“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.

Friday, July 29, 2016

Support Our Community Care Circle with Urban Baby Beginnings!

For those of you who have wondered what kind of program we have cooking for our Community Care Circle, tonight's the night! We welcome all community supporters to meet and mingle with us as we share the vision and mission of quality care for all mothers and babies. We'll all be available at the Embrace Wellness Center, 124 Buford Rd., 6-8 pm.

We will begin our Community Care Circle informational time for mothers every Friday from 5pm - 6pm starting August 5th!

What We Provide

Based on your individual needs, the following services may be available:

Midwifery Services Include:

  • 20 - 30 minute prenatal check
    • monthly through week 28
    • every 2 weeks from week 29 - 36
    • weekly from week 36 - delivery
  • Routine lab work
  • Postpartum visit
Supportive Services Include:
  • Birth Doula to support you while you labor
  • Postpartum Doula when home
  • Breastfeeding education and support
  • Home Visiting Program
  • Licensed Perinatal Home Health for high risk pregnancies and more
  • NICU Graduate Safe Landing Program
  • HEAL Program (Help Educate After Loss)
  • Transportation to and from your Midwifery appointment at Embrace or help setting up
  • Community Referrals as appropriate
Educational Events to Include:
  • Childbirth education
  • Yoga classes
  • Daddy Bootcamp
  • Newborn Care Education
How Mothers Can Get Started - Medicaid recipients automatically qualify for services**
  1.  Request a referral from your MD office or Social Worker
  2. Once a referral is received, an intake Coordinator will contact you to set up an appointment.
**Clients with no insurance will be accepted for supportive services on a sliding scale basis.

Stephanie Spencer, RN, BA, CBE, LD
Director of Health Services

Urban Baby Beginnings
1704 W. Laburnum Ave
Richmond, VA 23227

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Birth Affirmations for Pregnancy & Labor

Your mind is powerful, put it to good use with reassuring affirmations for you and your baby.

The Power of Birth Affirmations
By Rebecca Gruber

Hypnobirthing isn't for everyone, but for moms-to-be who are planning a natural childbirth, classes can provide them with tools in their tool belts to help them learn techniques to relax and cope with the intensity of labor and delivery. Instructors tend to hand out CDs remind laboring moms to focus on breathing and positive thoughts, and though it sounds a little weird, it can honestly be really helpful. One of the CDs is often filled with birth affirmations, which you've probably heard about in prenatal yoga classes. You basically say a positive statement either in your mind or out loud, and it helps dissipate fears and manifest the feelings you want to experience. Based on advice from moms who've been through it, we wanted to share some birth affirmations that have built their confidence and made them feel more prepared for childbirth.

  • Our baby's birth will occur at just the right time and just the right way.
  • I trust my body to grow my baby, and I trust my body to birth my baby.
  • My body is strong enough to birth this baby.
  • I enjoy experiencing the power of my body as my birthing muscles bring my baby to me.
  • With each amazing wave, I am letting go more easily.
  • I am releasing to these sensations.
  • I let these waves wash through me as I go deeper into relaxation.
  • I am connected to myself. I am connected to my partner. We are connected to our baby.
  • I welcome strong waves that are bringing my baby closer.
  • Every contraction brings me closer to our baby.
  • The stronger my contractions become, the sooner I meet my baby.
  • I breathe slowly and easily, and it helps my body to let go.
  • I breathe to my baby, and let my breath flow down and out my baby's birth path to show my baby the way.
  • My body is so open that my baby just slides right out and into my arms.
  • I am calm, I am safe, I am relaxed.

Hearing these for the first time is a little odd (or reminds you of SNL's Jack Handey), but if you can get passed feeling weird and say them to yourself, they will help replace your fears with positive feelings.

If you have any affirmations to share, we'd love to hear them as well.

To read the original article, click here.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Intro to Cloth Diapering from Green Baby Planet

Are you interested in cloth diapering but not really sure where to start?  Green Baby Planet at the Embrace Wellness Collective is offering a class, Intro to Cloth Diapering Saturday, July 23rd at 1 pm! Here's a little 101 info on the subject to give you some insight into the benefits of cloth diapering!

Cloth Diapers 101
By Allison Pennell from Parents Magazine

Think cloth diapers are impractical? Think again. They've changed a lot since Grandma's day. Here are the facts.

