“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, August 31, 2016

MyBirth Podcast

Listen as Corina Hossle, the Founder, Clinical Director and Midwife of Embrace Birth Midwifery Care & Birth Center talks to the lovely ladies of MyBirth in this insightful, entertaining and informative Podcast.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Breastfeeding Tips That Work!

To finish off National Breast Feeding Month strong and to Celebrate our upcoming Black Breastfeeding Week Cookout, we are dedicating our blog to all things breastfeeding this next week!

Breastfeeding Tips That Really Work
By: Dana Holmes

August is National Breastfeeding Month and if you’re a nursing mom you know how breastfeeding can sometimes feel like the most frustrating and unnaturally difficult things you ever have to face as a parent. Well, I have some stellar advice for new moms from the people who are changing the way we do it. I spoke with the people who are helping new moms feel more confident about getting the most out of that precious nursing time with their little ones.

How do you keep your supply strong?
Helen Anderson- Creator of Milkies milk-savers that catch every last drop of your liquid gold says,
“Breastfeeding often keeps your milk supply strong on its own. If your baby is fussy, don’t reach for a pacifier - breastfeed instead. When your breasts are empty, your body says, “Make more milk - baby is hungry!” When your breasts are not emptied completely or infrequently, your body says. “Slow down production - baby doesn’t need this much.” It is normal to breastfeed ALL THE TIME in the first weeks - plan to focus on caring for yourself and your baby and ask for help if you need it.”

What if I just can’t do it?
Melanie Herschorn, creator of Udderly Hot Mama Nursing and Pumping Wear, says,
“Remember that even though breastfeeding may look easy if you watch other moms doing it, it can be really hard at the beginning. Don’t shy away from asking for help if it seems too hard for you to master on your own. There are lactation specialists everywhere who can help you through the tough times.”

What can I do to prepare for breastfeeding?
Kate Doti, co-founder of jay elle by J.L. Childress, a line of chic breastfeeding totes and accessories, says,
“Prepare and practice. I really benefited from reading The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding before my first baby.”

Kimberly Schram, VP of Marketing and Communications for UpSpring Baby, creators of Milkflow healthy milk supply tea, says,
“New moms can’t rely solely on the breastfeeding information you may, or may not, get in the hospital so take a breastfeeding class before baby arrives from a certified lactation consultant. A breastfeeding class will help you be better prepared and will provide you with a resource to reach out to if you have trouble once you start breastfeeding.”

Personally, I found that teas and oatmeal cookies, massage and pumping during nursing and in between feedings was all very helpful in increasing my milk supply. Also, the lactation consultant was a total lifesaver. I learned that the hospital hadn’t taught me the best positions for me and my baby and that there were lots of positions to try in different situations. Mastering the “dream feed” where you both are practically asleep and lying down is one of the greatest gifts a nursing mother can give herself.

And, register for a housekeeper for those first few weeks. In fact, a theme of not being afraid to ask for, and hire, help during the early breastfeeding days is the one thing that all of these ladies mentioned and rings true in my own personal experience. The lesson here is that nursing is a full-time job! Don’t make yourself crazier than you have to.

To read the original article, click here.

Friday, August 19, 2016

The Doctor, The Midwife, The Nurse & The Doula

Addressing the most common questions and concerns of many expecting parents, but often times, their extended family.  We have so many mothers who walk through our doors wanting to have a natural birth administered by a midwife, but are lacking support from their family members.  It is understandable for parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles to be concerned for the well-being of you and your new family, but ultimately it is not their birth.  We believe that good information and the best up to date research is a great tool to ease the minds of concerned parties when it comes to your pregnancy.  Starting with the fundamentals....

The Doctor, The Midwife, The Nurse & The Doula
From The Prenatal Yoga Center

I wanted to share some questions with you that I am asked on a regular basis: “What is the difference between a midwife and a doula? “; “Does my doctor work with my midwife?”; “Why would I choose a midwife over a doctor?”; “Isn’t the nurse like a doula?” I figured the best way to answer all of these questions would be to finally sit down and map it out.

First, let’s understand the definitions of those terms and the job of each of the people mentioned.

