Category Archives: Pregnancy

I've been think a lot lately about the notion of “control” and how it relates to pregnancy and birth. So much of the focus in life in general is on controlling the process, or keeping up the myth that we can control the process, and the time of pregnancy and birth is no exception. In

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I hear from women regularly about their homebirth experiences. And being in the business of rabble rousing and questioning the status quo, many of these women who seek us out are unhappy with the care they received from their midwives, not just OBs. There are plenty of variations on the same theme. Midwives aren’t listening

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  • Kristen Edwards

    I'm currently about 37 weeks along with my first baby. My husband and I first had a really tough time finding ANY midwives in our area or even close. The ones we did get ahold of were booked up around my due time so we had to settle for a midwife team of 2 over an hour away. Because of all this searching, we didn't get to see them until we were about 16 weeks along. (Looking back, all of this struggle was the universe sending me the first sign that I needed to go unassisted!) Our first meeting with them was an interview where I had 2 pages of detailed questions for them. While they seemed sweet and open to discuss anything I had to throw at them, there was also a sense of "this is our protocol for every birth we attend and this is the pattern you will be following". As someone who has NEVER fit with the "norm", this gave me an icky feeling, but I ignored it because I thought this is my only option and after all, they are midwives! Of course we share all the same ideas on birth! Wrong! At this point, I didn't know unassisted was an option or even existed. We did see them once after this for our first official visit and the first chunk of money was given. I had stumbled onto your site at some point during all my alternative birth research and couldn't get enough! I started to realize more things they said weren't sitting right with me like, "Well when the baby starts to come out, I'll have my hand on your perineum and she will be catching the baby" as if I had no choice in the matter! There was also so much starting to pop out of all those hand outs they gave me that began to frankly piss me off. All things trying to put me in a box. It was later on our drive there for the second visit that they called to cancel and I had my final sign that they had to be dropped. I had gained so much confidence in my own intuition and the simplicity that birth can actually have when you trust it and stop listening to the outside noises, that I felt more than 100% positive that this was the path my baby and I were destined for and honestly, the path I feel he or she led me to. I can now say that this pregnancy has been unassisted (with the exception of the first check up visit with the midwives) thanks to your site. I have felt absolutely wonderful this entire pregnancy and really, healthier than ever from the inside out. No concerns have popped up and I feel more prepared for this event than any other in my life because I am the one owning it all. I wish I remembered exactly where I found your link. I also wish I had an answer for how to get this information out to the masses. All I can offer is my complete gratitude to both of you women who have changed my life in such a magical way and encourage you to continue sharing to as many people as you can! I have suggested your site to many pregnant women now and will continue to. Now that this has turned into a short story, I leave you with a huge THAAAAANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Thanks so much for the encouragement Kristin! That is an amazing story, and is super touching to know that our information has touched your life in such a real way. We love featuring stories like yours here on the site so be sure to email us (margo@indiebirth.com and maryn@indiebirth.com) if you're open to sharing either you unassisted pregnancy or unassisted birth story (or both!).

  • Kristen Edwards

    Gosh! What an honor that would be! I'd absolutely love to. Shortly after this baby decides it's time to arrive, I'll be sure to work my stories up and send them your way. 😀 Your reply just made my week!

  • What steered me away from even thinking anymore about going to a licensed midwife in my state was the fact that when I asked if I would have to transfer to an OB at 42 weeks even after having paid my midwife, I was told all midwives in my state were required to transfer me to an OB if I didn't go into labor by 42 weeks. No, I don't want to try to "naturally" induce if my baby and body aren't ready at your deadline! So basically I could end up paying a midwife and an OB if I don't deliver when they think I should. No thank you. That was a huge red flag for me and I've noticed how medical midwives make birth and I think all the births I've seen with one there they are doing way too much for my liking. I wanted unassisted meaning I touch my baby when he or she comes out. No vaginal exams. A lot of what you mentioned here. And then I started listening to Maryn's podcasts and I said to myself "why can't I do this myself?" And I wondered if I would have only been going the conventional way out of fear. I'm very thankful that me and my husband are at the point where we feel confident to do it alone at home together. We are in the 3rd trimester now and I have absolutely no fear about birthing at home. You ladies have been great and very informative. Thank you.

  • ilovespring

    Wish I had found your website before the birth of my first child! But I'm just happy I found you before I've had my last child (who knows when that'll be)! This post is so true though, exactly what happened to me because I never thought to take full responsibility for my birth and ask the right questions/insist on what I wanted, and one of the reasons why I will be going unassisted next time. I think the best way to share this is word of mouth, I saw someone mention your website on facebook so I looked you up and fell in love with this concept of owning your birth, trusting the process. Thank you, a million times!

