Friday, April 16, 2010

Makarios Birth Services

There's a new doula in town!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Check it out!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

NIH Consensus Development Conference: Vaginal Birth After Cesarean: New Insights

This webcast can be streamed right to our homes here in South Texas!

The NIH is holding a conference on VBAC in March. Please pass this along to
any moms, doulas or midwives groups. VBAC moms and birth professionals who
can come and join in on the discussion groups is appreciated.

NIH Conference site:

ICAN is also looking for some VBAC moms to help them with their own stories
about insurance, etc. Please

Thank you C for passing on the info!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

How to file a complaint against a doctor, midwife or hospital in the Corpus Christi area:

If you feel that you received birth care or treatment that did not meet standards or was unacceptable in any way, you have access to a complaint process. Remember that taking action when you have been treated in an inappropriate manner can help to prevent others from being harmed in the future.


Please visit the website for more detailed information.

Complain Hotline: 1-800-201-9353

Mail complaints to the following address. You must call the Complaint Hotline to request the appropriate form.

Texas State Board of Medical Examiners
Investigations Department, MC-263
P.O. Box 2018
Austin, TX 78768-2018


Please visit the website for more detailed information.

Mail or Fax Complaints to the following address:

Health Facility Licensing and Compliance Division
Texas Department of Health
1100 West 49th St.
Austin, TX 78756

FAX (512) 834-6653
COMPLAINT HOTLINE (888) 973-0022


The following information is taken from

"An individual who wishes to file a complaint against a licensed midwife, or a person who is practicing midwifery in Texas without a license, may write to:

Complaints Management and Investigative Section
P.O. Box 141369
Austin, Texas 78714-1369

or call 1-800-942-5540 to request the appropriate form or obtain more information. This number is for complaints only. Please direct routine calls and correspondence to the phone number and address on the "Contact Us" page."

You can also find more information at the North American Registry of Midwives:

For help in writing a formal complaint letter, please visit:

For more support or help in dealing with this process, please feel free to contact

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

STBA group meeting!

This week Friday at 1:30pm in CC.

Email me for details

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Maternity Care in the Rio Grande Valley-From one Mother to Another

Maternity Care in the Rio Grande Valley-From one Mother to Another

Maternity Care in the Rio Grande Valley-From one Mother to Another

I am Nicole Hoff but I am better known as "Mommy", "The Birth Lady," or "The Boob Lady." I have my Bachelors in Maternal and Child Health, am a Certified Doula (a certified professional that assists mothers during pregnancy, childbirth, and the postpartum period), a Certified Childbirth Educator, an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant, and a Midwife Apprentice. As a mother and healthcare professional in private practice in Harlingen, I have helped families from all walks of life, from each end of the Valley, during a special time in their life.

Despite good-hearted intentions of many dedicated and educated health professionals, the maternity care system across the US, including the Rio Grande Valley of South Texas, has many shortcomings. A recent report by Childbirth Connection and The Milbank Memorial Fund, called "Evidence-Based Maternity Care: What It Is and What It Can Achieve," explains why the state of maternity care in the U.S. is worrisome. The care practices that have been proven to make childbirth easier and safer are underused, and the many interventions that may increase risks to mothers and babies are routinely overused. The report points to the "perinatal paradox" of doing more, but accomplishing less. I have witnessed this first hand in the Valley and I am truly worried.

Every year Valley women are suffering in silence from birth trauma that results from their treatment during labor and delivery of their child. The feelings of their negative experiences are overwhelming, and sometimes so much so that they suffer from major depression afterwards. Some women consider it "birth rape", especially if they had instruments or hands placed inside them without their consent. Because of my education and experience, I feel that I know misinformation, maltreatment, and abuse in this field when I see it. I have had the honor of attending many amazingly beautiful births here, but I think some of my "birth stories" at local hospitals would surprise you and many would just sicken you. I wish I could forget each and every demoralizing abuse these mothers and babies faced, but some were just so shocking they will always linger in my memory.

I want to put these following phrases I have heard over the years out there in the open so our community can know what is taking place. I think everyone involved in birth needs to read these, so that they can be more attuned to what they are saying and what type of care they are providing. These are just a few phrases from the many well-intentioned nurses, doctors, staff, breastfeeding "helpers", and childbirth "educators" I have heard but I will never repeat. While some of these phrases could have the correct time and place to be said and may really hold true for a mother, there have been more times that I have heard them said when it was inappropriate or not factual than when really necessary. Mothers have been mistreated, lied to, given incorrect information, coerced, manipulated or deceived so that one will be obedient and go along with treatments, and have had procedures done when there was no reason or consent to perform them. Different locations, different staff, sameABUSE.

