May 2016 Birth Circle Topic: Finding Comfort in Pregnancy

With Mother’s Day just around the corner, comfort and support are familiar themes. Moms are natural and perpetual givers of both, and thoroughly enjoy when these can be reciprocated. During pregnancy, physical and emotional comfort are paramount for expecting mothers. This month, we will discuss ways moms-to-be can find comfort. Feel free to share your experiences.

The Birth Circle is a safe, nonjudgmental forum to share experiences, ask questions, connect with members of the local birth community, or just to listen and be a part of the experience. We are working toward the goal of empowering women to take control of their births, to provide them with caring support, sound guidance, and evidence-based information, and to create a safe place for encouragement, healing and connection.

For more information about Arizona Birth Network’s Birth Circle meetings, visit us on facebook or email us:

May Birth Circle Dates:

East Valley…   May 3 @ 7pm

Queen Creek… May 11 @ 6:30pm

Central Phoenix… May 12 @ 7:30pm

Scottsdale…         May 18 @ 10am

West Valley…      May 19 @ 7:15pm

South Phoenix…  May 24 @ 7pm

January 2016 Birth Circle Topic: Community Involvement

Thankfully, the Phoenix metropolitan area is rich in connections to support our community’s families. We kick off 2016 by discussing “Community Involvement.” Learn more about the resources available to you in your area, as well as, share resources you may know of as well. Sharing is caring. Happy New Year!

The Birth Circle is a safe, nonjudgmental forum to share experiences, ask questions, connect with members of the local birth community, or just to listen and be a part of the experience. We are working toward the goal of empowering women to take control of their births, to provide them with caring support, sound guidance, and evidence-based information, and to create a safe place for encouragement, healing and connection.

For more information about Arizona Birth Network’s Birth Circle meetings, visit us on facebook or email us:

January Birth Circle Dates:

East Valley…   January 5 @ 7pm

Queen Creek… January 13 @ 6:30pm

Central Phoenix… January 14 @ 7:30pm

South Phoenix…  January 19 @ 7pm

Scottsdale…         January 20 @ 10am

West Valley…      January 21 @ 7:15pm


February 2016 Birth Circle Topic: Siblings

If you had siblings growing up, you may remember good or bad times you’ve shared together. Being a parent with more than one child requires lots of love, patience and a delicate balancing act. Let’s talk about siblings and some ways to cultivate healthy and loving relationships throughout the entire family. Feel free to bring your sibling to share in the discussion.  

The Birth Circle is a safe, nonjudgmental forum to share experiences, ask questions, connect with members of the local birth community, or just to listen and be a part of the experience. We are working toward the goal of empowering women to take control of their births, to provide them with caring support, sound guidance, and evidence-based information, and to create a safe place for encouragement, healing and connection.

For more information about Arizona Birth Network’s Birth Circle meetings, visit us on facebook or email us:

February Birth Circle Dates:

East Valley…   February 2 @ 7pm

Queen Creek… February 10 @ 6:30pm

Central Phoenix… February 11 @ 7:30pm

South Phoenix…  February 16 @ 7pm

Scottsdale…         February 17 @ 10am

West Valley…      February 18 @ 7:15pm

March 2016 Birth Circle Topic: Choosing a Birth Provider/Location

Choosing a Birth Provider and Location can be one of the most important decisions you make during your pregnancy. This month we will discuss what to look for in both and the array of options you have. Please come and share your experiences in choosing your provider and location, as well as, learn the risks and benefits of various options.

The Birth Circle is a safe, nonjudgmental forum to share experiences, ask questions, connect with members of the local birth community, or just to listen and be a part of the experience. We are working toward the goal of empowering women to take control of their births, to provide them with caring support, sound guidance, and evidence-based information, and to create a safe place for encouragement, healing and connection.

For more information about Arizona Birth Network’s Birth Circle meetings, visit us on facebook or email us:

March Birth Circle Dates:

East Valley…   March 1 @ 7pm

Queen Creek… March 9 @ 6:30pm

Central Phoenix… March 10 @ 7:30pm

Scottsdale…         March 16 @ 10am

West Valley…      March 17@ 7:15pm

South Phoenix…  March 22@ 7pm

April 2016 Birth Circle Topic: Choosing a Pediatrician/Other Provider

Join Us for April’s Birth Circles, where we will be discussing “Pediatricians & Other Providers.” Do you know that you have options? If you love your pediatrician, what were your determining factors in selecting them? As a parent, you have the right to change providers if you are unhappy with the level of care being provided and make the final decisions regarding your child’s care. We will cover these and more this month. Can’t wait to see you!