Cloth Diapers: The Basics
For disposable users out there who wince when contemplating your family's personal contribution to the local landfill but even more so at the thought of the alternative, cloth diapers are an option you may want to consider again. They're not what they once were.

Say goodbye to your notions of the pins, the big square pieces of cotton, leaky kids, and the daunting task of cleaning up. Easily laundered all-in-one diapers are the order of the day. With snaps or Velcro closures, waterproof banding around the waist and legs, and natural, breathable fibers that require no soaking, cloth diapers can be a more palatable choice than you may imagine.

For the fashion conscious, there are all the cool patterns to consider. For those concerned with keeping little bottoms pristine, you won't have to worry about blowouts and suspicious chemicals used in making disposables so absorbent. Add to this the potential savings and you may want to give cloth-diapering a try.

The Bottom Line
If you go cloth and launder them yourselves, the cost over three years will be between $800 and $1100, half as much as disposables. And diapering a second child will only cost you the laundering (about $400 for three years).

Home Laundering 101
Don't worry that your house will become a toxic waste dump. There's no longer any need to soak, rinse, or flush a diaper. Simply shake solids into the toilet and drop the diaper into a plastic-lined pail after a change. When the pail is full, tip into your washer. Wash once with a detergent like Tide or Cheer Free, reset washer, add more detergent, and wash again. Don't use bleach. Rinse twice to be sure all residue detergent is completely rinsed away and dry on hot. Not as bad as you thought! And it won't leave your washer stinky. It will be exactly as clean as the diaper and drains to the same place your toilet does.

Stocking the Changing Table
Experts estimate that you'll need about 2-3 dozen diapers if you get to the wash every third day, about 75-80 if you use a weekly diaper service. Many diaper services include diaper rentals in their price but you sacrifice choice.

Eco-Friendly Diaper Services
If your motivation to use cloth isn't based on finances, and the prospect of home laundering is an intimidating one, you may want to opt for a local diaper service. As a rule, services now use biodegradable detergents in their cleaning process rather than the harmful phosphates of old. Like disposables, the costs of using a diaper service plus diaper covers will fall in the range of $2000-$2500 over a three year period.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

To Push or Not To Push? Only you can answer that question!

The more research that goes into birth, the more we find out how instincts and natural intuition plays a role in successful birthing.  As a western culture we have grown accustom to doctors telling us how to care for our bodies as if it were separate from ourselves.  Ultimately, if we are in tune with our bodies, we can decide the right steps to take as long as we have access to good information!  That is our ultimate goal at Embrace Midwifery & Birth Center, to equip you with good information for you to make the best decision for yourself!  We believe all birth is beautiful and agree with Dr. Rachel Reed, the author of this wonderful article that, "a powerful, primal, loud and ‘out of control’ birth is just as amazing and valid as a gentle, quiet ‘in control’ birth."

Pushing: leave it to the experts
By Dr. Rachel Reed

A birthing woman is the expert regarding when and how she pushes. Providing directions implies she needs our guidance and we are the experts. Of course each woman and birth situation is different and in some circumstances guidance may be helpful for a woman. This post will examine the implications of telling women when to push, how to push and not to push during birth.

This post is based on part of a literature review I carried out for my PhD. You can find more information and the reference list in my Phd thesis (p.19 to 24) or on a research poster you can download here.

Telling women to push

There is overwhelming evidence that directed pushing results in increased morbidity for both mother and baby, and amongst other things is associated with: Mother – altering body fluid pH resulting in inefficient uterine contractions; maternal fatigue; and metabolic acidosis. Baby – interferes with the gradual descent and rotation and increases risk of hypoxia.

In addition directed pushing does not reduce the duration of the ‘second stage’. However it does result in the common scenario of: Woman is directed to push = baby becomes hypoxic and fetal heart rate abnormalities are heard… woman is shouted at to push harder to get her stressed baby out quickly… woman pushes harder… baby becomes more hypoxic and stressed… obstetrician is called in to rescue the baby and pull it out.

Telling women not to push

The cervical lip

The most common reason for telling a women not to push is that her cervix is not fully dilated. Often when a baby is in an occipito posterior position the woman will feel the urge to push before the cervix is completely open. She is then told not to push because the lip will swell up (and/or tear) and prevent the baby from descending. Not pushing is an almost impossible task and many women in this situation opt for, or are encouraged to have an epidural so they can stop pushing. The baby is then less likely to rotate into an anterior position because the pelvic floor tone is reduced and the woman is unable to move.