From their lips, to my ears, to my typing fingers:

Was this a planned baby or just a mistake?
I'm a rough doctor, but I know what I am doing.
You don't need labor support.
No one can birth naturally.
C-sections don't hurt.
Wow, you're huge, you need to get that baby out now!
You're too small for this big baby!
You're seriously pregnant again?
Be quiet. Hush. Shhh. You're too loud!
Our hospital is best- even with over 50% c-section rate.
Your spouse/mom/
doula can't come in with you.
We throw away birth plans.
We laugh at birth plans.
You're too sick/weak/tired for birthing your baby.
OB: I only come to catch the baby.
Give up and go with the c-section.
You can't have a VBAC (vaginal birth after c-section).
That won't work!
You can't...
Since you have medicaid...
I only speak English, this is America!
You're worrying me, stop that.
I have to do this to you because...
That's not important. Forget about it.
I don't have time. I've got other patients.
That's normal. I see that all the time.
You're wearing me out
I'm not here for you, it's just my job.
Good girl.
C-sections are safer and better for you and baby.
You're not strong enough.
That's in the past, move on.
Don't move.
I can't help it if you don't understand.
Oh relax!
You're fine!
Hold your pee and poop!
You can't get up!
No time to explain this to you.
Oh gross!
Sit still. Lay still. Be still.
Why would you want that?
Well that's a first!
You ask too many questions!
You have to do what I say.
I know your body better than you do.
Only 1 person allowed in room.
I'm cutting you open.
Push now even if not ready.
It doesn't matter what you need.
Oops! We....
Your epidural didn't work because you....
Let's induce now at 37-38 weeks.
Hurry up!
Start pitocin she's not progressing.
You have to be alone for 2 hrs.
I'm taking your baby away for 4 hrs.
You have no choice.
Even if you say no, I must...
Ob:Plan a c-section or induction for when I'm in town.
Ob:I know what's best, not you! Who is the doctor here?
You're here so I can't let you leave.
Just get pain meds already!
You can't do this anymore!
You're not pushing right!
Spread your legs! Wider!
Lay flat even if it hurts.
Did you pay your deductible yet?
I cut you even though you didn't want it.
You will hurt your baby unless...
Emergency c-section was you're fault.
I forgot to wear gloves.
Your baby needs a bath, it may have swine flu.
Your baby is dirty.
The doctor decides...
Your baby needs more than your breastmilk.
Your breasts won't work.
I have to hurt you.
I forgot and fed your baby for you.
Formula is better.
You need a catheter!
You need pain meds!
You need an IV!
You need pitocin!
You need monitoring!
You need to just chill out!
Your baby doesn't like that.
You can't go to the nursery.
You're not dilating fast enough.
I got you too drugged up to hold baby.
The baby needs the nursery more than he needs you.
Epidurals have no side effects.
You're not breathing right.
We can't do that for you.
We do this because it works for us.
Your doctor won't be here for you after all.
Follow our rules.
We have policies and protocols.

Now you know why video cameras are not allowed in labor rooms! They would be too embarrassed to let this get out, and honestly I am embarrassed for them. This list doesn't even include the sighing, eye rolling, storming out, finger pointing, paper waving, bribing, rough handling, withholding, lack of privacy, lack of respect, and other abuses. Because such practice and sayings have become routine, few maternity providers consider them abusive or inherently inappropriate.

It needs to stop... but I fear it won't.

Still, someone needs to speak up for these moms and babies and I hope someone out there cares. No local maternity professionals or hospitals have responded yet to my plea to contact me about ways to end this system of poor care. And no one has apologized to these mothers or babies-many who feel traumatized by past births. I would like to apologize for them and my apologies go out to the mothers that have had this abuse, and my hope for you is that you find healing and closure.

I will get some harsh feedback from this letter and some will deny the existence this abuse to mothers or believe that I am exaggerating, but this is because misconduct is rarely reported. I know that, sure, some births go "fine" and there are a handful of "good" staff out there, and hospitals are "working hard to accommodate mothers". I have seen that too, just not often enough to right a passionate letter about it. Maybe someone will respond wanting to know how to help make the birth experience better? The answer is easy! Birth professionals need to empower women to prevent birth trauma. Give her control through education, support, and your time. Don't make decisions for her, make them with her. Show her that she is valued and that you will give her your all to give her the best birth for her. Treat her with respect and give her privacy. Ask permission anytime you are performing an intervention, treatment, or even touching her. If she asks you to stop, do so immediately, and always explain what you are doing in detail. Above all, listen to her, and show her that you care about her AND her baby. No one deserves to be treated any differently than this, especially when in pain, when in need, and at a precious event in life.

