“Giving birth should be your greatest achievement not your greatest fear.”

~Jane Weideman


Birth is Sacred. It is powerful, and mysterious, and life changing. After your birth, you and your partner will never be the same. Babies who come into this world without medication or interference are better able to find their way to the breast and to latch on in that first important hour. They are born alert and ready to meet you face to face. Mothers who are educated about birth and trust their bodies and attendants are more likely to have a smooth birth experience, and feel empowered in doing so.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

What is a Midwife?

We get asked all the time, "What is a midwife?"  Well, I'm here to answer the basics about what a midwife is...and isn't!

Monday, June 27, 2016

Top 10 Breastfeeing Problems Solved

From the bloggers at TheBump.com come the top 10 Breastfeeding difficulties and their solutions!  Our midwives at Embrace Birth Center are available to help you with all of your after-birth questions.  If you choose to use a Doula, which has SO many benefits, they are there to support you in the early stages of infant care.

Photo Credit: Very Important Date Photography

Top 10 Breastfeeding Problems Solved

It’s a natural process so it should be easy, right? But just like learning how to ride a bike, you need to learn how to breastfeed (and so does baby, by the way). We consulted with Jane Morton, MD, on how to handle the 10 most common breastfeeding problems.  She should know — she’s been teaching doctors, nurses, and lactation consultants how to teach the rest of us for more than 30 years. And she’s on staff at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford in Palo Alto, California.

Problem #1: Latching pain
It’s normal for your nipples to feel sore when you first start to breastfeed, especially if you’re a first-timer. But if baby has latched and the pain lasts longer than a minute into your feeding session, check the positioning.

Solution: Try to achieve an asymmetrical latch where baby’s mouth covers more of the areola below the nipple rather than above. To reposition him, place your index finger inside baby’s mouth to take him off your breast. Tickle his chin or wait until he yawns so his mouth is wide open and seize your opportunity. (Sandwich the breast as described in the video clip below to shape it to the baby’s mouth.) When he is correctly positioned, his chin and nose touch your breast, his lips splay out and you can’t see your nipple or part of the lower areola.

If baby’s position is correct and latching on still hurts, your nipples may be dry. Make sure to wear loose clothing and avoid washing with soap. Lanolin-based creams are good for applying between feedings.

Problem #2: Cracked nipples
Cracked nipples can be the result of many different things: thrush (see #6), dry skin, pumping improperly, or most likely, latching problems. During the first week of breastfeeding, you may have bloody discharge when your baby is just learning to latch or you are just beginning to pump. A little blood, while kind of gross, won’t harm baby.

Solution: Check baby’s positioning — the bottom part of your areola underneath your nipple should be in baby’s mouth. Also, try breastfeeding more frequently, and at shorter intervals. The less hungry baby is, the softer his sucking will be.
As tempting as it is to treat your cracked nipples with anything you can find in your medicine cabinet, soaps, alcohol, lotions, and perfumes are no good — clean water is all you need to wash with. Try letting some milk stay on your nipples to air dry after feeding (the milk actually helps heal them). You can also try taking a mild painkiller like acetaminophen or ibuprofen 30 minutes before nursing. If all this fails, try an over-the-counter lanolin cream, specially made for nursing mothers and use plastic hard breast shells inside your bra.

Problem #3: Clogged/plugged ducts
Ducts clog because your milk isn’t draining completely. You may notice a hard lump on your breast or soreness to the touch and even some redness. If you start feeling feverish and achy, that’s a sign of infection and you should see your doctor. Most importantly try not to have long stretches in between feedings — milk needs to be expressed often. A nursing bra that is too tight can also cause clogged ducts. Stress (something all new mommies have an overabundance of) can also affect your milk flow.

Solution: Do your best to get adequate rest (you should recruit your partner to pick up some slack when possible). Also, try applying warm compresses to your breasts and massage them to stimulate milk movement.

Clogged ducts are not harmful to your baby because breastmilk has natural antibiotics. That said, there’s no reason why you have to suffer. Breastfeeding should be enjoyable for mom and baby.

Problem #4: Engorgement/high milk supply
Engorgement makes it difficult for baby to latch on to the breast because it’s hard and un-conforming to his mouth.

Solution: Try hand-expressing a little before feeding to get the milk flowing and soften the breast, making it easier for baby to latch and access milk. Of course, the more you nurse, the less likely your breasts are to get engorged.