There is no evidence to support his notion of a swelling cervix and I am yet to encounter the situation as a result of  ‘premature pushing’. In some cultures it is tradition for the woman to push with each and every contraction from the beginning of labour. Surely these cultures would have died out if the outcome had been swollen/torn cervices and stuck babies. Studies (Borrelli, Locatelli & Nespoli 2013; Downe et al. 2008) have found that the incidence of ‘early pushing urge’ EPU (as it is referred to in the literature) is between 20% to 40% and is not associated with complications.

When we tell a woman not to push the message is ‘your body is not working correctly and is sending you the wrong messages – you need to fight against it’. Fighting her body until she is ‘allowed’ to push may result in difficulty switching into trusting and following her body once given the ‘go ahead’ (Bergstrom 1997). For more information about pushing and cervical lips see this post.

Breathe don’t push***

I need to breathe before I write this next bit as I am sure it will offend many – some of them my friends. So please feel free to comment and share your alternative views. Here goes… there seems to be a growing trend of telling women to resist their instinctive urge to push. The idea is to ‘breathe’ the baby down gently, and it does sound lovely. However, I have spoken to a number of women whose birth stories conveyed a sense of failure because they were unable to achieve this gentle ‘birth breathing’. I have also seen women attempting this during birth – struggling to breath upwards lightly to avoid the guttural downward pull of their body.

Hypnobirthing – the Mongan method seems to be one of the key advocates of this no-push technique and I recently read the book in an attempt to understand the approach. Overall the book has many positive messages for women about their innate ability to birth. However, I have concerns regarding some of the concepts (which I will blog about in the future) in particular ‘birth breathing’ . I agree that staff directed pushing is not good (see above) but I disagree with the following quote: “Often women speak of an overwhelming urge to push taking over. If this is felt it is also because of conditioning… our animal sisters elect to gently expel their babies” (Mongan 2005, p.129)

Pushing is physiological and instinctive, and a feature of all mammalian births. To tell a woman that if she pushes she has given in to external programming and her baby will not enjoy a gentle birth is disempowering – especially for those who fail to override their ‘conditioning’. A powerful, primal, loud and ‘out of control’ birth is just as amazing and valid as a gentle, quiet ‘in control’ birth.

***We strongly believe in choice, and while we are strong advocates of Hypnobirthing, we don't believe in edited or convenient information.  We have had an amazing success rate with our Hypno-mamas, and while we don't practice telling mothers when to push, we have too many amazing births and testimonies to reject its effectiveness and find that it does facilitate calmer births.

Suggestions for Midwives


  • Find out what the woman’s expectations are about this part of labour.
  • Reinforce her belief in her own innate ability to birth and explain that this is the reason you will not be telling her how and when to push. This is important as some women will interpret a lack of instructions as a lack of support if they are expecting to be told what to do (Anderson 2010; Parnell et al. 1993).
  • Encourage first time mothers to talk to other women and read birth stories written by birthing women. This will give her some idea about what it may feel like, and how different it is for each woman.
  • Show her ways to connect with her body and relax her pelvic tissues so that she can use this in labour if needed. 
  • If the woman is planning a hospital birth she will need to be prepared for hospital practices including directed pushing – a Doula and a birth plan can help. The Maternity Coalition have a good info sheet aimed at parents.

During birth

  • Avoid interfering with the physiological process ie. only do or say something if it is really necessary.
  • If the woman tells you she feels the urge to push, reassure her that this is good. Don’t tell her to push. There will come a point when she is pushing rather than feeling an urge to. Gloria Lemay has recorded an audio ‘pushing for first time mothers’ explaining why this is so important, especially for first time mothers.
  • If she is extremely tense and the baby is not descending encourage her to use the techniques she learned antenatally to relax her pelvic tissues and open.

In essence – telling women when to push, how to push or not to push contradicts the notion that women are the experts in their own births.

Pushing with an epidural

The information above is about physiological birth i.e. a woman birthing without intervention. An epidural can alter the ‘urge to push’ and prolong the descent of the baby once the cervix is open. An evidence based approach to pushing with an epidural is to wait until the baby’s head is visible i.e. is almost birthed. Then, if required, actively push to birth the baby… it should only take a few pushes. This approach reduces the chance of an instrumental delivery and decreases pushing time (Brancato et al. 2008). I have worked in a hospital where this was the standard approach and there was a lot less fetal distress and perineal trauma for women with epidurals.

