Improving What is Evidence Based Maternity Care?

“Unfortunately, American maternity care is driven by several factors other than what is best for moms and babies. Perhaps the most surprising one is tradition: healthcare, and especially maternity care, is extremely slow to change. Some common practices today—separating newborns from their mothers at birth, having women push on their backs, putting labor on strict timelines—are rooted in protocols and beliefs from the 1940s and 1950s that have long been debunked by science.

Institutional care is also shaped by profit and liability concerns. The fact is that birth is not “efficient,” nor is it predictable. Policies and protocols that try to make it that can conflict with the needs of women giving birth. For example, controlling the speed of labor with medication can be an appealing option for care providers whose time is limited, but it can be much more painful for women and can cause complications like fetal distress and hyperstimulation of the uterus. Almost half of women in the U.S. receive medications to speed up their labor.”

Find out more about Improving Birth and Evidence Based Care at



Understanding “Baby Language”

According to Priscilla Dunstan [Australian Mezzo-Soprano and founder of Dunstan Baby Language], the five universal words (or sound reflexes) used by infants are:[3]

  • Neh (I’m hungry) – An infant uses the sound reflex “Neh” to communicate its hunger. The sound is produced when the sucking reflex is triggered, and the tongue is pushed up on the roof of the mouth.
  • Owh (I’m sleepy) – An infant uses the sound reflex “Owh” to communicate that they are tired. The sound is produced much like an audible yawn.
  • Heh (I’m experiencing discomfort) – An infant uses the sound reflex “Heh” to communicate stress, discomfort, or perhaps that it needs a fresh diaper. The sound is produced by a response to a skin reflex, such as feeling sweat or itchiness in the bum.
  • Eairh (I have lower gas) – An infant uses the sound reflex “Eairh” to communicate they have flatulence or an upset stomach. The sound is produced when trapped air from a belch is unable to release and travels to the stomach where the muscles of the intestines tighten to force the air bubble out. Often, this sound will indicate that a bowel movement is in progress, and the infant will bend its knees, bringing the legs toward the torso.This leg movement assists in the ongoing process.
  • Eh (I need to be burped) – An infant uses the sound reflex “Eh” to communicate that it needs to be burped. The sound is produced when a large bubble of trapped air is caught in the chest, and the reflex is trying to release this out of the mouth.

Dunstan states that she has a photographic memory for sounds and that this, combined with her years in the opera and her experience as a mother, allowed her to recognize certain sounds in the human voice. A DVD set called The Dunstan Baby Language was released by Dunstan in November 2006. The two-disc set covered the five universal words of the language, methods of learning how to recognize the vocalizations and sounds, numerous examples of baby cries from around the world to “tune your ear,” and live demonstrations of newborn mother groups experimenting with the language. (from Wikipedia)

Here is a taste of Dunstan’s work. The whole series is at

<p><a href=”″>Dunstan Baby Language – Lesson1</a> from <a href=””>Ash</a&gt; on <a href=””>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

“Reconnection to one’s most core self…”

I read this fact-filled and inspiring article about epidural anesthesia and remembered again why I am a midwife, and why midwives do what we do and why homebirth is so important! So good for mothers and babies!

If you are thinking about natural birth, making decisions about home or hospital, whether to have an epidural, how to prepare for your labor, birth and postpartum, you will want to read Dr. Kelly Brogan’s article at The Healthy Home Economist.

There are birth stories and testimonials at the HypnoBirthing of Southern Oregon blog and you will be able to find out about the latest class series for expecting parents.  You can take sure steps toward learning to relax and enjoy the transformative power of labor and birthing.  We are offering a substantial discount on HypnoBirthing to our homebirth clients because we think it is SO IMPORTANT.  Enjoy!

BabyMoon Ideas – How we can help new families

I just found this great article by Gloria Lemay at  Gloria has many many years of experience helping hundreds of families.  What is so great about this article is that she lists, quite specifically, the things that we can offer a new family.  These things are SO BASIC and yet will be SO APPRECIATED by the new family.  If you have ever had a baby, you will know that this is true.

For some of us, it’s difficult to ask for what we need.

If someone asks “How can I help?”  “I’d love to help you after the birth.  What do you need?”  we don’t really know how to respond, or maybe feel temporarily overwhelmed by the question itself.


A simple solution would be to just send them this article:

After the Birth – What a Family Needs

and they will understand and be grateful for the simplicity of it.