Problem #5: Mastitis
Mastitis is a bacterial infection in your breasts marked by flu-like symptoms such as fever and pain in your breasts. It’s common within the first few weeks after birth (though it can also happen during weaning) and is caused by cracked skin, clogged milk ducts, or engorgement.

Solution: The only sufficient way to treat the infection is with antibiotics, hot compresses, and most importantly, frequent emptying. Use hands-on pumping, making sure the red firm areas of the breast and the periphery are softened. It’s safe and actually recommended that you continue breastfeeding when you have mastitis.

Problem #6: Thrush
Thrush is a yeast infection in your baby’s mouth, which can also spread to your breasts. It causes incessant itchiness, soreness, and sometimes a rash.

Solution: Your doctor will need to give you antifungal medication to put on your nipple and in baby’s mouth — if you’re not both treated at the same time, you can give each other the fungi and prolong healing.

Problem #7: Low milk supply
Breastfeeding is a supply-and-demand process. If your doctor is concerned about baby’s weight gain, and he is being plotted on the World Health Organization curves designed for breastfeeding babies, this may be the problem.

Solution: Frequent nursing and hands-on pumping during the day can help increase milk supply. Surprisingly, forcing fluids and eating more calories or different foods hasn’t been shown to increase milk production.

Problem #8: Baby sleeping at breast
Baby is sleepy in the first couple of months after birth (hey, he’s been through a lot) so falling asleep while nursing is common. All that bonding makes baby relaxed!

Solution: Milk flow is fastest after your first let-down, so if you want to increase efficiency, start off at the fuller breast, then switch to the other breast sooner, rather than later. When you notice baby’s sucking slowing down and his eyes closing, remove him from your breast and try to stimulate him by burping, tickling his feet, or gently talking to him while rubbing his back, and then switch breasts. As baby gets older he’ll be able to stay awake longer, so don’t fret.

Problem #9: Inverted/flat nipples
You can tell if you have flat or inverted nipples by doing a simple squeeze test:  Gently grab your areola with your thumb and index finger — if your nipple retracts rather than protrudes, you’ve got a problem, Houston. Not really. But breastfeeding will be more challenging.

Solution: Use a pump to get the milk flowing before placing baby at your nipple and use breast shells between feeds. Once you feel like your milk supply is adequate, try using nipple shields if baby still has problems latching.

Problem #10: Painful/overactive let down
Your breast is like a machine — when you let down, all the milk-producing engines constrict to move the milk forward and out of your nipple. Sometimes the working of these inner parts can hurt, especially when in overdrive. Some mothers feel a prickly pins-and-needles sensation and others just get an achy feeling.

Solution: If this feeling of pins and needles goes beyond a mere tingling and feels more like a hundred little daggers poking your breasts, you need to check for a breast infection (yeast or bacteria). Sometimes this pain develops when you have an excessive amount of milk. Try feeding baby longer on one particular breast and switching to the other only if you need to. If the result is an infection (fever, aches, and chills may be present), you’ll need to get antibiotics from your doctor. No matter how unpleasant it is for you, it’s still safe for baby to nurse.

By Dara Pettinelli

To view the original article, click here.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Partner-led Massage Class at Embrace Wellness Collective

How are you and your partner spending your Saturday evening?  Why not spend "date night" learning how to support your pregnant partner through prenatal massage?  Licensed massage therapist Brandon Slater will be hosting a free class at Embrace Birth Center's Wellness Collective on Saturday, June 25th at 6pm to guide you through safe and effective massage techniques.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

How Much Sleep Kids Really Need

It's officially Summer!  With longer days, and school no longer in session, it's hard to maintain a regular schedule.  However, just because it's summer, doesn't mean kids (and YOU!) don't need their sleep.  It's important for brain development, stress management, and long-term health.  From Time.com, is an article explaining how much and why everyone needs to still needs to get in their Zs.

Here's How Much Sleep Babies and Kids Need, By Age

By: Alice Park

Sleep experts combed through hundreds of studies to determine how much children of different ages should sleep to be at their healthiest

It’s no secret that adults aren’t getting enough sleep, and that’s a problem since more research is confirming that poor sleep can have lasting effects on health, including things like obesity and heart disease.

And the same is true for children. While kids with bed times have an easier time of getting enough sleep than adults, the intrusion of smartphones and tablets and social media, not to mention growing pressures at school, are also keeping kids up at night.