It is also beneficial to help women with epidurals to get off their sacrum to increase pelvic space. So, semi-supine is perhaps the worst possible position. Many women can move and kneel or squat with an epidural – if not a side lying position allows the sacrum and coccyx to shift backwards.

For more great information and to read this article, visit MidwifeThinking.com

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

VBACs More Likely When You Call The Midwife!

We love finding new science that supports the effectiveness and practices of midwife-led births!  There are many reasons why vaginal births are preferred after a caesarean- from preventing ailments such as asthma or an impaired immune system to a lowered risk of type 2 diabetes.  The study found that the rates of VBAC were higher when a midwife was the main care provider.

Natural births after caesarean more likely if you call the midwife

Date: April 20, 2016

Source: Manchester University

Summary: Women who had a caesarean section in a previous pregnancy are much more likely to have a safer vaginal birth if their antenatal care is led by a midwife, according to a new study.

Women who had a caesarean section in a previous pregnancy are much more likely to have a safer vaginal birth if their antenatal care is led by a midwife, according to a new study from The University of Manchester.

Although caesarean sections are safe, research is increasingly showing that vaginal birth and labour protects against long term-risks such as impaired immune response, asthma, obesity and type 2 diabetes in the baby. As a result there is a growing emphasis placed by health authorities on promoting vaginal birth after caesarean (VBAC) where it is safe to do so.

The new Manchester study, published in the journal Birth, is the first to evaluate the influence on VBAC rates of midwife-led antenatal care as opposed to care led by an obstetrician.

Using patient records, 405 women giving birth at one hospital after a previous caesarean were examined in two groups. The first group was from 2008 when antenatal care was led by obstetricians and, following a change in hospital policy in 2009-2010, the second group was drawn from women who had received midwife-led antenatal care in 2011.

The number of women who intended to give birth by VBAC in 2011 was 90.3 percent, against 77 percent in 2008. Those who actually achieved VBAC was also higher in the midwife-led group with 61.2 percent instead of 46.9 percent. Both represented significant increases in VBAC when antenatal care was led by a midwife.

Dr Helen White, a midwifery lecturer in the University's School of Nursing, Midwifery and Social Work, led the research. She said: "There were few differences between the two groups of women we studied, so the main variance was the professional responsible for their care.

"Where it can be achieved safely, vaginal birth is preferable, but there's a real issue with women who have had a caesarean once, opting for the same again. There aren't many initiatives out there to break this cycle so this finding is important for providing evidence that midwives are best placed to promote vaginal birth."

The authors of the study are not proposing that women should reject caesarean birth when they are advised to do so, but suggest that midwives are important figures in promoting VBAC in suitable women.

There is a three year gap between the two groups of women but in terms of age, socio-economics, ethnic group and other variables, the groups are similar. The only significant change was the change in policy to midwife led care in the hospital. The results are also unlikely to be due to cultural changes over time as the VBAC rates across England more generally did not change during the study period.

Dr White added: "The more we understand the role of the microbes living in the vagina, the more we are uncovering the protective effects of labour and natural birth against conditions such as diabetes and obesity.

"Midwife led care is cost-effective and, if it safely reduces the number of repeat caesarean sections, then it's even more beneficial for mothers and babies."

For the full study, please visit ScienceDaily.com

Friday, July 15, 2016

Beginning the Birth Journey...A Community Class at Ellwood Thompson's

Corina Hossle will be speaking at The Beet Cafe community classroom at Ellwood Thompson's on Wednesday, August 3rd at 6:30pm for an educational hour about beginning the beautiful birth journey!

Join us as we Begin the Birth Journey…

From Conscious Conception through the First Trimester, the emotional, physical and spiritual well-being of both Mothers and Fathers impact their baby’s development and future…the cells that will create your baby are being nourished now!   Corina Hossle, Midwife and Birth Center Founder, will lead you through an informative and inspiring evening, giving you the tools you need to create an optimal pregnancy and birth.

While discussing the importance of preconception nutrition, we’ll cover simple and effective ways to increase your health.  Learn natural tricks to help you thrive— and not just survive, the physical changes and challenges of the first trimester.  Take away accurate and up-to-date information on the safety of herbs, homeopathics and essential oils during these critical first weeks of fetal development.

Partners are welcome!

This class is FREE!

Thursday, July 14, 2016

August Prenatal Yoga & Baby-Wearing Yoga Classes!

