Health Foundations

Help Support The Global Big Latch On

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For the past 8 years Health Foundations Birth Center has had the honor of being a site for supporting the Big Latch On. The Big Latch On is a global movement to raise awareness and provide support to breastfeeding mothers. This year we are very excited to be partnering with Blooma for this wonderful event. Global Big Latch On events take place at registered locations around the world.

Some of the goals of the Big Latch On are: 

  • Provide support for communities to identify and grow opportunities to provide on-going breastfeeding support and promotion in local communities.
  • Raise awareness of breastfeeding support and knowledge available locally and globally.
  • Help communities positively support breastfeeding in public places.
  • Make breastfeeding as normal part of day-to-day life at a local community level.
  • Increase support for women who breastfeed - women are supported by their partners, family and their communities.
  • Ensure communities have the resources to advocate for coordinated appropriate and accessible breastfeeding support services.

Last year the total attendance was 50,383 people! 

We would love you to be a part of this movement with us. This year we are participating on August 3rd starting at 10:00am. Please sign up here! We will be having snacks and handing out goodie bags. Blooma will be leading a Bring Your Own Baby Yoga Class right after the latch on.

Top Five Breastfeeding Essentials for the First Two Weeks Postpartum

 photo credit: Meredith Westin

photo credit: Meredith Westin

Breastfeeding is a journey, both beautiful and challenging at times. To help ease the first two weeks of your postpartum we have put together a list of items that will hopefully make things easier!

Motherlove Nipple Cream: Nipple cream is essential, especially in the early days. Your baby will want to nurse very frequently. Even with a great latch, it takes some time for your nipples to get used to this. Put nipple cream on your nipples after each feeding. No need to wipe it off before feeding your baby.

Nursing Bra / Tank: You will want to have these before your baby is born. It can be helpful to get sized; after 36 weeks is a good time for this. During the first two weeks of postpartum you will find yourself living in your nursing tank!  It is easy and you don't have to put anything else on. Nursing tanks are supportive to your breasts and you can find ones that also support your postpartum tummy. I recommend having 2-3 of both nursing tanks and nursing bras.

Medela Hydrogel Pads: Hydrogel pads are a serious life saver for sore, cracked nipples. After about 24 hours your nipples will feel much better if they are cracked or very sore. In saying this, if you find yourself with very sore, cracked or bleeding nipples, be sure to contact a lactation specialist. It is normal for a little bit of soreness. If you are wincing in pain when it is time for a feeding, this is not normal.

Nursing Pads: Once your milk is in, you may find that your breasts are leaking milk. Whether you are nursing on one side and the other side begins to leak or if you have a let down when your baby is not feeding, you will want nursing pads in your bra at all times. There are washable and disposable options; get both.

Resources: I cannot stress how important good resources are during the early days of breastfeeding. Maybe it is your mom, sister or a good friend, someone to talk to on rough days, and someone with breastfeeding experience. Choose one or two people to reach out to for advice otherwise too much advice can be overwhelming. Never hesitate to reach out to a lactation consultant if you need help with latch or have production issues. A great website to turn to is www.kellymom.com

A nursing station can be very helpful as well. You can prepare this before your baby arrives so it will be ready to go when you get home. Get a basket to set next to your bed and fill with snacks, water, a couple of diapers, wipes and a good book!

 

Top 10 Ways to Prepare for a Natural Childbirth

 Photo Credit: Kadi Tiede

Photo Credit: Kadi Tiede

Entering into your pregnancy journey is fun and exhilarating for most mamas and their partners. Once you get past the initial excitement, you may find yourself overwhelmed with all of the decisions that come with pregnancy, labor, birth and after. One of these decisions for you, may be deciding to have a natural childbirth. Whether you choose to be in the hospital, a birth center or at home, there are many ways to help prepare for a natural birth. Here are the top 10 ways to prepare for a natural birth:

Childbirth Education Classes: It is very important to educate yourself and your partner. A great way to do this is taking a Childbirth Education Class. If you are planning to deliver in a hospital, it is a good idea to find a class outside of the hospital to help you prepare better. At Health Foundations Birth Center we have childbirth education for families delivering with us that is tailored to delivering at the birth center. 

Hire a Doula:  Having a doula by your side during labor is not only comforting but also it proven to help reduce interventions including cesareans. Typically doulas also provide education during prenatal meetings. Interview 2-3 to make sure you find one that is a good fit. You can find a doula through friends that have used one or via the Internet.