Attention-RGV Families: You're not free from serious risks at Valley hospitals when giving birth. You will hear many of these phrases above, whether you believe it or not, it is a sad fact. The c-section rate is high in our area. You risk so many interventions that can lead to a c-section or a sick mom and baby. You face the risk of unnecessary induction, which can turn out to be too early or fail and lead to a c-section. It is a fact that you will receive care from some, if not all staff, that have amazing skills but lack natural/ normal childbirth and breastfeeding education. I have seen this at about every Valley hospital location. You will probably be made to do what they say and not what you need or want. You become their property and your baby becomes their responsibility!

There is an alternative. Escape from this abuse. There are a number of different ways for you to have a safe, happy, and healthy birth. Here are the four most common:

* With an "enlightened" doctor at a hospital
* With an "enlightened" midwife at a hospital
* With a midwife at a birthing center. Locally: Holy Family Birth Center in Weslaco.
* With a midwife at home. Locally: Beth Overton, CPM who does all prenatal care and home birth.

Seek many options, weigh the risks and benefits, and choose the birth plan that works best for you. If you are considering a natural childbirth, you should definitely educate yourself, consider taking a childbirth class not associated with a hospital or similar natural childbirth class. You really can have a beautiful birth experience even if you have your baby in a hospital, but you need to find a doctor or midwife and doula who will support you in your point of view, and you need some training to help you prepare yourself.

Attention-Doctors, staff, hospitals: If you think this isn't happening in your birth facility or practice? Prove me wrong. Show me your true support of these women and babies. Hire me as a Doula to be on staff and respected at your birth facility or clinic for 1 month. Allow video cameras into your center and take evaluations from your patients. Not brave enough for that? Show me the information on how these phrases and this type of "care" you are providing helps mothers and babies. Are you that "enlightened" doctor or midwife out there that can help Valley families, then contact me and let me know and I would be happy to share that information.

For now I, as a Valley mother and maternal and child health professional, will continue to advocate and support Valley families, and I hope that I will no longer continue to see and hear mothers and babies being abused at what should be the most joyous time of their life.

Contact me for more information.

Nicole: We hear you! I love this letter and I will bring it to the attention of our group- again and again! Thank you for sharing your time and talent with us and for advocating for our honored, birthing mothers.


Friday, October 30, 2009

A Call for Stories

We believe that the birth process is a monumental experience in which a mother should be honored, valued, respected and revered. And yet, we continue to hear stories that express a number of grievances encountered by Moms during their births. Some mothers experience unfair treatment, cause for complaint, disrespect and even abuse during their birth process.
Because a birth may be a rare or even a solitary experience for one woman, she may not pursue official reprimand for any injustice she suffers. However, this choice of inaction proffers a disservice to the women who come after her and encounter similar unregulated affronts.
So we make a call for stories. Stories that explain the grievances you or others may have experienced throughout a mother's pregnancy or birth experience; stories that necessitate action for a higher level of respect and ethical practice among our medical care givers.
We hope that by gathering a collection of stories, we may better unite as one voice. Though we may not be able to change what we have experienced in the past, we may be able to create better, safer circumstances for our sisters that follow us into their time of delivery and initiation into motherhood. This is an open invitation to all mothers, fathers, family members, doulas, medical caretakers or anyone involved in the birth process who wishes to better honor or better advocate for the birthing mothers of our community.

Please email

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Orgasmic Birth and The Today Show:

Impressions of the two sensational reports

In reference to the controversial issues involved over our nation’s childbirth options, Beth Overton said

“The real power in changing things is to have mothers speak up. Otherwise this controversy is perceived as a turf war by providers.”

As an expectant mother, I have the responsibility to choose a provider that will care for me and my baby through pregnancy, birth and post-natal care.

Wait- there’s more than that. As a member of our community, I have a responsibility to listen to mothers- to hear what they want, what they consider safe, and what they know is right or best for them and their babies.

So, as I plan for the birth of my third baby, I pay attention when I get the opportunity to watch a movie like Orgasmic Birth. When I am referenced to a story on the Today Show entitled “The Perils of Home Births,” I pay attention. I study, observe, scrutinize and investigate the facts that are presented.

Here are a few of the things that made an impression on me from these video reports:

The hard face of the man who pulled on the attached-to-baby’s-head device during a documented vacuum extraction (Orgasmic Birth (OrB))

The special kiss shared by a couple as a woman experienced labor (OrB)

The sad voice of a mother, Kathryn McKenzie, as she regretted her choice for a midwife when her home birth experience ended in the death of her child. (The Today Show (TS))

The many pounds of baby (10lbs!) a woman was able to deliver through a positive, natural birth experience at home (TS)

The calm nature of a a little baby who just emerged from her mother’s womb and was welcome by the soft spoken song of her caring grandmother’s lullaby (OrB)

The intrusive yank a surgeon employed to pull a baby from an open stomach incision. The baby’s cry when it was rushed across the room away from its mother. The length of that foot-long looking tube that was crammed down its throat (OrB)