Jessica Turner is opening August registration for her amazing Prenatal and Baby Wearing Yoga Classes! Make sure to sign up today for one of the 4-week series that starts Saturday, August 6th!

Baby Wearing Yoga Series
4 Weeks in August, $60.
11:30 am - 12:30 pm
Current Dates: August 6, 13, 20, 27!
At Embrace Wellness Collective
124 Buford Road

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

To register,  email Jessica Turner: jess.turner.yoga@gmail.com

Prenatal Yoga Series
4 Week Series in August, $60!
10:30 am - 11:30 am
Current Dates: August 6, 13, 20, 27!
At Embrace Wellness Collective
124 Buford Road

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

EMAIL jess.turner.yoga@gmail.com TO REGISTER!

Monday, July 11, 2016

Natural Childbirth In An Unnatural World

A thoughtful, and thought-provoking blog from Stephanie Morrow of BlogHer.com makes the plea to modern women everywhere to make an informed decision about their birth in an "unnatural world." We are constantly surrounded by the images of mothers in horrible pain when labor begins and dramatic moments of the water breaking.  While all that makes for good drama on television- it's not reality for most births!  She certainly lays the groundwork for good research points, and closes it up with something that we definitely believe in here at Embrace Birth Midwifery Care & Birth Center: "YOUR body, YOUR baby, YOUR decision."
Photo Credit: stephanie2morrow
Why You Won't Have a Natural Birth
By: Stephanie Morrow
I rarely rant. I almost never rave. If I seem taller than usual, it's more likely from my new sparkly summer wedges than from standing on a soapbox. But ... well ... I want to say something that's going to make some of you furious and others of you feel justified:
Natural childbirth is not possible in an unnatural world.
And we do live in an unnatural world -- X-Men, Photoshop, reality tv, fast food, Donald Trump's hair -- and we believe what we see. (Except maybe for the hair.)
Our culture encourages those same "unreal" perceptions regarding childbirth. Movies and tv shows tell us labor will begin with intense pain and agony. We are shown images of women screaming and begging to be medicated. We told to freak out when water breaks and rush to the hospital. We listen to the horror stories of our "friends." We ignorantly put ourselves in the hands of people who are exceptionally well-trained to handle abnormalities and emergencies, hence all our births have become such abnormalities and emergencies.
And that's just not reality.
We are NOT educating ourselves. We have lost our communal knowledge of the art of birthing and have chosen instead to simply trust the medical profession to decide what is best for us.
You can SAY all day long, "I want a natural birth," but if you aren't educating yourself, your chances of actually HAVING one are practically nonexistent. I mean, if you want to be a safe driver, but you don't read the Driver's Manual, or learn to operate a vehicle from someone who knows how, or even take a driver's ed class, you MIGHT get in the car and know WHERE you want to go, but what are the chances of actually making it there safely? Probably about the same as having an uneducated natural birth.
Now, by "educating yourself," I do NOT mean taking the hospital class that tours you through Labor & Delivery, makes you watch the epidural video and discusses all the things that "could go wrong" and how the hospital will deal with them. NO. NO. An emphatic NO.
Read for yourself: Literature from both ends of the spectrum, from Twinkle Ding-Dong Yoga Birthing to Shut Up and Put Your Feet in the Stirrups. Go ahead and take the Labor & Delivery tour at the hospital, then go to an independent childbirth class. Drink in A Baby Story on TLC, then chase it with The Business of Being Born on Netflix.
Read up on epidurals and episiotomies; C-sections and vitamin K shots; vaccinations and circumcisions; fetal monitoring and forceps; meconium and mucous plugs; contractions and colostrum; dilation and doulas; VBAC and PRoM; breech babies and birth positions; posterior presentation, placentas, pitocin & postpartum depression, and for heaven's sake, PARENTING.
What determines the outcome of your labor hinges sharply on choosing to educate yourself and surround yourself with the support you need.  And, as a doula, while I heavily advocate drug-free birthing, my job is to help you have the experience you want. Schedule a C-section, squat in a cornfield, whatever. It is, after all, YOUR body, YOUR baby, YOUR decision.
Just please, please, please make it an INFORMED one.

To view the original blog post, click here.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

10 Things RVA First-Time Moms Can Do To Reduce Stress

I love first-time moms.  I love their bright eyes, their curiosity, their eagerness to do everything “just right”.  I love their excitement about shopping for the nursery, and their nervousness about labor.  I love the honor of being the one to guide them through the most transformative and intense periods of their lives.