The Birth Circle is a safe, nonjudgmental forum to share experiences, ask questions, connect with members of the local birth community, or just to listen and be a part of the experience. We are working toward the goal of empowering women to take control of their births, to provide them with caring support, sound guidance, and evidence-based information, and to create a safe place for encouragement, healing and connection.

For more information about Arizona Birth Network’s Birth Circle meetings, visit us on facebook or email us:

April Birth Circle Dates:

East Valley…       April 5 @ 7pm

Queen Creek…    April 13 @ 6:30pm

Central Phoenix…April 14 @ 7:30pm

Scottsdale…         April 20 @ 10am

West Valley…      April 21 @ 7:15pm

South Phoenix…  April 26 @ 7pm

Zoolikins Hosts The 2016 Great Cloth Diaper Change on April 23rd!

This year we set out to break an international record! Last year we gained even more events with 19 countries represented worldwide! That’s 7,441 participants in total!

In 2011, it all began with Julie Aagard’s desire to celebrate Earth Day in a family friendly way by supporting the Tiny Tots community. This quickly became a dream to set a Guinness World record for the most cloth diapers changed simultaneously! It was conceived and organized that year by a small group of cloth diaper enthusiasts, who were eager to demonstrate the relevance and benefits to today’s modern families.

By using cloth diapers, families save more than $2000 per child. Parents also reduce exposure to their baby’s skin and lungs to chemicals in disposable diapers. Having a convenient, reusable stash versus making frequent store purchases, is an added plus.

This year, natural parenting store, Zoolikins, will be hosting the 6th Annual Great Cloth Diaper Change at 11 a.m. Registration begins at 10am and all are welcome to attend. Afterwards, enjoy swag, deals, raffle prizes, and music by Persephone. To participate in the Great Cloth Diaper Change itself, families of children must be of diapering or training pants age.

The Arizona Birth Network is a proud local sponsor of this event. Join us at our table and learn more about our supportive Birth Circles for parents and network for providers and birth professionals. Click on the links below to learn more!

Arizona Birth Network
The Great Cloth Diaper Change
Real Diaper Association
Eventbrite Details

A Pain in the Back

back-painThe classic pose of a pregnant woman walking or standing is often depicted with one of her hands supporting her lower back.    It’s no wonder this image is so widely used, as one of the most common pregnancy complaints is of back soreness and pain.  A pregnant woman’s spine and back works hard to support her growing uterus, weight, and blood volume.

Here are just a few reasons why the back and spine are prone to causing discomfort during pregnancy:

  • During pregnancy, your uterus grows to almost 1000 times its original size.    Add the rapid weight gain from pregnancy and this impacts your body’s balance, center of gravity, and posture and thus causes additional strain on your back muscles.
  • The pregnancy hormone Relaxin is released in your body to help joints in the pelvis loosen in preparation for birth.  However, Relaxin can lead to back pain if joints become too flexible and loose.
  • As the pregnant body grows, abdominal muscles may become stretched or weakened, thus leading to increased back pain.

The good news is you don’t need to suffer through back pain.   There are many exercises and natural treatments that you can do to proactively prevent back pain or lessen the impact.    While these may not work for everyone, it may be worth your time and effort to give them a try.   As a bonus, many of the exercises listed below may also help encourage proper positioning of your baby as well as strengthen your body in preparation for birth.

picture11Chiropractic Care – The benefits of ongoing chiropractic care can be widespread for pregnant women.  Even the American Pregnancy Association advocates for chiropractic care during pregnancy citing its benefits as:  reliving back/neck/joint pain, reducing time of labor and delivery, controlling symptoms of nausea, and even preventing a potential Cesarean section.  Be sure to find a Chiropractor who is trained in the Webster technique, which has specific protocol for pregnancy.  To read more about the Webster technique, as well as to meet our very own AZBN Board Member and chiropractor Dr. Jenny, click here.