Obstetrician: A physician who delivers babies and is in the practice of obstetrics, the art and science of managing pregnancy, labor and the puerperium, the time immediately after delivery.

You will see your OB/GYN or members of his/her practice throughout your pregnancy, although who your care provider will be at delivery depends on who is on call during your labor. During the labor, the doctor will come in and out to check on your progress and, as the definition above states, “manage” your labor. Obstetrics is also a surgical field, so in the case of a cesarean, it would be your OB that would perform the procedure.

Midwife: A midwife is a trained professional with special expertise in supporting women to maintain a healthy pregnancy birth, offering expert individualized care, education, counseling and support to a woman and her newborn throughout the childbearing cycle.

A midwife works with each woman and her family to identify their unique physical, social and emotional needs. When the care required is outside the midwife’s scope of practice or expertise, the woman is referred to other health care providers for additional consultation or care.

Midwives operate from The Midwives Model of Care which emphasizes the fact that pregnancy and birth are normal life processes. Midwives statistically have lower rates of interventions and provide the mother with individualized education, counseling, prenatal care and postpartum support as well as continuous hands-on assistance during labor and delivery.

Midwives, like doctors, may work in a group that rotates who is on call and who will see you for your prenatal visits. Some midwives work alongside doctors in their practices, while some work individually or outside the hospital setting. There are different types of midwives: Direct Entry Midwifes, Certified Professional Midwives, and Certified Nurse Midwives. Depending on their credentials and training, some midwives work in hospitals while others solely attend home births.

Labor and Delivery Nurses: Nurses in this field provide care to women who are in labor or who have recently delivered, or for those who may be having complications with labor. They also work with doctors to develop a plan to aid in the safe delivery of healthy babies.

Labor Support Doula: A trained and experienced professional who provides continuous physical, emotional and informational support to the mother before, during and just after birth; or who provides emotional and practical support during the postpartum period.

Unless the doula has additional training, she is NOT a medical professional and will not perform medical procedures on the laboring mothering or deliver the baby. However, she most likely will be one of the most consistent elements of the labor experience. She does not change shifts and only deals with one client at a time. The doula will also labor with you at home and come with you to the hospital or birth center.

Now that there is an understanding of what each professions offers, it may be clearer how they might or might not work together. So, back to the original questions:

What is the difference between a doula and a midwife?

As described above, the doula acts as an emotional, physical and informational support for the mother. While the midwife may offer many of those same qualities, it is the midwife that will deliver the baby and perform the necessary medical examinations throughout pregnancy, labor, delivery and postpartum. Midwives are also available to do “well woman” yearly exams throughout a woman’s life, not just working with her while pregnant.

Does my doctor work with my midwife?

Yes, sometimes a practice has both doctors and midwives. But if your current doctor does not work with midwives you cannot have both as care providers. If a midwifery practice does not have a doctor as part of the group, there will be a doctor that backs up that group. However, if you choose a home birth, you will have just a midwife; should you need further medical assistance, you would be transferred to a hospital. Some midwives have privileges at a hospital, while others just have a relationship with a doctor and will no longer be your care provider should you be admitted.

Why would I choose a midwife over a doctor?

Choosing your care provider is a very personal choice. It requires a long, hard look at the model of care you would like for your pregnancy and delivery. While both professions try to offer the best care they can to women, the path in which that support is offered differs. The Model of Care that midwives subscribe to reflects the idea that pregnancy and birth is a natural physiological process that should be inherently trusted, while the medical model focuses on the pathologic potential of pregnancy and birth. They both have the same desired outcome, but use different routes to get there.

You should also consider the style of care you personally prefer. Midwives will tend to be more present during labor; moreover, they will be more holistically based and allow more space for the labor to unfold naturally before moving to medical interventions. Doctors are not as likely to give you as much personal care and time and may move to medical interventions more quickly.

Isn’t the nurse like a doula?

Many of the Labor and Delivery nurses (L & D nurses) I have worked with are wonderful and can offer a lot of helpful advice for the laboring mom. However, I would not advise depending on your L & D nurse to provide the same comfort and assistance as a labor support doula. The L & D nurse often has several women they are monitoring at the same time and cannot offer consistent support since they work in shifts and breaks. You may also find it appealing to choose your labor support doula and have the opportunity to previously discuss you birthing preferences with this person.