Choosing a Provider and Facility: Once you find out you are pregnant, take your time over a few weeks to put research into finding a provider that fits your desires and needs.  If you are choosing a hospital, take a tour of a couple of different ones. You have the option of choosing hospital midwives (usually) or an OB.  Out of hospital options are wonderful for women who would like a natural birth. If you find that your and your provider aren’t meshing well, keep in mind that you can always transfer to a different provider. Current research shows your chance of having a c-section can be directly linked to the provider and / or hospital you choose. 

Nutrition and Exercise Keeping up with nutrition and exercise are one of the keys to staying healthy in pregnancy, which helps during labor.  Although we sometimes think it is a time to indulge, it is quite the opposite! Be sure to fill your diet with good proteins, fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Try and limit sugar as much as possible. If you had an exercise routine before pregnancy, usually you can continue with that. Walking, swimming and yoga are wonderful options for staying active in pregnancy. Always check with your provider before you start an exercise routine in pregnancy.

Self-Care: As your body changes, remember to allow time for self-care. Take time to rest, go on more dates with your partner, get a massage, spend time with friends, read a book in a quiet space, take warm baths in the evening. All of these things help to alleviate stress, which is good for you and your baby.

Supplements: Along with a healthy diet, there are some great supplements that help prepare your body for a health, low-risk labor and birth. Try and choose a food-based prenatal vitamin such as Rainbow Light Prenatal Vitamins. Click here for more information on choosing supplements. Always check with your provider before choosing a new supplement to add to your diet.

Reading: Find reading material that is not only educational but also positive. One of our favorites is Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth by Ina May Gaskin. Not only is it very informative but also has wonderful birth stories to read. For your partner, a great read is The Birth Partner by Penny Simkin.

Baby Positioning: Trying to get your baby into an optimal position is more important that you would think! There are many ways to do this during the last weeks in pregnancy especially. Posture is an easy way to help get your baby in to stay in an optimal position. You want your baby to be in an anterior position rather than posterior. This will help your labor and birth to be much less uncomfortable. Seeing a chiropractor in pregnancy has been proven to help significantly with this. Be sure to look for a chiropractor that specializes in pregnancy. Another good resource is www.spinningbabies.com.

Birth Plan: Take time to prepare a birth plan with your partner. A doula can help with this as well. Keep your birth plan simple and to the point. Be sure to communicate your labor and birth desires to your provider. Give a copy of your birth plan to your provider and bring a copy with you in your birth bag.

Find Your Tribe: Now is the time to surround yourself with supportive friends and family. Sometimes they may find it challenging to accept your labor and birth decisions. Remember to set healthy boundaries. People love telling scary stories about birth. While it is important for them to process these feelings personally, it is not the time to do it when you are pregnant. Gently remind them to save those stories for later. Find a good support system whether it be your family, friends, or an outside group.

At Health Foundations Birth Center your choices matter to us. We are here as a community of women to support you during pregnancy, birth and beyond. Call us today for a consultation or tour, 651-895-2520 or visit us at www.health-foundations.com

Meet Migdalia - Health Foundations New Sonographer!

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Name: Migdalia Argote-Maes

Hometown:  New York, NY

My role at Health Foundations is as a Sonographer. I started in December 2016.

My immediate family consists of my husband Ben who is the Direcror of Raquet Sports at the Rochester Athletic Club in Rochester MN, my son Will who is 15 years old and my daughter Lindsi who is 10 years old.

My educational background:  Degree in psychology as well as completing an Ultrasound  program in New York.

A bit about my own birth:  Back when I was born in 1966, there was no ultrasound so when my dear mother went in to deliver a baby, she was shocked to find out from the doctor that there were two of us!! I am so grateful to be a twin! She is my best friend and her name is Sara.

Some of my favorite things to do when I am not working is doing yoga, playing tennis, and spending time with family.

If I could travel anywhere, it would probably be Scandinavia. I have traveled quite a bit through Europe, but have always wanted to see that part of our world!

I was inspired to get into my field by a love of Anatomy. I have always had an interest in the human body and how it works. The more time I spent doing Ultrasound, the more I realized that I was even more interested in studying the unborn child.

What I love about Health Foundations is that I get to do what I love in a wonderful and caring atmosphere and spreading a little cheer when new parents get to see their unborn children in motion.

After being in my field for over 20 years, the mystery and intrigue of the  child in utero and child birth never ceases to amaze me.

