The benefits are in the relaxation and comfort that warm water provides. Think about
how good it feels to climb into a warm bath after a long stressful day. Once in the
tub, you feel any muscle tension melt away.
The key to coping with contractions is to stay relaxed. The use of warm water submersion
in labor is one of the best tools available to help you cope with contractions.
Because your baby floats in warm water in your womb during the nine months of pregnancy,
the warm water in the birth tub is comforting and familiar.
Babies often don’t cry when they’re born into water. Once they’re brought to the
surface, they feel the air on their face and begin breathing. Then they open their
eyes and gaze straight into your face. top
Why home birth?
The birth of a child is one of the most important events in a family’s life. Far
too important to waste on the cookie-cutter experience the hospital offers. You chose
all the details that are important to you and they are honored.
When you’re supported in a way that does not interfere with your natural instincts,
birth can be one of the most memorable and fulfilling experiences you have and will
deeply move everyone present.
You don’t have to drive anywhere in labor. All you have to do is call us and we
come to you. We bring a birth tub and set everything up.
You choose who attends your birth and who cares for you. You choose what to eat and
drink. Walk, dance or sleep uninterrupted if you want to. Home birth allows you
to do what comes naturally, while your midwife monitors you and your baby in a non-invasive
When a woman has privacy and feels supported she can give birth without the stress
hormone cortisol slowing down her labor.
After giving birth in the portable tub, you then move to your bed to rest and bond
with your baby without unnecessary interventions interfering with the precious moments
following your birth.
If extra care is needed for you or your baby, we do it with baby in your arms, while
explaining what’s happening.
Newborn babies don’t have words yet to tell you how they feel, but they do have feelings.
For this reason, we treat your new baby with gentleness and respect.
We stay with you to provide postpartum care for about 4 to 6 hours, and then we clean
everything up and leave your house as it was before we came.top
What areas do you cover?
Mendocino Midwives serves Mendocino County including; Leggett, Laytonville, Colvelo,
Willits and Ukiah. In addition we also serve Sonoma and Lake Counties.
Because we are committed to providing exclusive individualized care, we limit our
practice allowing us to provide care in both Northern California as well as occasionally
traveling to other locations in California. top
Is my home too small?
We’ve done hundreds of births in small apartments and it’s not a problem. The birth
tub is about 5 ½feet in diameter and can be placed in a corner. Usually moving a
coffee table to the side makes enough room.
Although we bring a lot of equipment with us, none of it is large and it can be laid
out on a small table. top
What about the noise?
Women rarely make a lot of noise during birth. Unlike in the movies, you probably
won’t scream or yell at your partner in labor.
Most women make soft grunting noises and don’t want to talk at all. The baby will
probably make much more noise than you do. We have never had a problem with neighbors
Who will attend my birth?
We attend your birth as a team. There will always be at least one licensed midwife
present assisted by another midwife or skilled apprentice. We want to be certain
we have enough skilled hands during the birth and to assist in cleaning up afterwards.
If a birth is going through the night, we want to be at our best. We take turns getting
a few hours sleep while one of us monitors your progress, listens to baby, and makes
sure everything is going smoothly. top
What kind of training do you have?
We are Licensed Midwives; licensed by the California Medical Board, the same regulatory
body that regulates medical doctors. Licensed Midwives train through apprenticeship
which includes academic studies and skills training extending over many years.
We are Certified Professional Midwives certified through The North American Registry
We are Neonatal Resuscitation certified through the American Academy of Pediatrics/American
Heart Association Neonatal Resuscitation Program.
We are CPR certified through the American Red Cross.
We also have additional training in the use of herbs, homeopathy, nutrition, breastfeeding,
pre and perinatal psychology, non-violent communication, relationship coaching, supporting
women with histories of abuse or trauma and postpartum depression. top
What equipment do you bring to the birth?
For monitoring: A waterproof doppler to monitor the baby’s heartbeat, infant and
adult stethoscopes, blood pressure cuffs and thermometers.
For the birth: Instruments and clamps for the umbilical cord, a baby scale and measuring
tape, a heater for towels and blankets, supplies to sterilize our equipment, suction
devices and bulb syringes, erythromycin ointment, vitamin K, disinfectants and many
other sterile supplies that we rarely use.
If problems develop: IV bags and supplies, neo-natal resuscitation equipment and
oxygen tanks, anti-hemorrhage drugs such as pitocin and cytotec, ammonia inhalants,
syringes and sharps container, antibiotics and urinary catheters.
If you tear: Instruments, supplies and lidocaine for suturing.
For comfort and support: Medicinal herbs, a homeopathic kit, and other natural remedies
for labor and birth, as well as birth stools and a portable birth tub with a disposable
You need to buy: Disposable supplies such as plastic-backed sheets, chux underpads,
sanitary briefs, lubricating jelly, sitz baths herbs, and umbilical cord care products.
These items can be ordered as a birth kit that you purchase online prior to giving
What type of care do you provide?
We work with women that have low risk pregnancies. We do not consider age or weight
significant factors in determining risk. (For more specifics about what is and isn’t
considered a risk factor, please contact us directly.)
We provide all of your prenatal care, from beginning to end. It is not usually necessary
for you to meet with an obstetrician before your birth. We do however have OBs available.
If we have a concern about you or your baby during your pregnancy, we have you see
We perform all standard blood work, cultures, urine testing, well-woman gynecological
care and holistic treatments for specific vaginal and hormonal imbalances.