Acupuncture This article from WebMD shows that acupuncture treatment may be even more successful at relieving back pain than the traditional treatment of massage, heat, and exercise.   An excerpt from the article states:  “I’m happy to say that I was wrong about acupuncture,” says lead study author Kaj Wedenberg, MD, PhD, the assistant chief of Ob-Gyn at Central Hospital in Vasteras, Sweden. “This preliminary study showed that acupuncture can reduce low back pain and disability in just a few simple treatments.”

Support – Wearing a maternity support belt can also lift the abdomen and reduce pressure on the spine and back.

yoga21Posture – This is a time to put into action what your mama always said “Stand with your shoulders back!”.   Also, try to avoid slouching or leaning back too far in a chair while sitting.   Use an exercise/birth ball while sitting at a desk or watching TV, as the ball prevents slouching and supports the spine.   Avoid sitting in one position too long or standing on your feet for extended periods of time.   Practice yoga poses that help encourage good posture by gently stretching, strengthening, and improving balance.  Check out the SuTRA MuM prenatal yoga program at our Phoenix Birth Circle host location, SuTRA Midtown!

Exercises – There are a number of simple and quick exercises, including yoga poses, that can safely be performed daily throughout pregnancy to help prevent and relieve back pain.    According to this article, “gentle stretching and movement will often decrease muscle spasm and improve posture, resulting in decreased pain.” Click here to read more and see illustrations of easy exercises for strengthening your back.   This article also includes in-depth information about more exercises.

bathHeat and Massage –  You can always rely on something as simply as a heating pad, or a warm bath with Epsom salt, to lesson some of the minor back aches during pregnancy.    Some women may find an herbal ginger compress to bring on relief from pain soreness. Receiving a massage from someone trained in pregnancy massage can also be beneficial in relaxing muscles and loosening tension that can contribute to back discomfort.

Finally, there may be safe pain relievers, such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen, that can be used in the event the other methods don’t provide relief.  However, always consult your care provider prior to taking any medications.


— Leigh Steele

Postpartum: Don’t Forget Me!

mama2We plan for the birth for months –  reading books, seeking advice, ordering a birth kit or packing a hospital bag.  Baby showers and mother blessings are hosted in our honor.   Gifts overflow from the nursery and the phone calls asking “Soooo, how are you?” seem endless.  We grow anxious, we nest, we wonder, and the big day arrives.   Congratulations abound, you say goodbye to your nurses or midwife, and are now home with a brand new baby.

Then what? <insert sound of crickets chirping>

It seems that in our culture, the importance of the postpartum period for new mothers is vastly underestimated while simultaneously being vastly overwhelming.   Where are the grannies who live with you and rock your baby as you shower for the first time in a week?  Gone are the legions of women among your “village” who you can call to out your window for an extra hand or a shoulder to lean on.   What about the midwives and family doctor’s who make house calls to check in on you and bring healing herbs;  both for your body and your soul?  The days of sharing stories with your neighbor while hanging laundry, baby strapped to your back, seem to a thing of the past.

Indeed, technology has brought about a new kind of motherhood bonding through blogging, Skype, cell phones, webcams, and internet meet up groups.   While these mediums have become invaluable to so many new mothers, nothing replaces the intimacy – and immediacy – of the physical tribe of caring community members ready to honor and serve a woman in her postpartum period.

On top of feeling isolated, many mothers comment that no one really prepared them for the physical and emotional healing that can come with the postpartum period.   A postpartum body, no matter the manner of birth, needs rest, hydration, nutrition, and emotional support.  Below are some small tips on things you can do that can help aid in a more harmonious and healthy postpartum period.     When you gather the grannies and tribes of women, please let us know! 🙂

Physical Recovery/Healing

Be Gentle with Yourself – This is the number one rule for both physical and emotional healing and the transition into motherhood! 🙂  Be gentle with yourself, your body, your expectations, and your emotions.   The postpartum period can include a broad spectrum of emotions and physical sensations.   Take it one day at a time.  Remember to exhale.  Ask for help.  Reach out to a community.  Know your limits.  Keep a journal.  Begin to exercise when you are ready and how you deem appropriate.   Allow yourself to process, cry, laugh, and surrender.  Take warm baths and sit under the moon.   Snuggle, carry, wear, sleep with your baby.  Follow your instincts.  Stay in touch with your care providers.  And remember that you are a beautiful, powerful mother.  And that you are also human.