  • This is something I hold dear to my heart. I am a midwife but can clearly recognise that we are all at different parts of our journey with midwifery. Some midwives will be better suited to a particular couple that resonates with them. In the UK generally self employed midwives are generally referred to as independent midwives. I always try and reiterate to people to interview several because Every midwife is different, just because they have chosen to work outside of the system does not mean they will have any particular thing which the woman may be looking for. This could be seen as discouragement from people employing other midwives but on the contrary I would much rather that someone did not choose to book with me if they felt another midwife would benefit them. Birth is an opportunity for us to learn about ourselves, and someone that resonates with our story is far more likely to have a satisfying experience, what ever the outcome. I trust that the right clients will come to me but I totally agree, how can you convey this to the world?

  • Great article. I posted on Hearthside and my private student midwive FB...we'll see what shakes down:)

  • Kristine

    Please understand that there are regulations and state laws many midwives in many states have to follow otherwise losing their license is a very real possibility. As much as I may want to stay at home with a client who is breech, before 37 weeks, after 42 weeks, more than 24 with SROM, I CANNOT due to my regs! SORRY! I risk my livelihood in a state where midwives are constantly being turned in. I raise my son alone and this is how I make a living! I am sorry I cannot risk my job because you fall out of my protocols. I didn't make them up, the state did. It is not MY fault if you fall out of my protocols - that is putting the responsibility back on me! If you truly want to be responsible for your birth then don't blame me if you fall outside of the protocols because it is NOT my fault.

  • No, it isn't your fault that they fall outside the rules and regs, but it is your fault if you didn't educate them about that possibility throughout their pregnancy and help them come up with a better plan B. These women are being left in the lurch, going to the hospital for no reason, and facing the consequences of that. Be clear about that with your clients, and don't lie to them about the overstated "reasons" for those rules. So when someone wants to stay home and not transport, find another option for them if you really can't help them - an unlicensed midwife, unassisted birth, etc. So many midwives pretend that they are sad/upset that their "hands are tied" but really they are happy to get rid of women that fall outside the box, either because they like the false security of rules and regs or they have an acute misunderstanding of the true risks involved. And if you have a conscience, then maybe you should work on those ridiculous rules, and come together with others in your state to change them....or better yet, get rid of them altogether. At the very least, don't pretend that your care is woman centered then if it is actually rules centered. There isn't a nice way to say this stuff, and I'm done with all the excuses. If you truly explain this to the women under your care, maybe they will all get angry enough to do something about the bogus restrictions themselves. Keeping it a secret and pretending everything is fine is not the answer.

  • kayla frawley

    Hello, I appreciate this article and perspective. I have worked at a few birth centers as a midwife and have been very disappointed with certain protocols, rules, ways in which women are communicated with, specifically when it comes to 'babying women'.

    I am also slightly enraged at the rules in which we have to work, and of course know that any marginalized population will be greatly affected by the way they are oppressed.

    I think it would be very helpful if you published a list of questions for your midwife-for women that may not know what to ask-information that can tell her she is in good hands. I love clients that ask questions and feel confident in clients care when they feel they are in charge. I would love to share that information. Thanks for the article.

  • JulieBeth Lamb

    I have seen midwives who practice like doctors and a few doctors who practice like midwives. When my doula client asked me about it I told her that sadly not all midwives follow a midwife model of care. They should all do that but in reality both hospital and homebirth midwives vary greatly.

  • Emily

    I love the conversation you are opening up. I feel like alot of this issue comes down to responsibility. Mainly with the client but also for the care provider. Unfortunately our culture has moved away from that and replaced it with blame for others, fear based decision making and following the crowd. Women are putting their trust in others. For some they trust a doctor because they have access to medical technology for others they trust a midwife because she doesn't. But what we really need to do is trust ourselves and take responsibility, after all birth makes us a mother. I am reminded every day that I have little people who I take responsibility for and who look up to me with a deep trust. Keep doing the work you do, it is getting through.