The presented fact that the rates of birth-related deaths are in direct correlation with the rates of c-sections. While the World Health Organization has found an optimal, safe c-section rate to be at 12%, the average rate of c-sections in the US is almost 30%- DOUBLE the safe rate (OrB)

The concern that hospitals often treat births like medical emergencies and may end up performing many unnecessary c-sections out of fear of malpractice lawsuits (TS)

Kathryn McKenzie’s lament, “I’d have a hundred c-sections over if I could just have my child in my arms. So c-section is not the worst thing. Losing our Noa was definitely the worse thing” (TS)

As I have just recently viewed these two reports, my commitment to mothers is renewed. I hope that I can help provide expectant mothers with accurate, honest information for safe options. I hope I respect individual choices that mothers make as they consider the specific locations and spiritual environments for their births. I hope that I recognize mothers’ devotion to and innate love for their babies.

As we consider health care reform, let us consider the expectant mothers of our nation. Let us listen to them. Let us hear what they wish for their babies and what they know is right for them and their families.

-Carrie K

Monday, September 21, 2009

IBCLCS- Who???

To all the moms who are breast feeding or planning on breast feeding- this one is for you! A BIG thanks to Laurie Beck, RN, MSN, IBCLC who so graciously serves the mommys in this area!

IBCLCS – International Board Certified Lactation Consultants – Who??

-Contributed by Laurie Beck, RN, MSN, IBCLC 9-21-09

International Board Certified Lactation Consultant

It is a well known fact that breastmilk is the preferred and optimal nutrition for all babies. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that all babies receive human breastmilk for the first 6 months of life and beyond. Moms are smart these days and have done their research. All moms want the best for their special babies. There are more resources available to moms than they have time to take advantage of. How hard could it be to breastfeed? Women around the world do it everyday and have been doing it for years!! There is an 80/20 Rule I came across in my career many years ago. Eighty percent of the women delivering babies do fine and don’t need assistance with breastfeeding, but then there are twenty percent of the moms that do experience breastfeeding difficulty. An International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) is a professional allied health care provider with expertise in the field of lactation who has spent hundreds of hours mentoring under an established IBCLC, attended a minimum of 75 hours of breastfeeding course work, and successfully passed the annual exam that is offered once a year. IBCLCs must recertify every five years and resit for the exam every 10 years.

Situations that may call for an IBCLC are: prenatal breastfeeding classes to prepare to successfully breastfeed, history of maternal infertility or breast reductions, mothers with multiples, mothers with low milk supply issues, difficulty with latching the infant onto the breast, returning to work and school, medications that are safe to take while breastfeeding, etc….

The goal of the IBCLC is to help the mother and the family to make the best decisions for their house. We want you to enjoy your newborn. Breastfeeding should be a positive experience.

If you need to find an IBCLC you can go to for a lactation consultant directory.

Note from Carrie: For those of you who made it to the Baby Expo, I hope you all had as good a time as I did. My son and I really enjoyed the festivities (ie. the children's dance performances) and all the free samples. Some of my favorite things included the display of new age potties, the free baby yogurt, and hand-out toys to the kids. I also found a plethora of information/resources to be useful and helpful. Thanks HEB!

What was REALLY valuable were all the conversations I had with the professionals who offer their resources to new moms in this area. At the Driscoll Children's Hospital booth I spoke with Laurie Beck, the Lactation Program Coordinator.

She gave me her undivided attention as I expressed some of my concerns about breast feeding. Even though I have breast fed two children already, I was able to receive many new insights from Laurie in just a few minutes. Her offer of information was very timely as I prepare to breast feed my third baby in the coming year.

Laurie was so gracious in sharing more information for the blog. I really appreciate her support and willingness to share. Thank you Laurie!

I'd also like to note that I have added a number of resources to the side bar of the blog. Please take a look :)

Coastal Bend Birth Connection

Driscoll Women's Center

Driscoll Services- Mom's Place (breastfeeding resource)

Holy Family Birth Center

International Lactation Consultant Association

Monday, September 14, 2009

Her First Face- A birth poem

Click to enlarge:


From Steph:

The physical structure of the poem itself conveyed the waxing and waning flow of contractions and birth. I loved the parallel experience of mother and daughter as partners in the process. Your poem reminded me that birth is a spiritual, extremely human experience...and not just a bloody mess of poop and baby and placenta. And honestly, I'm impressed you forced me consider the greater meaning and beauty of the experience, as I feel I have been permanently jaded after my rotation on Labor and Delivery.