st-1293-belly-bandit-bambooBelly Binding – While this may sound like a torture device, it’s actually a technique used for centuries by women around the world to support a postpartum body in returning back to its shape.  Belly binding can aid in reliving back pain, supports the abdominal muscles, and can help with proper breastfeeding posture.   There are a plethora of options for belly binding, ranging from the easy-to-use Belly Bandit or Sweetness Sash, to the more traditional and supportive Malaysian “Bengkung Mia”.

C-section Healing – For women who have birthed via Cesarean, Earth Mama Angel Baby offers a wonderful C-Section Healing Kit, complete with an herbal healing salve for the incision and other comforting items.    Herbal wise woman, Susan Weed, offers her advice on healing herbal infusions for C-section recovery on this website.   For many women, staying on track with pain medication is critical to healing. c-mama-healing-kit_1

“Bottom” Healing – For women who have experienced tearing, episiotomy, hemorrhoids, or are just a bit “tender”, a healing salve can do wonders for speeding a healthy recovery.   Earth Mama Angel Baby also offers a wide variety of herbal sprays, salves, teas, and balms for postpartum recovery.    The AZBN will be raffling off a fantastic Earth Mama Angel Baby gift basket at one of our events this year!  apex-carex-sitz-bath

Sitz baths are also a common and useful tool for healing and are basically just a small bath infused with healing herbs.   Basins that fit over a toilet can be used in lieu of filling an entire bathtub as well.   Sanitary pads, frozen with herbs on top of them, can be made in advance and many women find them to be soothing.

Afterpains –  These are contractions felt after the birth that aid in returning the uterus to its non-pregnant size.   Women may take two tablets of ibuprofen every four to six hours to help relieve the afterpains or can also use a number of herbal remedies such this product that include cramp bark and other herbs.   Always consult your care provider prior to any medication or herbal supplement.   Our Network Perks Partner, Tender Gift Doula, offers a fantastic herbal tea that can help with afterpains as well.  Members receive a discount!

soothies_box_and_padsBreastfeeding Support – The joys of breastfeeding can also be coupled with challenges.   Some simple tips, like allowing your nipples to air dry between feedings, can help reduce the chance of sore and cracked nipples.   Nursing support pillows such as the Boppy and My Brest Friend can be a lifesaver to encourage proper positioning and posture, especially for a woman recovering from a C-section.   Lansinoh offers Soothies, which are reuseable “gel pads that provide instant, cooling relief”.   Mother’s Milk tea can help maintain a good milk supply.  Perhaps most important is ensuring that a breastfeeding mama receives healthy, proper nutrition and hydration.   Partners, friends, and family can offer much help by preparing foods, ensuring the mother is drinking often, and encouraging her to rest and take her time with breastfeeding sessions.   Don’t forget to reach out to communities such as or La Leche League for advice, lactation consulting, and overall encouragement and support.

Nutrition – A postpartum mother needs food to recover, heal, and to have the energy to take care of her newborn.   Prepare frozen meals in advance (or better yet, have friends and family provide this!) that are healthy and comforting.  Utilize a meal plan like this one so that the thinking can be taken out of planning, or so a partner or friend can fix a meal by viewing the plan.   Friends can organize a “meal train” so that a postpartum mother has fresh, healthy meals delivered every day for a certain amount of time (check out this website to set up a meal train). This reduces stress on the mother, especially those with other children at home, and provides her with the opportunity for connecting with others.

Exercise – Resume exercise when you feel it’s the right time.  Don’t pressure yourself to “get back into shape”.  Remember that it took 9 months to grow a baby and for your body to stretch to accommodate that baby.   Give it at least nine months to return to a semblance of its former self.    Start with light exercise like walking, yoga, or swimming and ease into a routine.   And if exercise isn’t your thing, just remember to stretch, breath deeply, and get fresh air.  Women recovering from C-sections should follow their care providers instructions on when to resume exercise.

Emotional Recovery/Transition

Be Gentle with Yourself – See rule #1 from above!