  • Rosey Smart- Vaher Adelaide Aust

    You are talking about Medwives - those don't even realize they are using hospital rules for their practice.
    In this litigation market what you wanted is not as important as how she responded to her professional responsibilities - which are more important than you or your needs. If you write a plan of what sort of care you expect & list all the things outside of this that is the usual in the system that you have done your research & will open questions in labour if you realize some editing to the plan may need to occur.
    Also separately write a letter with some info on you - your life dreams, plans, philosophies etc & why you have come to your plan to birth outside hospital & why you chose her and you understanding of the role she will
    take and that you are aware of her skills & equipment (list these) & that you will invite her into inner circle & be clear what you need from her e.g. support, back rubs, cup of tea/ food etc, Doppler etc etc & level if voice to be used.
    Print this in large font, 1 1/2 line spacing and a different colour paper each page, with summary labour, birth, baby, postnatal. Know this so well that if you need to refer to it you know which page you want - laminate as close to birth as possible yet have all pages for late editing & place sticker on laminate to remind edit added.
    Cheers Rosey

  • Lisa

    I LOVE your idea, Rosey! What better way for midwives to really know their moms, and to be in a position to work out any conflicts in her plan well ahead of time. This is a great tool - a questionnaire can be given to the mom during her first prenatal appointment. She can fill it out and it can be a very valuable resource for both parties from the get-go.

    Conversely, it is a great tool the other way too- You, as a Midwife give to your prospective clients at their first appointment an informational sheet about YOU... your own brief story and journey into midwifery, your passions, what your'e about, your perspectives and protocols regarding birth, and lastly, the constraints you must work within, if any. Just lay it all out there on the table, so your clients will know everything to expect up front, and understand you as well. This will help them in making their decision about who they choose to attend their birth, and whether what you have to offer will work for them.

    It is also an invaluable tool for knowing and understanding one another. The relationship between a mom and her Midwife is very intimate, sacred and special. It is so important as a birthing mom, to be with someone you have a strong connection and bond of trust with. How strong and comfortable this relationship is is a huge determining factor in how the mother's birth experience will be.

    Margo- In reference to the last paragraph in your article above, I feel strongly that educating moms is of the utmost importance in helping new moms "see". When I was pregnant with my first child back in 1980, home birth was was just starting to become a movement, but was not yet on the average young mom's radar. I knew nothing. I went to a doctor a friend of my mother recommended and found myself in front of a very old-school doctor who quizzically starred over his half-eye glasses and said "I suppose you're one of THOSE mothers who plans to birth naturally and breast feed your baby." He said it as if it were rebellious to want such a thing, but at that moment I knew in my heart that WAS what I wanted! My heart sang, and my soul knew. I didn't know what I didn't know, but right then I immediately knew what I didn't want- a man like that "delivering me" when the time came- on my back with my feet in stirrups. I never went back to my next appointment. I asked around and finally found a very highly regarded non-interventive OB to attend my birth in the hospital. But even that was disappointing. I felt I did not receive much support at all during the birth, just annoying nurses checking me every so often, then leaving me all alone when the going got rough. I remember finally crying out "Where IS everybody??" at the peak of transition. I felt so lost and alone. Even though my husband was there and supportive, he was so worried too. My Doctor pretty much showed up right near the end, caught my baby and handed her to me... it was then that my life changed forever!!! I had no idea I could feel so much love for my tiny lavender baby girl. He helped me deliver the placenta, and then stitched me up since I had a perineal tear. I had no idea you could avoid tearing by preparation before-hand, as he never told me about it. I had a successful natural birth, but something huge was missing. I followed my heart, and this led me to reading, conversations, meeting like-minded people, and eventually a referral to an amazing midwife who assisted me at the births of our remaining five children. I'm so thankful I found the right path for me to give birth. Now my daughters are following the same path with the births of their own children. All women, every one of us, in our heart of hearts, knows what we want and need... We may not have yet figured it all out, but we will know it when we are exposed to it. Therein lies the key. To give that exposure through education, opening women's eyes to a different paradigm. There will always be some who tenaciously cling to the box of conventional birth. They have no desire to deal with it, they just want it over. We all know them, and nothing we can say will change their mind. But there are more and more who are searching. We can reach them through support networks just like you have here with Indie Birth! A network of sister-mothers who are committed to giving their baby the best possible start in life, of feeling empowered through birth, and choosing to trust in nature, not medicine. To view birth as a natural process and not a disease you need to be helped through by a doctor. To know that your body was made for this! The work you are doing here is amazing. I can't tell you how much I wish there had been a support network like this when I was a young mother. But now I want to do everything I can to share the message, to wake women up to their birthright, to empower them to trust in themselves and become free.