To be perfectly honest, I have to admit that I am terrified of ever giving birth. My grandmother always says that a woman does not fully become a woman until she becomes a mother. Well, shoot, the whole thing sounds pretty terrifying. If I could build a mechanical uterus I would grow my baby, as if it were a fish in a fishbowl. I would say hi to it every morning and gawk and the coolness of its embryonic development. "Check it out, honey, the heart started beating today!" "Oh look, his neural tube closed!" Haha. Yes, I am abnormal, but you both love me anyway. Besides, if and when I do get pregnant, I plan to have my baby as a C-section and I plan to have lots of pain medication because personally the whole thing seems terrifying and I'm a huge chicken. Haha, Carrie, maybe I need to read more of your poems. :) My most profound respect to both of you for having undergone the unfathomable journey of growing someone inside your body and then bringing them into the world to make a new whole person. Amazing. Terrifying. Wow. Just wow.

From Debbie:

First of all, I believe what you grandma meant as to becoming a real woman through motherhood had little to do with the actual birth process (or being pregnant for that matter) and more to do with the wonderful challenges and changes that come with raising (and unconditionally loving despite the alien-like look of) the "slimy alien." And by the way, your own baby never looks slimy, or alien-like :)

I did have a very different experience than you though, Carrie and I appreciate your perspective on it. I also admire how passionate you have become about getting involved in the birthing process. I love the creativity of your poem, and even though our means of delivering babies was so different, I have to say I can still relate to the underlying theme of love and amazement and of becoming partners with your baby in the little "project" that we call delivering a baby.


SPRING!!! Has anyone else noticed how green it got in the last week???? Yeah, I know it is really the Fall time of year but with all the rain we've been getting this week, it feels like spring. And what better way to think about God's gift of birth than to celebrate this beautiful time of year with all the green grass and bright, blooming flowers.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009


This post doesn't really have anything to offer by way of promoting natural childbirth... it is primarily meant to boost PR between my blog and expectant-mommy-friendly resources in our community; and it is a way for me to make more expectant-mommy friends!

So after I started the blog, Leann contacted me about her new business which you can find and look at here. I was so excited about this new mommy2be project and about the products it has to offer that I had to get down to the store and check it out. I was very impressed with the layout and selection- and it is in such a great location (right in the shopping plaza next to ToysRUs/BabiesRUS on 1220 Airline in Corpus).

Leann was VERY welcoming and accommodating. She sells m
aternity clothes, nursing clothes, baby items and she has even set up a toy area for small children to play while you shop and try on clothes. I enjoyed visiting with her and picking out a few items for myself.

I'd recommend a visit to the store and if you find something you like you can get a 15% DISCOUNT off your total purchase by mentioning this STxMomsBlog!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Jane Ramsey. A Mother's View.

Jane Ramsey was one of the first people I thought of after I created this blog. During my last pregnancy, both Jane and her co-worker Anne, gave me much valued support and very many helpful tips for a physiological birth. I met these wonderful women through the Fleet and Family Support Center on the Ingleside Navy Base. Both are professional childbirth educators and both provide fabulous resources for the mommys of the South Texas Area.

Jane is a mother herself and a grandmother! She had the special opportunity to attend her daughter-in-law's home birth. She shares with us a physiological birth story from her point of view as a mother and grandmother. I found this story to be very inspiring and I hope you do to.
Thank you Jane for sharing!

My name is Jane Ramsey. I am a mother of 5 and a grandmother of 7. I have worked with families and babies for almost 30 years. In the last two years I became a childbirth educator and provide education for families in a wonderful program of the Navy’s.

I was asked by my daughter-in-law to be present at her home birth. I was very excited about this opportunity and to be honest a little nervous. Being a grandmother, I have seen lots of births through the years and I know what can go wrong. I also had two births naturally but in a hospital setting and to be honest not by choice. I just did not know how this would work as far as emergencies or anything else.

I arrived at my son’s and daughter-in-law’s house the week the baby was due and since this was her second, we thought she may go at her due date but of course she didn’t!

We would go see the midwife once a week in an office, just like any other office but more child friendly, warm and inviting. One hour was devoted to my daughter-in-law for exams and questions with this mid-wife. Great! I was already impressed. There had also been sonograms and a doctor on call for emergencies. At first the baby was breach and the mid-wife would not deliver the baby at home if he didn’t turn but he did so everything was good to go!

After her due date, we tried every natural method we could think of to bring on the labor. I was going to have to leave and I did NOT want to miss the birth. We walked for miles throughout the days and no baby yet. (I lost 5 pounds though!) Anyway, finally the day before I was going to leave she went into labor and I thought here we go!!

The midwife, doula, and an assistant came immediately. They were wonderful! I was so impressed by their professionalism. Their attention to details, their knowledge of childbirth was amazing. They were so attentive to her and her needs. No hospital has ever given the care and attention as she was given that day. They brought sterile sheets and equipment to assist if needed in the birth. My daughter-in-law was allowed to stay where she felt the most comfortable and with the people she loved the most were there for her.