Baby Blues – Many mothers experience mood swings during the initial days and weeks after birth, caused by the drop in hormones, sleep deprivation, and the other physical realities of being a mother.   You may feel exhausted, unable to sleep, trapped, or anxious. Your appetite may increase or decrease, or you might feel irritable, nervous, or worried about being a mother.   These feelings are normal and up to 80% of mother experience some sort of the “baby blues”.   Again, taking care of your physical needs – such as proper nutrition and exercise – can help reduce these symptoms.   Many herbs are touted for their ability to lift the spirits and aid in emotional stability and relaxation, like the blend in NewMama Drops from Native Remedies.

nmd001Check out the wonderful Joyful Mother Tea from the local herb shop Chakra 4 that many mamas swear by.   Take naps when you can and reach out for help with housework and newborn care.  Babywearing and co-sleeping has also been shown to ease baby blues and establish a strong bond with your baby.   Also consider keeping your placenta for placenta encasuplation, which may help balance your hormones, stabilize milk supply, and increase your energy.  Watch for an article in this amazing process in our upcoming newsletter!

depressionPost-Partum Depression – The symptoms of postpartum depression go beyond those of the normal baby blues.  Between 15-20% of women experience significant symptoms of depression or anxiety.   According to Postpartum Support International: “A woman with PPD might experience feelings of anger, sadness, irritability, guilt, lack of interest in the baby, changes in eating and sleeping habits, trouble concentrating, thoughts of hopelessness and sometimes even thoughts of harming the baby or herself.” If you feel you may be experiencing PPD, talk to your family and/or care provider about your options, which may range from traditional medical treatments and medications to natural treatments.

Support – Since the “village” no longer exists in most communities, it is important that women reach out for support through other means.   Of course, join the AZBN Yahoo group for lively and insightful discussions on pregnancy, birth, and parenting.  Join a meet-up group that hosts play dates or mom’s night outs or start an informal one with your friends.   Share babysitting (or join a babysitting co-op) among other mamas.  When you feel ready, plan occasional date nights with your partner or spouse.  Join mom groups such as the Nurturing New Mother’s group held every Thursday at Nurturing Hearts Birth Services.   Feel supported in your breastfeeding journey by attending La Leche League meetings.   Get motivated to exercise by joining Stroller Strides.   Express yourself creatively by incorporating your passions into life when you can, such as writing, crafting, or photography.  Find local shops and libraries that are family friendly.  For timely reminders and advice,  subscribe to newsletters from your favorite parenting sites such as Scott Noelle’s Daily Groove,, or   Consider hiring a postpartum doula who can help with household tasks, cooking, errands, and baby care.

Create Rituals – Oftentimes, the simple act of creating rituals for yourself, your baby, and your family can help support the transition into motherhood.   These rituals can be unique to you and can include anything from eating breakfast outside each morning, to quiet story time with your baby, to evening tea with your husband.  From a Daily OM article: “Creatively and actively inventing ritual can bring you a sense of community and how you as an individual fit into the universe. Rituals are meant not only to celebrate significant moments, but to ease us through difficult times by preserving stability and to establish bonds that transcend time. Rituals performed with family and friends bring us closer to one another and keep us grounded, but all personal ritual, no matter how outwardly mundane, is meaningful.”

Pamper Yourself – All mothers deserve to feel pampered and special.   Arrange for a massage, a manicure/pedicure, or a quiet few hours alone in the bookstore with your favorite coffee or tea. Save up for a beautiful new, organic hair cut at Green with Envy Salon and save 20% off all services if you are an AZBN member!

Share your favorite tips and ideas for supporting a smoother postpartum transition!


— Leigh Steele

Birth Story: Jase Samson Ledner


We wish all of the mothers, and mothers-to-be, a beautiful and peaceful Mother’s Day!

In honor of this special holiday, are posting another powerful birth story.  We hope you enjoy the story of Jase Samson Ledner’s birth.   Welcome to the world, Jase!

Submitted by BreAnna Ledner

Pre/Early labor:
I woke up Saturday morning.   In seeing that I lost my plug I also started noticing lower abdomen wave-like surges.  There was also pressure in my pelvis so I knew something was happening.  The surges were lasting 1 minute long and coming every ten minutes like clockwork. They did not hurt nor were they uncomfortable, but exhilarating.  I called my midwife to tell her that something was happening but I was in pre-labor and still in a happy and chipper mood.