To help parents know how much sleep is enough, a group of 13 sleep experts convened by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine have issued sleep recommendations that have been endorsed by a number of health groups, including the American Academy of Pediatrics. Based on what they found in 864 studies that tracked children’s sleep and their health outcomes, they found that children sleeping the recommended amounts below on a regular basis enjoyed fewer attention, behavior, and learning problems as well as lower rates of obesity, hypertension, and depression. But there was a limit to the benefit; too much sleep was associated with higher rates of diabetes, obesity, and mental health issues.

Here’s how much sleep they recommend for children at different ages:

Babies 4 to 12 months 12 to 16 hours

Children 1 to 2 years 11 to 14 hours

Children 3 to 5 years 10 to 13 hours

Children 6 to 12 years 9 to 12 hours

Teens 8 to 10 hours

To view the original article, click here.

Prenatal & Baby-Wearing Yoga Series

The Wellness Collective at Embrace Birth has two amazing yoga classes coming up, both starting on July 2nd!  Jessica Turner, a pre-natal yoga instructor as well as one of our Doula interns, is offering a 4 week series for Prenatal Yoga AND Baby-Wearing Yoga classes! Spots are limited so be sure to register today!

Prenatal Yoga
12:30 pm - 1:30 pm
4 Week Series in July, $60!
July: 2nd, 9th, 16th, 23rd

In prenatal yoga, you can...
find relief from the discomforts of pregnancy
learn practical tools to aid in relaxation for a calm, engaged birth
practice physical postures (asana) for comfort and ease during labor and birth
explore the mind-body-breath connection
cultivate peace and positivity towards your body, your birth, and your baby
offer and receive wisdom amid a safe, non-judgmental community of mothers

Baby-Wearing Yoga
11:30 am - 12:30 pm
4 Week Series, $60!
July: 2nd, 9th, 16th, 23rd

Move with your baby!
Meet other mamas!
Have fun!

Only a few spots are still available so, please EMAIL jess.turner.yoga@gmail.com TO REGISTER!

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Chemical Free Options for Pregnancy, Babies & Children - Essential Oils Class!

So many families want to be chemical-free, organic, holistic, local and all of the above!  But, unfortunately, not everyone has the time to do all the research and sourcing that goes behind such an intentional lifestyle.  That's why we've created our Chemical Free Options for Pregnancy, Babies & Children class! Whether you are expecting or have a new baby, toddler, or young child at home, there are special considerations you want to make when it comes to your bundle of joy and the use of natural and chemical-free options. We can help you find some great essential oils for different needs, including understanding important safety concerns.  Dora Doyle, our expert at Young Living and co-founder of Heathier Oil the Thyme, will be giving tips, advice and recommendations for using essential oils to enhance your daily life.

When: Friday, June 17th from 7 pm - 8 pm
Where: Embrace Midwifery Care & Birth Center
              124 Buford Rd.
              North Chesterfield, VA 23235

For more information or to RSVP, email: Heathieroilthethyme@gmail.com or call (804)385-9455

Those that RSVP will receive a free gift, although it is not required to attend!

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

The Birth Center Difference

We'd love to answer any and all questions you may have about what kind of care our Birth Center, Midwives, and Doulas can provide for you!  We offer tours twice a week- Tuesday afternoons at 1 pm and Saturday mornings at 9 am.  We also offer lots of classes, workshops, and opportunities to meet our talented and trained staff. Check our calendar for daily events!  We know our care can make your birth experience everything you hope it will be!

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Doulas Provide Emotional, Physical and Educational Support

Our Doula interns had a great time at the Doula Speed Dating event last night, we were happy to help those couples with their questions about the benefits of a doula.  Every doula is there for educational, emotional and physical support both during and after pregnancy.  Some have backgrounds in physical therapy, others in yoga or massage, but they all share a passion for giving you the experience you want and support without judgment!

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

NBC12 News Coverage!

We got a great write up and video from NBC 12!

The first free-standing, midwife-led birth center just opened its doors in Chesterfield.

The Embrace Midwifery Birth Care and Resource Center and Embrace Wellness Collective opened this week off Buford Road. The facility hosts a number of services, but the focus is prenatal care, birth, and care in the weeks that follow.

“We have a lot of different services,” said Corina Hossle. “Our midwifery care covers all prenatal care, labor, birth, and post-partum care. We have two birth suites. So, we have the whole gamut of the child-bearing year covered.”

Hossle is a licensed midwife, so she also cares for mothers and babies for six weeks after birth.