Now that the cast of characters has been laid out, I hope this makes it easier to make decisions about the model of support you will receive and who you would like at your birth.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

My Job Isn't Done Until There's a Baby on a Boob!

As a midwife, I always say that my job is finished when I have a baby on a boob.  We are always on the lookout for the best research and data supporting holistic birth practices and this article highlights the importance of nearly immediate breastfeeding.  Skin to skin contact and feeding as soon as your newborn shows eagerness to feed are vital to an infant's health and the mother-child bond.

More than half of newborns not breastfed in first hour raising health risks, UNICEF says

NEW YORK –  NEW YORK (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - More than half of newborn babies are not breastfed within the first hour of life, putting them at heightened risk of disease and death, the United Nations' children's agency said on Friday, highlighting sub-Saharan Africa as an area of concern.

Feeding babies within an hour of birth passes on critical nutrients, antibodies and skin contact with their mothers that can protect them, UNICEF said.

Delaying breastfeeding by two to 23 hours after birth increases the risk of a baby dying in its first month by 40 percent and delaying by 24 hours or more increases the risk of death to 80 percent, UNICEF said.

Studies show newborns account for nearly half of all deaths of children under age 5.

UNICEF, which has been campaigning to promote early breastfeeding, estimates 77 million babies around the world each year are not breastfed within the first hour of their life. It estimates about 130 million babies are born each year.

"Breast milk is a baby's first vaccine, the first and best protection they have against illness and disease," France B'gin, UNICEF senior nutrition adviser, said in a statement.

"Making babies wait too long for the first critical contact with their mother outside the womb decreases the newborn's chances of survival, limits milk supply and reduces the chances of exclusive breastfeeding."

Efforts to promote early breastfeeding have been slow, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa, where mortality rates for children under age 5 are high, UNICEF said.

In South Asia, rates of early breastfeeding tripled from 2000 but 21 million newborns a year are not breastfed in the first hour, UNICEF said.

Among the obstacles, UNICEF said, doctors, nurses and midwives assisting births in the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia are less likely to promote early breastfeeding than are unskilled attendants or relatives assisting.

In some countries UNICEF said it is customary to feed a baby infant formula, cow's milk or sugar water in its first three days.

If all babies were fed nothing but breast milk from birth to six months, more than 800,000 lives could be saved each year, UNICEF said.

Around the world, 43 percent of infants less than 6 months old are fed breast milk exclusively, according to UNICEF. Those who are not breastfed at all are 14 times more likely to die than those fed only breast milk, it said.

The figures were released ahead of World Breastfeeding Week running from August 1 to August 7 in more than 170 nations.

To view the original article, click here.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Embrace Wellness Collective Breastfeeding Support Group

Join our Breastfeeding Support Group this Wednesday, August 18th from 7 pm - 8 pm.  Hosted by Embrace Wellness Collective, join Emily Mozingo (CLEC) in this free support group and safe place for breastfeeding moms,  moms-to-be, or those at any stage in the breastfeeding relationship.

No registration is necessary.  Please contact Emily for more information at littlelovebirthservices@gmail.com

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Meet & Greet Our Doulas TONIGHT!

TONIGHT! Starting at 6pm we will be having a meet and greet with our fabulous team of doulas. Everyone is welcome and you certainly don't have to be a client of ours.  Come learn the benefits of hiring a doula for your pregnancy.  I always say the job of a doula is to make the Dads look like rock stars!  They are the ultimate support for any expecting mom and always have a wide range of skills to meet your personal needs.  Some of our doulas specialize in yoga, some of them in massage therapy, aromatherapy, nutrition....each one of these ladies has something special to offer their moms.  So come meet the perfect doula match for you!