We tried to go about our day as normal.  My husband, 3 children, and mother in law were home with me.  Every ten minutes I would feel the sensation and my husband would come over and we would slow dance, laugh, even kiss our way through them.  I asked him not to shower as his scent brought me comfort.

This went on for about 4 hours and I was still in a happy cheerful mood.  Then we decided to go for a beautiful walk and on the way looked at a garage sale.  I did feel more surges as we walked and Griffin would just hold me until they were over.  When we got back, I slept for a good hour and at 11:20ish my water broke and woke me up.  I have never had my water break by itself, (with Liam it did while I was pushing) and it was exciting.  I called our midwife and told her and she said she would be there in about an hour.  Still in a great, chipper mood I asked Griffin if he would start filling my tub.

Active labor:
Griffin is trying to set up the hose for our pool.  The knob to turn the water off is broken and you have to turn it with a wrench, which we couldn’t find.  So he used another tool and it ended up bumping off the hose with the hot water on and spraying everything in the laundry room, including him!  As he’s fixing this, I go into hard active labor, just 10 minutes after getting off the phone with our midwife.

Still in denial that this is truly it, I told Griffin not to call our midwife back that she was on her way already and the look he gave me was priceless, as he said “oooooh I’m gonna call her.”

But indeed they got harder and stronger right after he got off the phone with her.  I needed Griffin to hold me, to help me sway, and to be my support but water was still spraying in the laundry room everywhere! He would run to me then run back to try and stop the water.  This went on for maybe four or six surges, and then he finally got the water turned off.

As all this is happening,  Griffin’s mother (God bless her heart) is filling anything she could get her hands on, like pitchers and pots, and is attempting to fill my tub that way.  I see her going back and forth from my pool to the sink (which was maybe 10ft away) back and forth while Griffin was swaying with me, slow dancing, and soaking wet.

It was a peaceful atmosphere once the water problem was solved.  The soft music playing, candles lit around me, and my husband being the best thing I could ask for.  Even though my pool wasn’t close to being full I still desired to labor in it.  The thing that I found most relaxing was when Griffin would pour water on my back with the hose while rubbing my back.  He was saying the most encouraging things that I still replay in my head when I think of this birth:  “You were created for this”, “This is completely normal process”, “Just get through this one”, “God made you strong” and “I’m so proud of you, honey”.He was so amazing because he knew exactly what I needed to hear at that time.  Having my husband there as my main support was incredible and made our relationship stronger.  He was my rock and being there made me stronger, too.


It was not long after I got in my pool that that I began to feel the urge to push on my own.  At first it was subtle which made me look forward to the next surge to see if my intuition was correct.  With each surge, the urge to push came stronger and I found it releasing to push against them and work with my contractions.  At one point, my husband said to me “Honey if you feel like pushing then go for it” to which I replied “What do you think I’ve been doing?!”

I reached down and could feel that my baby was still a good inch in.  I knew just a couple pushes and he would be here.  That’s when our midwife’s assistant came through the door.   He was at a +3 station (or a knuckle in) and with one push he started crowning.   With two more pushes and his head was out.

Baby Jase

Baby Jase

At this time all three children came in as well and all three were in awe. I saw Lilly with the biggest smile on her face.  Liam and Beth were just standing there in awe as well.  They were quiet and just sat there and watched their brother being born.  Seeing them there was one of the many highlights and I am so pleased that they got to see it and be there to share it with Griffin and I.

Jase Samson was peacefully born at 12:50pm.  My labor lasted just minutes over an hour.  My midwife was coming from Queen Creek which is a good 45 min + away and she came in right after he was born.  Jase looked perfect and healthy and everything after the birth couldn’t have gone better!  I couldn’t believe I just had a baby because I felt amazing.  Jase started nursing wonderfully and we’re just enjoying our newest addition to this tribe.

Looking back it was a truly amazing empowering experience! And yes we will do it again 😉

Jase was 8lbs 3oz, he was 20 inches long, and he is named after my father Jason. His middle name (Samson) is after a man in the Old Testament who God gave great strength to.