“We have a nurse midwife who is offering well-woman care, birth control, IUDs, all the hormonal replacements for perimenopausal and menopausal women,” said Hossle.  “We have a wellness collective with the green baby store going in. We have doulas, we have a doula internship program, we have yoga, and child-bearing classes. We have lactation support, we’re really working hard to be a one-stop-shop for Richmond families in the area.”

What's different is the hands-on, low-intervention philosophy. We're told moms can catch their own babies. The practice also promotes skin-to-skin bonding. And they say IVs don't get started unless they are really medically required.

“We are so committed to parents and unmedicated, empowered birth. So, our job here is to just give them another option. Healthy moms having healthy babies can have babies out of hospitals and we believe that that's a good option for them," said Hossle, who she already has more than a dozen babies booked to be born at the facility. “Women are really starting to seek out an alternative birth experience. They want to be in charge of their birth and not be delivered of their babies.  So, this gives them the opportunity to really step into that space.”

For those unfamiliar with how an independent birth center might work, we asked her about what they do in an emergency.

“We do all the same tests that a doctor can do,” said Hossle. “We order all the same labs that a hospital would require, but we truly believe that interventions need to be truly required to stop into that space.”

Hossle also pointed to the ambulance crew directly across the street and she says they have a transfer agreement in place with some hospitals.

“We ask them to give us a call and we’ll talk with them a little bit on the phone and we will be offering tours on a weekly basis so they can come and see the birth centers, see if it is the right option- ask their questions. We offer free consultations and interviews so they truly can see if we’re who they want to choose for their providers. And then they begin care with us.”

Hossle says they are Medicaid providers and they also have an insurance billing program in place.

Monday, June 6, 2016

Doula Speed Dating

Are you thinking about using a doula as a part of your birth plan?  Then please come to our Doula Speed Dating event this Wednesday at 6pm to meet and greet with Embrace Birth's Doula team! Whether you're an Embrace client or not, we invite all expecting families to join us for light refreshments and a chance to meet your local doulas.  Doulas are like birthing coaches, they can help you with techniques to manage pain during labor and are there to give you emotional, physical and informational support before, during, and after your birth.  Come learn all the benefits of having a doula and get an opportunity to meet....The Right One!

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Hypno- Birthing Classes!

I fell in love with HypnoBirthing in Trinidad and Tobago, but tonight I am sitting with another first time mom who is close to transition and still smiling and peacefully chatting between contractions. If you are a first, or second, time mama who is getting ready to have a baby, give us a call and let us connect you with Hypnobirthing! Classes available starting this month!

Visit JoyfulBirthRVA.com for more info!

What is HypnoBirthing?

HypnoBirthing is a tried and proven method that guides and prepares a woman in giving birth in a peaceful and extraordinarily beautiful manner.  It is a program  that considers the psychological, as  well as the physical, well-being of the mother, her birth partner, and the newborn, independent of context, whether that be in the quiet of a home, a hospital, or a birth center.

The HypnoBirthing program is built around an educational process that includes special breathing, relaxation, visualization, meditative practice, attention to nutrition and positive body toning. Most importantly it fosters an air of mutual respect for the birthing family, as well as the health-care provider in a traditional health-care system or an alternative setting.

Class Specifics

5 classes last approximately 2 ½ hours each.  Group class sizes are limited to ensure comfort, understanding, and well monitored hypnotic sessions.  The cost of HypnoBirthing classes includes a book, 2 CDs, and numerous handouts for essential home practice.  

Unless specified otherwise, classes are held at the HypnoBirthing studio at 8401 Mayland Drive, Suite C, Henrico VA 23294

If a class is listed, vacant seats remain

Upcoming HypnoBirthing class series are beginning on:

***Tuesday June 7th 7:00pm - 9:30pm weekly, ending on July 5th*** This series is for families that are planning to birth outside of a hospital and will be held at Embrace Midwifery Resource Center.  To sign-up please visit: http://www.embracebirthva.org/ 

Sunday July 10th 2:00pm - 4:30pm weekly, ending on August 7th

Thursday August 4th 7:00pm - 9:30pm weekly, ending on September 8th *There will not be a class on August 18th*

Saturday September 10th 10:00 - 12:30 weekly, ending on October 15th

Thursday October 13th 7:00 - 9:30pm weekly, ending on November 10th

If these times do not suit you, we can work together to find ones that do.  Please register in advance by paying the class deposit and leaving a "note to seller" stating which class time you are signing up for.  From there I will contact you with additional details.  I would love to work with your family to bring about the most satisfying birth experience possible!