was open with you and I didn’t hold back, you were able to support me through various scenarios in both of my pregnancies,” she told Dr. Khamvongsa. Now, she’s looking forward to going through the process with him again. “You’re my go-to person and I trust you wholeheartedly.”
Dr. Khamvongsa, a father of five, noted that every pregnancy is different, even if you’ve been through it before. Among many other topics, they also discussed birth plans; the importance of building trust with your obstetrician in case they must deviate from the plan; how to familiarize yourself with hospital facilities despite COVID-19 restrictions; and the difference between midwives and doulas.
“They play a role that definitely can complement your care,” said Dr. Khamvongsa, who served on the faculty at Georgetown University’s school of midwifery and also worked with midwives when he was in the U.S. Navy at Joint Base Andrews and Walter Reed Medical Center. For families planning to add a doula or nurse-midwife to their healthcare team, he suggests having them meet the obstetrician in advance.
If you’re wondering about the Spoelstra family’s happy addition, the baby is a girl, due in the fall. “We’re so excited to bring this new little human into our lives,” said Nikki Sapp Spoelstra, 35, who married Erik Spoelstra in 2016.
She said she decided to do an informational session on pregnancy “to empower women by maintaining and improving health, particularly in this special journey.”
But most of all, she said, she wanted to share, “For any moms out there who are pregnant and nervous, it’s totally normal to feel that way.”
To hear more of the discussion between Nikki Spoelstra and Dr. Khamvongsa, click here for the full Instagram Live.