People really want to help

but they don’t want to intrude, and we don’t really have a cultural tradition that guides us.  Can it really be so simple as bringing groceries, toilet paper, folding laundry, doing the dishes, vacuuming the rug, making soup?  Yes!  Having had four babies and four postpartums I say a HUGE RESOUNDING YES!  If this can be coordinated among a circle friends, then all the better!

Remember, you will want to think about your postpartum time now, while you are pregnant, and create a BabyMoon for yourself and your little one.  You will be providing an opportunity for people to make a meaningful contribution to your baby’s beginning and giving yourself some little moments of rest that can add up to happier mama, more bountiful breastmilk, and a few moments of integration time for the whole family.

BabyMoon 40 days! Here are some more important concepts to help you prepare

Please check out Peggy O’Mara’s article on Ayurvedic Postpartum – So important!  Does it sound like a long time to you?  To rest with your newborn, to stay home, to receive help from family and friends for 40 days?  It is worth doing your best during the pregnancy to investigate how you can set this up for yourself.

It’s interesting to me how the Ayurvedic diet suggests no raw veggies.  When I was in my BabyMoon time with my fourth child, I used to sit my salad on the woodstove because when it wilted it tasted just perfect to me.


BabyMoon up close and personal = Happiness


I just returned from a 4 week baby wellness check and home visit with one of our moms. I was thrilled to see how rested, happy and bonded with the baby she was. It was a treasure too watching Dad holding and communicating with his son, all the while, the baby making eyes and baby sounds for him. They were all so in tune! Baby was completely comfortable in his body and parents were obviously adept at “reading” his cues, for nursing, for changing and so many other little things. Hardly a drop of stress in the house! They wanted to share so much of what they were learning – As if they themselves had been birthed into a whole new life.
Last week I witnessed a similar thing at a 4 week postpartum visit: mom was tucked away upstairs enjoying nap time with her baby. Dad and younger sibling were downstairs making food and generally bouncing gently around the way younger kids need to do. Both of these moms felt really comfortable in their bodies, had energy and felt “recovered” from the birth and both were dedicated to spending as much time as possible focusing on baby time, nursing, resting, enjoying. The babies were totally thriving! I was told they hardly ever cried. Parents could tell what the babies needed before crying ever happened.
The most prevalent energy in these homes was JOY!

But It can be DIFFICULT

I remember a much different picture with my own first baby. My husband went back to work the day after the birth. I rested as much as I could, but there was still food to cook, dishes and clothes to wash and all the various household chores while I was caring for a newborn, learning how to breastfeed and recovering from the birth. Labor and birth were a true vision quest for me, unimaginably transformative, and then suddenly, boom! that’s all over, now get back to normal life. I understand now that I really needed time to rest and integrate what I had just gone through. It was certainly the biggest experience I had ever had. My other challenges included outrageous fatigue, screaming muscles, basic overwhelm with everything being so new (I had never done this before!) and no one to share it with. I felt so alone but didn’t even know how to talk about that. Was I supposed to be enjoying this? My saving grace was the love I saw in my son’s gaze and my overwhelming desire to mother him.

I had intended to stay home exclusively for 21 days to give my baby time to “totally come into his body” and feel 100% secure, safe and thriving. I couldn’t do it. By two weeks I was getting “cabin fever” and went out into the world with him on some mundane errand. It was obviously a big mistake. He cried. I cried. My errand didn’t get accomplished. We both needed the slow calm attention and flexibility available at home in our nest. The simple act of driving and trying to “get something done” were moving us in the wrong direction.
During those early postpartum days, I talked to my mother on the phone (we were more than 3000 miles apart) and told her how sore, aching and tired I felt and she responded “Oh yes, I remember that’s how it is.” And that was it. This was just “the way it was.”
No one had told me how to create a BabyMoon time for myself and my newborn. I didn’t even know I would need it! I didn’t know that I would really really need this thing I had never even heard of. The new mom needs TIME. Time for recovery, rest, healing, bonding, adjusting, integrating – These are very real needs in the days and weeks after birth. There are physical and emotional costs when these needs are unmet.
For my second, third and fourth babies, I was more prepared. I had helped many other women plan their postpartum “lying-in” time experience. I did my best to create a BabyMoon experience for myself and I got better at it with each baby.
I was so happy to see Veege Ruediger’s great blog post at Moonstone Midwifery about this earlier in January.  She succinctly outlines why postpartum matters and gives 10 tips for how to honor your “recovery.” Veege is a mother and a midwife too, so I know she has walked her talk. If you are expecting a baby, you will want to check this out.