When the actually birth occurred, my grandson shoulders became lodged and they had to do a little maneuvering to get him out. The team really went to work then and I don’t think any one could have done a better job. The baby was born and he was perfect! He was gently placed on her stomach while the placenta was delivered. The team was quick to remain professional cleaning everything as the couple enjoyed their new baby. The baby was put to the breast and initially had an issue with the latch but again the Duala was right there to assist and soon everything was great.

As I am writing this story, tears are coming to my eyes as I remember what a wonderful and joyous experience this was for me and I one I will never forget.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Swimming with a belly!

Flipping through a Good Housekeeping magazine, I read something in a colored blurb that advertised one more way to help prepare my body for a physiological birth: Wateraerobics!

I'm a bit skeptical of colored blurbs, so I did some research to check the stats.

Brought to us by the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, School of Medical Sciences, University of Campinas (UNICAMP), Sao Paulo, Brazil AND the Department of Anesthesiology, School of Medical Sciences, University of Campinas (UNICAMP), Sao Paulo, Brazil,
we have this research article to help us know the facts:
Water aerobics in pregnancy: cardiovascular response, labor and neonatal outcomes

I do realize that the experimental and control groups were made up of what I might consider to be small sample sizes (34 and 37 pregnant women, respectively).
However, look at the results: Between the two groups, there was NO DIFFERENCE in the type of delivery or duration of labor. And yet, among the wateraerobic-going-pregno-moms, only 27% requested anaglasia during labor vs 65% of those who did not particpate in the gentle water sport.

According to the study "the regular practice of moderate water aerobics by sedentary and low risk pregnant women was not detrimental to the health of the mother or the child." Please take note that the participants in the study had low risk pregnancies.

So my next thought is, "Wow! Moderate exercise really will make my natural birth easier."
And then, "I have a friend who looks really great in a maternity swimsuit. Maybe this article is for her... haha!"

And another article that commetns on the study:

Friday, July 24, 2009

Ever wonder how Dad might feel about a home birth?

Here is one Dad's experience with a hospital birth and a home birth. A great big thanks to Chalan Derry who wrote this post for us! He is currently living in the South Texas area.


"My name is Chalan Derry, and I am the father of 6 kids, 5 rowdy boys, and 1 precious little girl. The 2 oldest boys were part of the package deal when I married my wife (Liz). I will tell you about the birth experiences of the other four.

"Joey was born in February of 2001. He was born at the Hospital in Uvalde. This being my first birth experience I was rather nervous. The pregnancy was normal, so I will simply describe the birth. Joey was about 2 weeks over due, It was a long, stressful 2 weeks. The day he was born was the only of the entire month I had plans to do anything else. I had committed to decorating the church hall for a valentines day party. When Liz called me and told me it was time I dropped what I was doing and rushed her to the Hospital. Once there the nurses rushed us into a room, hooked Liz up to all sorts of machines and monitors and left. It was exciting, but also boring. For the next 3 or 4 hours I spent standing next to my wife trying to help her relax, and listening to all sorts of beeps and noises from the monitors. Periodically a nurse would come in and "check" liz and leave again. Eventually the doctor came in and assessed the situation. He informed Liz that he should break her water to help things move along. Liz said she would rather wait a little longer. The doctor returned 45 minutes to an hour later to see how things were moving along, and again informed us he should break the water. Liz still wanted to wait, at which point he said something along the lines of "well I am the doctor". So we consented. After he did things did begin to move rather rapidly. Within 90 minutes Joey was born! It was and still is one of the greatest moments of my life. But It was exhausting. I feel like a jerk saying I was exhausted after my wife gave birth, but I was. I had spent 6 hours mostly standing, no one telling me anything, and worried the entire time. After the birth I didn’t know what to do. I went to the lobby to call friends and relatives about the good news. The Hospital brought in a roll away bed for me to sleep on in my wife’s room. I did enjoy spending this time with my wife, and new son, but I felt very confined to this small hospital room, unfamiliar bed, and lousy hospital food.

"Fast forward about 18 months to the birth of our next son Benny birth. Liz had discussed the possibility of a home birth with me several times, but it wasn’t until she was pregnant without any insurance and the realization that we would be paying for this birth out of pocket, that I finally consented. The birth experience was a lot different. When Liz went into labor, we simply called our midwife (Holly). Liz would inform Holly every couple of hours to let her know how she was doing, and how things were progressing. During this time life kept going on as normal around our house. I fed and prepared our other children for their bedtime. I would of course check on Liz and spend a few moments talking with her. She was much more free to move about and labor in different positions. When the midwife and her assistant arrived and began checking Liz, I was able to slip out of the room, and call relatives and inform them of the situation. In fact I remember sitting at the kitchen table balancing the check book while Liz and the midwives were in the bedroom for much of the labor. When it was time I came in and assisted by holding Liz as she squatted at the foot of the bed to deliver the baby. After the delivery the midwives stayed and cleaned up, checked on Liz and Benny, and other such things. I was not nearly as "exhausted" as I was with Joey’s birth. I was able to sleep next to Liz and Benny in my own bed, and in the morning got up helped the other children get up and going.