8 Tips to Increase Chances of Conception

  1. When you decide you're ready to start trying to get pregnant, make an appointment with your midwife.  Together, you can review your health history (i.e. hypertension, diabetes, thyroid issues) to identify any risks or obstacles to get under control before you conceive.
  2. Get to your ideal Body Mass Index (BMI).  The ideal BMI for pregnancy is between 20 and 25.  Being over or underweight can have an adverse affect hormones.
  3. STOP SMOKING.  Everyone should do this anyway, but studies show that women who smoke and are trying to get pregnant can take up to a year and a half to conceive.
  4. Limit your alcohol.  Heavy drinking affects fertility by increasing the amount of time it takes to get pregnant and reduces your chances of having a healthy baby.  This goes for men as well.  In addition, smoking marijuana reduces male sperm motility and decreases sperm count.
  5. Try to conceive in Winter or Spring.  Studies show that male sperm are healthier during these times.
  6. Track your ovulation.  You can download free apps to track your cycle, purchase ovulation predictor kits or use the basal body temperature method.  Generally, ovulation occurs around day 14 before your next cycle begins.
  7. Have sex before and after ovulation.  Have sex in the 4 days leading up to ovulation and 1 to 2 days after.
  8. Avoid commercial lubricants.  They have adverse effects on conception by decreasing sperm motility and potentially harming the sperm.  Opt for natural substitutes like olive oil.

BONUS TIP— Relax!  Your sexual activity should now have two goals instead of one.  Making a baby and climaxing.  Stress has harmful effects on the body and stressing out over conception isn’t helping you, your partner, or conceiving.

For more information on this topic visit Parents.com

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Community Class Success!

We had such a great time last night at our FIRST Community Class at Ellwood Thompson's last night! Thank you to all of our participants, it was actually quite a diverse crowd of couples in different stages of conception and some wonderful doulas wanting to learn more!  We will absolutely be doing another class there, topic to be decided...any suggestions?

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Does My Vagina Look Normal?

Even if it has not been your habit throughout your life so far, I recommend that you learn to think positively about your body.”
Ina May Gaskin, Ina May's Guide to Childbirth

There’s an old joke…men look at their penises 6 times a day…5 times to pee and once just to admire it!  As women, we have to work much harder to see our vaginas, so there is a much larger mystery about them.

Every woman I know is concerned in some way about her vagina.  Well, really, technically, they are worried about their vulvas, which are the exterior lips of the vagina.  As women, we do not really “see” other women’s vaginas or even vulvas…unlike men who are all out there in front, in every locker room in America.  So, that leaves us to compare ourselves (if we chose to) to porn stars and online images.  And unfortunately, like every other public image, those are usually not the most realistic models.

I hate that moment I have a woman cringe at the thought of a vaginal exam, shame and worry in her eyes.  I had one woman who had never let her husband see her undressed…she put on a nightie in the bathroom, and crept to bed.  Intimacy was under the blankets, under the nightie and under the cover of darkness.  Why?  Because she was sure her vulva was abnormal, because her labia minora (the pink, wet inner lips) were too large and uneven.

So, after some gentle talk, and some reassurance, including the option to decline the exam completely, I left the room so she could get ready for the exam.  When I came back in, she was draped well, completely tucked in.  I talked a lot about how all vulvas are different, just like noses and toes.  How some have “innie” lips, and some have “outies” and how often the lips are different sizes.  How we have to learn to be as comfortable with our vaginas and vulvas as we are with our elbows.   And then I asked if she was ready for the exam.

She nodded through tears, and I smiled gently.  I just lifted the drape a bit and peeked.  I dropped the drape, wide-eyed and straight-faced.   “Oh my goodness~ it looked just like a vulva!”  We both started laughing.  I looked again, a bit closer this time, and told her that her labias were perfectly normal, and no larger or smaller than most women’s.   Relief flooded her face.  Tears rolled down her cheeks.  She had spent years thinking she was deformed, believing it for so long she couldn’t even remember when it had become a thought.   I began telling her about her body, explaining the purpose of each part, and continually reassuring her it was perfectly normal.

So, let’s be clear.  Vulvas come large and small, even and uneven, pink and brown, smooth and wrinkly, all of them as unique as the women they grace.  If your vulva doesn’t pinch when you get on a bike or hurt during sex, it’s normal.

Meanwhile, as some homework, go visit http://www.greatwallofvagina.co.uk and enjoy the great variations that nature brings us.