How to get started ~  Find out more about creating your own BabyMoon ~


We are creating a BabyMoon Project that you can benefit from right now. We want to spread the word until BabyMoon is a cultural tradition. As a community we can help each other. When you sign up for the BabyMoon project, you can receive newsletters with information and resources about how you can create your own BabyMoon. We are gathering a circle of women who can mentor and support other women to create and sustain their BabyMoon time.

Contact us to find out more

Nurturing Prenatal Care at Three Sisters Midwifery

Let me tell you about what you can expect to experience at a typical prenatal visit with the midwives at Three Sisters.

When you come into the office, there is often a midwife present to greet you and offer you a cup of tea. If there is a wait, it is rarely longer than five minutes. As you transition from our waiting area to the prenatal room, two of your midwives will join you. You’ll have the chance to settle onto our comfortable couch and the midwives will ask how you are doing. Our prenatal visits have the feel of a conversation among friends as we chat together, checking-in about your diet, your sleep, and your energy level. We will ask about any discomforts you may be experiencing and we will want to know about your stressors, and your joys, challenges, and changes too. We will offer counsel and feedback where needed. We will make diet suggestions or help you brainstorm ideas to address any concerns that have come up. Most of all, we will listen. So much of our care is about getting to know you and your family. We want to learn about who you are and what you desire from your pregnancy, birth, and postpartum experiences. We are here to support you in creating what feels optimal and authentic to you.

In some prenatal visits, a significant portion of time is spent in discussion around choices that come up along the way. We take plenty of time for questions, making it possible for you to make the informed decisions that feel right for your family. Because each prenatal visit is an hour long, there is ample time cover all that is important to you.

In the last part of your prenatal visit, we will check-in with you on a more physical level. We will take your blood pressure and pulse and have you step on the scale. We will measure your growing belly, listen to your baby’s heartbeat, and palpate your baby’s position. This is also a special time for everyone to tune in with baby who has his or her own unique experience of the process.

Our midwives know pregnancy can be an incredible journey when a woman is nurtured and cared for in the way she deserves. We know babies are at their healthiest when they are acknowledged and welcomed in a gentle, safe, and loving way by their families and care providers. Our midwifery care goes above and beyond what is offered in most other maternity settings. For me, choosing homebirth midwifery care was a gift to my baby and myself and I am still reaping the benefits today.

Childhood Vaccines: A Topic on Every Parent’s Mind

Next week, I will be teaching a class about childhood vaccinations. It is a topic that is of great interest to me as both a mother and a healthcare practitioner. Childhood vaccines are at the forefront of mainstream medicine these days. Well-child visits are typically scheduled based on the vaccines a child should receive and the vast majority of medical practitioners advise parents to follow the current schedule recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

However, many parents have doubts about the current CDC schedule and find themselves conflicted about what is best for their children. Furthermore, in our modern world, it is difficult to find reliable information about vaccines that is scientifically-based and not simply someone’s opinion. Often as parents, we have to do our own research on topics such as vaccines and be an advocate for our children in the healthcare setting.

I believe parents have a right to accurate, unbiased information when it comes to making important healthcare decisions for their children. Education is a significant part of what I do as a naturopathic doctor and a midwife. At Three Sisters, all of our midwives spend a lot of time educating clients. When it comes to choices that need to be made around a baby’s health, we do our best to provide thorough, unbiased information so parents are able to make the decision that best suits their family and their child. My upcoming vaccines class will be held at Three Sisters Midwifery in our classroom space and aligns well with our practice’s emphasis on education and choices.

In the class, we will cover topics such as:

• naturopathic approaches to vaccination
• immune and brain development in early childhood and how this relates to vaccination
• the community impact of vaccines
• the pros and cons of the current CDC schedule
• alternative vaccines schedules
• how to best support your child’s immune system if you do choose to vaccinate
• and much, much more

Join us next Tuesday, October 15th at 6:00pm for an in-depth 2 ½ hour class and discussion about vaccines. The cost is $20 per family.

Please class Katie to register: 542-778-6173

Hope to see you there!