Thank you for everyone’s support and encouragement especially the East Valley & Queen Creek birth circle!  It has meant a lot to us!
The Ledners

International Day of the Midwife – May 5


Hug a Midwife Today!

Today we honor and celebrate all of the midwives around the world!   Thank you for your passionate and heartfelt service to women and families.    We appreciate the sacrifices you make in order to provide loving care and advocacy to women in birth (missing family events and holidays, the lack of sleep, lovingly attending long births and back to back births and births that require creative thinking and fast action).   Because of you, the experience of birth is held sacred and treated with the utmost of dignity and respect.

It’s no secret that our culture often lacks appropriate support and understanding of the profession that you’ve entered into willingly;  one that you’ve worked years to achieve.  Many of you work for little pay but for great joy and we are thankful you’ve answered to call the midwifery.   Thank you for sitting with us quietly as we birth, for guiding us through the challenging moments, for your unwavering offer of support and resources, and for holding our space as we bring new life into this world.

To the midwives who have caught and welcomed babies underwater, on land, squatting, standing, hands and knees, reclining, on a toilet, in a closet, in the hallway, from the womb in an OR, in a car, and in every manner and setting imaginable:  you ROCK!

“You are a midwife, assisting at someone else’s birth.  Do good without  show or fuss.  Facilitate what is happening rather than what you think ought to be happening.  If you must take the lead, lead so that the mother is helped, yet still free and in charge.  When the baby is born, the mother will rightly say: We did it ourselves!– from The Tao Te Ching

midwife-carvingHistory of Midwives

Midwives have been part of our cultural fabric since the beginning of time.  References to midwives can be found in ancient texts and writings as well as in drawings, carvings, and artwork from across all cultures and continents.   As the article from states (click here to read full article on a brief history of midwives):

“Midwives have been part of the human experience for as long as we know.”The ancient Jews called her the wise woman, just as she is known in France as the ‘sage-femme’, and in Germany, the ‘weise frau’ and also ‘Hebamme’ or mother’s adviser, helper, or friend. The English ‘midwife’ is derived from midwife, or ‘ with-woman’.”

Benefits of the Midwives Model of Care

For women who have healthy, low-risk pregnancy, a midwife may be the best choice for your care.    Not only is the Midwives Model of Care “based on the fact that pregnancy and birth are normal life processes” but care under midwives has been shown to reduce the rate of unnecessary interventions during pregnancy, labor, and birth.   This recent Cochrane review study revealed the following data about women who had midwife-led models of care:

Less likely to experience –

  • antenatal hospitalization
  • regional analgesia
  • episiotomy
  • instrumental delivery

These women were MORE likely to experience –

  • no intrapartum analgesia/anaesthesia
  • spontaneous vaginal birth
  • feeling in control during childbirth
  • attendance at birth by a known midwife
  • and initiate breastfeeding
  • in addition, their babies were more likely to have a shorter length of hospital stay

The study concluded that “Most women should be offered midwife-led models of care and women should be encouraged to ask for this option although caution should be exercised in applying this advice to women with substantial medical or obstetric complications.”


Types of Midwives

Midwives attend births at home, in hospitals, and in birth centers.   The website outlines the three types of midwives in Arizona:

  • Licensed Midwives, LM: Midwives licensed by the Arizona Department of Health Services to provide midwifery care to low risk healthy pregnant women. Licensed Midwives only provide Homebirth and Waterbirths.
  • Naturopathic Physicians, NMD, CPM: Naturopathic Physicians that have additional training in midwifery and provide midwifery care and only provide Homebirth and Waterbirths.
  • Certified Nurse Midwives, CNM: are registered nurses with additional schooling in midwifery and in Maricopa County currently CNM’s only provide births in the hospital setting. There are some CNM’s in the Tucson area that provide homebirth and births in a free standing birth center.
  • *Note some licensed midwives have dual credentialing LM and CPM, the CPM stands for Certified Professional Midwife which is the national certification for homebirth midwives

We ♥ Midwives!

The AZBN gives a big shout out to all of the midwives in our community, especially our awesome AZBN members who are midwives:

Leave a comment below if you ♥ LOVE ♥ a midwife.  Tell us why!


— Leigh Steele