"The experiences with our last two were very much the same, except that with our daughter (Reagan) both Liz’s and My mothers were in attendance. It was a very special time for both of them to be able to attend and participate in the birth of their granddaughter.

"After experiencing both a hospital and home birth, I would highly recommend to everyone that they consider a home birth. My experiences with home birth have been very good, and I believe it is a more peaceful, and happy experience overall. "

-Chalan Derry

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

" give birth, it is both very powerful and amazing! It is the biggest high you can achieve, those endorphins really do some magic!"

After reading these words from the following post, I knew what Jennie has to say was intriguing. Can yoga really help a natural birth (yes, that means no meds!) actually seem magical? Read and find out.

Benefits of Yoga During Pregnancy, Birth, and Parenting-
by Jennie Woelpern, RYT

Our beautiful Abigail Rose arrived September 5th, 6:44am 6lbs. 11oz, 19" long and most important in perfect health. She gave her mom a quick labor & delivery. Though it was quick I certainly can't say it was easy. I did an all natural birth/physiological birth at the hospital without drugs or intervention. Those were my wishes and my birth plan. I feel it is the number one accomplishment in my life compared to all the things I have ever done!! It is hard to describe in words how it feels to give birth, it is both very powerful and amazing! It is the biggest high you can achieve, those endorphins really do some magic! I still can't believe I did it!! I feel that yoga, the support of my husband, and my sweet friend and doula Stacy was what helped me. My total labor was less then 8 hours. I was home for 6 of those hours. During that time I finished packing my bags for the hospital , organized a little, and did some deep breathing while doing cat/cow pose and puppy pose (featured in the picture above) to help relieve the discomfort I was feeling. This was all while trying to be patient waiting for my husband to arrive from work. If I did not do yoga I don’t know how I would have made it through the labor pains, it was very beneficial. During my entire pregnancy I did yoga everyday in addition to walking a few miles every day. Preparing for labor is like preparing for a marathon you really need to have the mind set and hold your self to it. These are some wonderful books I recommend to help you prepare: Guide to Childbirth by Ina Mae and Natural Healing for the Pregnant Women by Elizabeth Burns, ND

My pregnancy wasn’t all that easy and testing at times. I dealt with a lot of nausea and waves of emotions. However instead of allowing myself to sit around and be inactive, I got up, moved, breathed, and focused on making myself feel as best I could. A couple years before my pregnancy I took an 8 month yoga teacher training program and also a prenatal and postnatal yoga teacher training program. What I learned in those programs not only helped me cope during my pregnancy, but it also helps me in my every day life and situations. It helps me to be a better person, more patient, and to be able to deal with challenges more easily. I do a daily yoga practice every morning to help me start my day centered and to release tension. In addition, I also feel because I did yoga everyday during my pregnancy that it helped my daughter develop to be a calm baby. I feel it is important to do something that will help you be a better person mentally and physically, and that is what yoga does for me. If you haven’t tried yoga yet get yourself some DVDs, books or better yet go to a class where you have the support and the help of a teacher. I would recommend: Preparing for Birth With Yoga by Janet Balaskas and Prenatal Yoga DVD by Shiva Rea.

Abigail and I have taught Mommy & Baby yoga classes together, which is a great way to connect with your baby and other mommy’s. In these classes you are able to build up strength, reduce tension, and learn more about yourself and your baby. I encourage you to go to a class or get some DVDs/books to do at home together. Some great resources: Baby Om (, , and Postnatal Yoga DVD by Shive Rea,

We have recently moved to the surrounding Houston area, so I am no longer teaching in Corpus Christi. However if you are interested in yoga and classes, there are several locations in Corpus Christi. There are yoga classes at the local gyms, Spohn Clinic on the Island, Corpus Christi Yoga Studio and Crossroads Yoga Studio . For more information on yoga you may check out my web ( ) or feel free to contact me at I am always more then happy to answer any questions.

If your interested in my birth story check out my story at my blog:

Monday, July 20, 2009

Now, what is a physiological birth again?

So, this is a post from the STBA blog that I transfered to here:

Saturday, May 2, 2009
A friend emailed me the following question:
Hi Carrie,
What do you mean by "physiological birth"? e.g. with no anesthetic drugs/epidural, etc.? without inducing the birth with tocolytic drugs? or do you mean birth in a bathtub? or giving birth in a football player starting position vs. lithotomy position? or something else entirely?

My response:
I'd like to pose the question to the blog readers:
Physiological is a descriptive word used to depict something as normal and natural... Is a birth with no anesthetic drugs/epidural normal and natural? What about births that are induced by tocolytic drugs? Are they normal? Are pools of water or half clad squatting women normal and natural in childbirth?