I’ve heard the journey through pregnancy described in so many different ways, so it is really fun to be experiencing it for myself. Most sources talk about months and trimesters, which we of course know is based in sort of arbitrary notions of time. That said, there does seem to be a common rhythm and

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My first experience with Young Living essential oils began with Peace and Calming and Stress Away, a couple of blends that helped me deal with lack of sleep and excess stress. I was newly pregnant with #7, we had just moved across the country (with plans to move back again) and I was having trouble

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I have a folder on my computer called “1st Pregnancy” and it is full of things that still make me sad. Pictures of my growing belly, a video of us telling our family the news that we were pregnant, this story, and the pictures we took from the miscarriage that happened one year ago today.

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  • AT

    Dear Margo,
    Thank you for sharing your story.

    I have no words to console you for such a loss. You and Russell seem to have cultivated a deep and rich practice of acceptance, which seems to have helped you console yourselves.

    I was moved reading how you surrendered Violet to where she came, and at each choice of acceptance (vs blame or anger) you and Russell along the way.

    You deeply inspire me as to how I can hold change with ease and grace. Thank you for this.

    Wishing you continued peace and wellness.

  • Thank you! I am so glad that our story touched you, There have certainly been less graceful moments, but I am grateful that we were able to at least start the process from a place of acceptance and mindfulness, and honor our baby in that way <3

  • Elizabeth

    Thank you for sharing your story of loss and pain. Im 43 & about 6/7weeks and have been spotting for about a week and it's gotten worse, I saw dr yesterday friday and the ultrasound still showed sack she said I'm still pregnate, the day before I saw her blood was heavy and I felt a big dark clot came out and I saw it, was sure I miscarry, than yesterday blood was very light and today Saturday very heavy blood and many small blood clots, I looked in Internet and found your story, I cried as to what I'm feeling is very painful physically and emtionally and feel like baby won't make it 🙁 so your story is part of my journey and helping me to accept this if it is a going to be a loss for me. Thank you

  • Jen

    Thank you so much for sharing your experience I had searched the web high and low trying to find pictures so I could match up what was comin out of my body and if it was normal or okay and this really gave me closure. I had a miscarriage in June and that was rough it was at 10 weeks and the last day of my vacation I just started dumping blood like no tomorrow and I was that one person who held up the whole plane but I explained to them what was happening and they gave me a whole row to myself right next to the bathrooms and I'm 5'1" so that row made it so I could sleep through the flight which was amazing. Yet the other day I found out that my pregnancy wasnt a baby but a tumor (molar pregnancy) which is usually taken out by D&C and I had a previous tumor removed by D&C which the doctor scraped too well and made the walls of my uterus too smooth for a baby to attach to thus the miscarriage even though I was doing everything in my power to keep it healthy and safe. I had to take the misoprostil drug for it to evacuate and yeah it was a tumor that if I didn't remove would of killed me but I still felt terrible like it was my fault for the D&C because when I got it I was only 18 and didn't know I had family support and that there were other options and now I am worried I won't ever get the three kids I desperately want... Thanks so much for the pictures it helped me immensely and helped me not be so scared or worried I highly appreciate all you had to say as well, because the hormone changes are so intense and men don't really understand it and the fear that accompanies it so once again thanks for sharing it has touched more people than you can imagine ; ) also good luck and hope you have a wonderful family when the time comes.

  • Amy

    Thank you for your story and photos. I'm experiencing the same thing at this very moment. It's been traumatic physically and mentally. I passed the gestational sac today. I just have to trust that my body did the right thing. We will recover and try again but right now it's a sad time.

  • Elizabeth

    I'm experiencing miscarriage right now and just waiting for it to become what you described is excruciating in itself. I'm praying to be able to see my baby one time and I can't explain how much your photos and story are helping me right now. Thank you thank you thank you for sharing this

  • Char

    I lost my baby at 7 weeks yesterday and my heart is broken. Every time I passed large clots or tissue I sobbed uncontrollably not wanting to believe I was having a miscarriage . I examined everything and was relived (if I can use that word) that I got to see and hold my baby. He was perfect. Tiny but perfect. I'm truly grateful for this as it is helping me to heal. I have psos so conceiving is a up hill battle but I am lucky as I have a healthy, happy, beautiful 2 year old. I have not used contraception in 8 years and have only had the 2 pregnancies so this baby was much longed for and loved right from the moment he was conceived :''(

  • Sending love, Char.

In this episode of Taking Back Birth, I talk about the due date and what happens when you pass it. Just press PLAY below to listen.

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  • Molly

    Sharing this! My sons came at 43+3 and 42+6. I birthed them naturally, and the second one was born at home. I just gestate longer, no need to induce.