We offer informed consent/refusal for all standard tests and procedures. We then
ask you to decide for yourself what is most appropriate for you.
We do not perform ultrasounds, but we have several referral offices we can send you
to. We do not perform amniocentesises, CVS testing, or any invitro procedures. top
What happens during a prenatal exam?
We provide your care in the privacy and comfort of your home.
We spend about an hour on each prenatal appointment.
The physical exam portion of your appointment usually consists of checking your blood
pressure and weight, testing your urine, listening to your baby’s heartbeat and checking
your baby’s size and position.
Our care is family-centered. You are welcome to have your partner, children and anyone
supporting you through your pregnancy, join us during our visits. We make ourselves
available to support your whole family.
During prenatal appointments we discuss your pregnancy and birth options by counseling
you and honoring your choices.
We follow the standard pregnancy calendar for prenatal appointments:
every 4 weeks until 28 weeks gestation
once every 2 weeks from 28-36 weeks gestation
once a week from 36 weeks until delivery
During the hour we thoroughly answer all of your questions, preparing you for birth
We give nutritional advice based on your individual practices and inquire into other
aspect of your well being.
We discuss signs of pre-term labor, as well as other pregnancy concerns.
Emotional support and counseling are offered as needed. top
What happens during my birth?
We monitor you and your baby through labor in a non-invasive way; always respecting
your need for privacy, warmth and quiet. We keep the lights low and speak softly,
as well as use a gentle touch.
If you lose confidence in yourself we provide comfort and support by reminding you
that you were designed to give birth and have everything you need inside you.
If dad wants to be in the tub with you or catch the baby, he’s welcome to do so.
When your baby’s born, he or she goes straight into your arms and stays there.
We usually do not cut the umbilical cord until after the placenta is born. When the
umbilical cord remains intact, it continues to provide oxygen to the baby for about
five minutes. This gives the baby some transition time while learning to breathe.
After we’ve made sure that you and your baby are stable, we give you some private
bonding time while we do paperwork in the next room.
During the first few hours after the birth, we do a full newborn exam, help you breastfeed
your baby, feed you, clean you up and teach you how to take care of yourself and
If you need stitches, we can give them to you. top
What kind of postpartum care do you provide?
We come back to your home to evaluate and support you and your baby at:
24 and 48 hours
3 to 4 days
7 to 10 days
At 3 and 6 weeks your visits will be in our office
We provide breastfeeding assistance, answer your questions, make suggestions, examine
you and the baby and discuss postpartum family adjustment.
In the unlikely event that you become depressed, we will support you. We are very
skilled at working with postpartum depression, and collaborate with therapists who
specialize in PPD. top
What if there’s a complication?
Complications are something many families have concerns about. Many of the interventions
that are routine in the hospital, such as pitocin and epidurals, actually cause more
problems than they prevent in healthy low risk pregnancies.
If you look at the countries in the world with the lowest infant mortality rates,
you see they have excellent outcomes by using midwives and out-of-hospital birth
for low risk women. Another important factor in those good outcomes is obstetrical
back-up is available and ready to take over if necessary.
We have obstetrical back-up available when we need it. If a problem develops during
labor, and we feel you or your baby would be safer in the hospital, we call ahead
and then take you there. We do not want to risk an emergency transport situation,
so we go to the hospital before we have an emergency on our hands.
Most of the problems we see are things that can deal with safely in the home, such
as heavy bleeding postpartum or a baby that needs help to start breathing.
The number one reason we go to the hospital is for failure-to-progress. This situation
is not an emergency; we just need to go to the hospital and get more help. Usually
the baby is not in a good position and is not fitting in the pelvis properly. In
this case a caesarian delivery might be necessary.
If a woman does need to go to the hospital, we go with her and continue to support
and advocate for her. If she has a vaginal birth, she can go home soon afterwards
and we will continue her postpartum care in her home. top
What if I can’t cope with the pain?
Labor is hard work; that’s why we call it labor.
Staying calm and relaxed is the most important thing you can do to cope with the
discomfort. Being tense cause’s contractions to hurt more and be less effective.
That’s why the privacy at home and being in warm water can make such a big difference.
Laboring in the birthing tub relaxes and sooths you, helping to make contractions
It’s important to remember that women were designed to give birth. We have millions
of years of evolution designing us to give birth perfectly.
Many women, especially with a first birth, get to a point in their labor that feels
too hard. That’s the transition point; usually right before you start pushing.
Undisturbed and supported, you can make it through labor. After getting over that
wall you will be so proud of yourself. Knowing your own strength and endurance is
extremely valuable as you’re heading into motherhood. Nature definitely designed
birth to be that way. top
Who can attend my birth?
Anyone you would like to have there. It’s your birth; you get to say what works for
We do have some suggestions to support you based on what we’ve seen work well. Often
what’s needed for you to progress in labor is privacy. Sometimes it works best to
have your guests wait in another room and come in after your baby is born. top
What about my children?
Children usually do quite well at birth as long as they’re prepared beforehand with
books and videos.
Being at the birth helps your child understand and adjust to the new baby.
If your children attend your birth we include them in what’s happening and reassure
them if they get concerned.
Having someone whose only job is to support, reassure and care for your children
is really important. This person can also take them out of the room if your children
decide they don’t want to be there. top