What do you think?

Posted by Carrie K at 3:18 PM

LizD said...
I personally think physiological birth implies that a woman is able and enabled to listen to her body during the labor/birth process as completely, with as little intervention, as possible. If that means she walks around during the majority of her labor, moans or screams, slow dances, or sits in one spot, that should be facilitated as best as possible. It is also important for her to do this in whatever location she feels safest.
May 12, 2009 7:53 PM

Beth Overton, CPM said...
Hey Carrie, I'm going to try and write an article about this question for you. I really prefer the term "physiological" to "natural" because I find that "natural" has TOO broad a meaning these days. It is really sad to me that too many people think "natural" only means the baby was born vaginally and not be c-section. There is NOTHING natural about being strapped to monitors, told to lie still on your back while you are given all kinds of drugs to control YOUR birth. That is NOT natural. But sadly, too many people in our culture don't understand natural birth. So when we use the term "physiological" it makes them think more. :-)
May 13 2009 6:23 AM

Monday, July 13, 2009

The facts on CPMs- Important?

Ever wonder what the facts are about Certified Professional Midwives and at-home-births? Ever think they could be so powerful, so touching, so important?

Here's a great video presented by the Big Push for Midwives

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Natural Family Planning and Physiological Birth- By Ann Craigs

Ann has come up with our first real "guest" blog. Thank you Ann! Here it is:
It’s fun to see people’s eyes grow wide when I mention my six physiological births. Four were attended by outsiders and two were assisted by my husband. It’s sad to me however, that when I discuss physiological family planning, people are unaware of what I mean. I learned about natural childbirth from a high school class. I learned about natural family planning from a book.
Not knowing what in the world the title of the book meant, I checked out Breastfeeding and Natural Child Spacing. It was from La Leche League during the time that I was nursing my first baby. The author, Sheila Kippley, absolutely fascinated me.
Did anyone really space babies like this these days? I almost dismissed the idea; I am a nurse and had never heard of such a thing. Now, skip ahead with me a couple of months. Try to imagine my amazement to discover that my breastfeeding pattern, labeled “ecological breastfeeding” by Kippley, was hormonally keeping my monthly fertility cycles away.
My cute baby nursed frequently day and night. We took a nap together each day, plus delayed solids and liquids until around six months. Since my son hated pacifiers, swings, babysitters and schedules, we avoided them. I nicely went without any menstrual spotting or bleeding for over a year.
Although women breastfeed differently, all these very specific behaviors, named “Seven Standards” by Kippley, usually result in impressive, eco-friendly child spacing. I repeated these special circumstances with all my children. Sheila’s 2008 book, The Seven Standards of Ecological Breastfeeding has newer research that should definitely be in nursing school courses. However, the book is written for ordinary moms. I have met many women for years, who are equally pleased with this as I am.
I next learned a broader form of ‘physiological’ family planning. When the breastfeeding infertility stops, I monitor my temperature and cervical signs daily. If not planning a child, we abstain on the fertile days and enjoy marital intimacy on the naturally infertile days. I feel so clean being patch-free, pill-free, shot-free, and latex-free. It’s similar to birthing without drugs, devices, and interventions. I am very respectful of my husband who ‘two-steps’ with me on this. Just as behaviors indicate different stages of labor, so my body signs, jotted down quickly on a chart, indicate my phases of fertility and infertility.
I am indebted to Sheila’s husband, John, as well. This couple just published a slim 2009 book, Natural Family Planning, The Complete Approach. I got a coil-bound version, perfect for home study. In addition to charting, breastfeeding, and special situations, one chapter explains why some use this for moral reasons and another chapter has true stories of how this has improved women’s childbearing years. To preview it, see a free downloadable form at
Ann enjoys all her children, physical and spiritual, that she has been around over the years while volunteering as a nurse, breastfeeding counselor and NFP instructor. She enjoys fishing and knitting and wouldn't trade her life for anyone's - well, maybe trade with a midwife :) Recent highlights in her life include the first grandbaby, plus seeing John and Sheila Kippley receive an honorary doctorate from Franciscan University , both events in the winter of 2008.

Anonymous said...
I had a similar experience to Ann's--learning about ecological breastfeeding and natural family planning through alternative means. I remember mentioning nfp to my doctor before I got married and he dismissed it. I wish that the medical establishment had good data on this method. I would never go back to artificial birth control methods. Natural family planning treats my feminine nature with the dignity it deserves. It treats my marriage with the dignity is deserves.

I have successfully used ecological breastfeeding to postpone my menstrual cycle for up to 15 months. It works to postpone pregnancy and nurtures a beautiful relationship with the new baby. Doctors need to know more about this method and be able to offer more options to their patients.

T Kimmel, mother of 7 and a baby on the way