  • Ashley

    My first baby at 40 weeks suddenly had almost no fluid around her. I was induced for fear of losing her. I had been hydrating and resting, and there were no signs of low fluid one week prior. This incident makes me worry that I should not labor over 40 weeks with this second baby without frequent monitoring just to be on the safe side. Is my theory accurate in your opinion?

  • Ashley, it's really hard to say without knowing the whole clinical picture. I'd say in a general sense that attention to nutrition from the very beginning (specifically protein, calories and minerals!) would be a great recommendation. I don't believe frequent monitoring has really been shown to improve outcomes, although doing something as simple as kick counts can be reassuring and may prevent problems. If it were me, I'd go with that each pregnancy is different, work on nourishing myself and also educating myself and learning as much as I could about the risks and benefits of interventions, the lack of positive outcomes when technology is used routinely and most importantly would work on my intuition and finding my strength so that I could truly make the best choices for myself and my baby. Less influence and fear from the outside, more connection from within.

Sometimes I forget that the idea of doing your own prenatal care isn’t something most people have ever thought about or heard of. Someone asked me about my pregnancy at a dinner party the other day, and another guest asked if “they know what I’m having”. I explained that I’m not having any unwarranted testing

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  • Shannon

    So well said!! I actually admitted to my mother 6 months after my first total self care pregnancy and family birth that I had no attending midwife and no 'pre-natal' care. She said 'Well that's ok because you are studying midwifery'. I informed her any woman could do their own care. And for the most part, they already do. I think for me it was freeing to be in charge and to give myself permission as well as the environment to pay attention to my body and what was happening and to really listen to my baby.

  • Kim

    I have 3 kids. I had the usual prenatal care during my 1st pregnancy and for the 1st half of my 2nd pregnancy. I actually walked out on my caregiver because they demanded tests I didn't care for, and switched to a holistic midwife.
    I did my own care during my 3rd pregnancy, which consisted of checking my bp and fundus regularly (weekly) and taking my weight a few times and I went on to have an unassisted birth at 41.5 weeks. I had 1 ultrasound because after 2 girls, we needed to know if we had to buy new baby clothes or not (and yes, we needed to!) so I had the ultrasound at around 20 weeks and I also wanted to know where my placenta was at, because my mother had a near placenta praevia and I thought that meant something.
    I'm expecting my 4th baby and I'm doing my own prenatal care, but we're probably not having an ultrasound this time.

  • Haley Mueller

    Hey so I might be possibly pregnant with my 5th child. I've been looking into this option of doing prenatal self care. I'm just wondering what recommendations you have for someone that is relatively high risk. I've been "diagnosed"with preeclampsia before and have had no problem since doing the brewers diet. But I've also had 3 c sections which were all done because no doctor was willing to give me a chance. Any thoughts? Should I do a midwife who does high risk? If I were to do self care, what things would I need?

  • Crazyblessed

    How refreshing! It's encouraging to see the cultural shift happening. Little by little women are relearning what our great grandmothers knew. Caring for ourselves and our born or unborn children is not a job for "the experts", instead it's our job to become expert. We are a specialized consumer nation, and our DIY roots have been poo-pooed too long. It's great to see a sort of re-awakening around pregnancy and birth!

I am super excited to share my recent experience with ordering my own lab work. I have a pretty clear plan for this pregnancy as far as what labs I want and when I want them, and I have been fortunate enough to have a very good friend and naturopath order my early pregnancy labs

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In this episode of Taking Back Birth, I talk about the very short list of supplies you need for a birth. You'll probably be surprised at just how short it is. Just press PLAY below to listen.

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  • I have been thinking about "the list" for weeks already (12 weeks pregnant) and this helps SO much. I have wondered about the need for compress, sutures, and cord clamp, but the baby hat was a pleasant surprise. 😉 I love the minimalist approach - it makes me even more excited to be a mother! Thank you for simplifying the birth list!

  • Tabetha

    This isn't for birth - but giant pads (not the blue pads, but personal menstrual pads). I guess mothers educated in unassisted birth will realize that they will be bleeding after birth, but rather than having to drive to the store (or maybe women who do unassisted births use reusable menstrual pads, it would be good to have these on hand. I haven't given birth at home, but I've always brought pads to the hospital/birthing center. They often have them to provide to women, so I really only need them once I get home, but if you are at home for the birth, you may want to have that on hand for after the birth. Maybe this item goes in an "after birth" category or list?

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