But, with all that excitement comes a level of stress and worry that really doesn't serve them well.  It bogs them down as they search Google and Babycenter,  trying to find the “right” answers.

If first-time moms could just know...

1.         Because of your great love for the new life growing inside you, everything seems tied to the pregnancy. But that twinge in your left toe?  Probably not because of the baby.

2.         Tell everyone your due date is a week later than it actually is.  The average first-time mom in America gives birth 10 days after their due date (if they are not induced before then!)  Add a week and save yourself all those “Are you still pregnant?!” calls.

3.         The mucous plug?  I'm sorry to break this to you, but it means...nothing.  Absolutely nothing.  It can come out, and it can still be weeks until labor.  Now, if it comes with bright red bloody show...we may be in business!

4.         On the signs of labor...nesting, diarrhea, nausea, twinges, cramps?  You've been misled.  These are not signs of labor.  Not yet. They can be signs that labor may come in the next day, or two, or 10...but not yet.  This is also true of cervical checks in the last few weeks.  You can be 4 cm or 0 cm, and no one can predict when labor will start.  No one.

5.         Prodromal labor can last days, and days, and days.  This is the time when you may have a few hours of contractions, and yes, they may be intense, but they are still spaced out and they go away with rest, or a warm bath, or a dose of magnesium (Calm Magnesium Supplement is magic and I recommend all my clients have it on hand)  You've heard of midwives or doctor telling a mom to have a glass of wine and go to bed.  It's because they are pretty sure that mama is in prodromal labor. No worries, if it progresses into real labor, it will wake you up when it needs you.  I've never heard of a mom sleeping through her home birth. If you wake up and the sun is shining, then know your body did some work last night to get ready for the real thing.

6.         If you are asking yourself if it is labor, it is NOT LABOR.  When it is labor, you will not miss it. You will not be fooled into thinking it is Braxton Hicks, or indigestion, or something you ate.  It will grab your attention, and you will not longer have a single doubt in your mind that you.are.in.labor. Try to “not” be in labor until you have to be.  Ignore it.  Deny it. Say it IS indigestion.  Don't give in to it until you can't NOT give in to it.

7.         This brings me to when you are in labor.  Do not announce your labor on Facebook, or Twitter, or through a group email.  Do not put yourself on someone else's clock.  Not only is it distracting for you or the daddy to continually be answering inquiries, it gives all those people the ability to put in their opinion.  Is something wrong?  Has the baby come yet? Hasn't  it been too long?  Should you go to the hospital?  During birth, you need to relax, and you need to be fully supported by your partner.  Announce your baby, not the labor.

8.         You will be your most beautiful, and your most disheveled, in labor.  You will not care if your hair is done, or your lipstick is on.  Come ready to work hard, and we will freshen you up afterward. Athletes don't primp for triathlons, and mama, you are an athlete!

9.         The much-feared tear is more under your control than mine.  I can (and will!) use warm cloths, and oil, and perineal support, and all my other tricks...but really, studies tell us that none of it makes much difference.  You know what helps?  Perineal massage in the last 4-6 weeks, and slow, gentle pushing.  This allows those tissues to stretch.

10.   Your baby needs you.  Just...you.  And you need food and water.  Not a crib, a playpen, a swing, a vibrating seat, the perfect blankets and matching curtains, etc, etc, etc.  Mothers today are overwhelmed with all the things a new baby “needs”,  Here's the real deal: someway to wear your baby, diapers, a car seat and a safe place to sleep (which can be in bed with you!) All the rest is extra.  I'm not saying to not buy those adorable things.  Do it!  Enjoy!  It's exciting.  But, don't put yourself in debt.  Don't think your baby needs every gadget, every toy, every color shoes. Your baby will never know if he wears white onesies and sleeps in a laundry basket for the first 3 months (unless you tell him when he's older!)

So, Relax.  Enjoy.  Accept that 99% of what is going on is natural, and normal, and part of the process. Keep a “when to call the midwife” list on your frig, and know the warning signs of trouble, but don't go looking for it.   Have faith in your body and your baby.  Just like you knew how to conceive that baby, your body knows how to grow it, birth it, nurse it.  You're going to be a mama of a little one soon, and you're going to be brilliant!

- Corina Hossle
Founder, Clinical Director & Midwife