My advice for pregnant/new moms:  Enjoy this privilege that you have been given. I promise it is the best gift you will ever receive!

Birth Control: Do You Know Your Options?

Today I want to take the opportunity to list the various options in birth control.  Last week we talked about IUDs.  This week we will be learning about the various other options listed, what they are, how they work and how effective they are. How many of these options were you aware of?

  • Abstinence

  • Birth Control Implants (Implanon & Nexplanon)

  • Birth Control Patch

  • Birth Control Pills

  • Birth Control Shot (Depo-Provera)

  • Birth Control Sponge (Today Sponge)

  • Birth Control Vaginal Ring (NuvaRing)

  • Breastfeeding as Birth Control

  • Cervical Cap (FemCap)

  • Condom

  • Diaphragm

  • Female Condom

  • Fertility Awareness-Based Methods (FAMs)

  • IUD

  • Outercourse

  • Spermicide

  • Sterilization for Women (Tubal Sterilization)

  • Vasectomy

  • Withdrawal (Pull Out Method)

Do you have questions about family planning and birth control options?  At Health Foundations Women's Health & Birth Center we believe in providing the best care based on each woman's unique needs for every stage of her life.  Our providers take the time to listen to you, to answer your questions and to make sure you leave your appointment feeling informed and cared for. Give us a call to schedule an appointment 651-895-2520.

Understanding IUDs: Is It the Right Birth Control For You?

If you keep up on women's health, or talk to other ladies about their hooha, I'm sure you've heard a lot recently about the rising popularity of the intrauterine device and wondered if you should get an IUD. After years of living in the shadow of its flashier sister the Pill, the IUD is finally having its day in the sun — it's 99 percent effective against pregnancy and it's been recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics as the best form of birth control for young women. Everybody seems to be crazy for IUDs these days — but does that mean that they are the right birth control for you?

 

What is an IUD?

An IUD is a tiny device that's inserted in your uterus to prevent pregnancy. It's long-term, reversible, and one of the most effective birth control methods out there.

 

What does IUD stand for?

IUD stands for Intrauterine Device i.e. a device inside your uterus. It's a small piece of flexible plastic shaped like a T. 

 

What are the different types of IUDs?

There are 5 different brands of IUDs that are FDA approved for use in the United States: ParaGard, Liletta, Mirena, Skyla, and Kyleena.

These IUDs are divided into 2 types: copper IUDs (ParaGard) and hormonal IUDs (Liletta, Mirena, Skyla, and Kyleena).

The ParaGard IUD doesn't have hormones. It's wrapped in a tiny bit of copper, and it protects you from pregnancy for up to 12 years. The Liletta, Mirena, Skyla, and Kyleena IUDs use the hormone progestin to prevent pregnancy. Progestin is very similar to the hormone progesterone that our bodies make naturally. Mirena works for up to 6 years. Kyleena works for up to 5 years. Skyla and Liletta work for up to 3 years.

 

How do IUDs work?

Both copper IUDs and hormonal IUDs prevent pregnancy by changing the way sperm move so they can't get to an egg. If sperm can't make it to an egg, pregnancy can't happen.

The ParaGard IUD uses copper to prevent pregnancy. Sperm don't like copper, so the ParaGard IUD makes it almost impossible for sperm to get to that egg.

The hormones in Liletta, Mirena, Skyla, and Kyleena IUDs prevent pregnancy in two ways: 1) they thicken the mucus that lives on the cervix, which blocks and traps the sperm, and 2) the hormones also sometimes stop eggs from leaving your ovaries (called ovulation), which means there's no egg for a sperm to fertilize. No egg, no pregnancy.

One of the awesome things about IUDs is that they last for years — but they're not permanent. If you decide to get pregnant or you just don't want to have your IUD anymore, your nurse or doctor can quickly and easily take it out. You're able to get pregnant right after the IUD is removed.

 

Is an IUD right for you?

Maybe. IUDs have a lot going for them — they're the most effective form of reversible birth control for women, and you don't have to fiddle with them before sex or remember to put them in every day. But everyone comes to birth control for different things. Some of us are looking to help our forgetful selves. Some of us are trying to lessen our bad menstrual cramps. Some of us are just using birth control because we're on another medication that requires it (like Accutane). And because we all have different birth control agendas, we all need to sort through different sets of facts.

 

Interested in getting an IUD?

Do you have additional questions about IUDs?  Are you interested in getting an IUD?  At Health Foundations Women's Health & Birth Center we believe in providing the best care based on each woman's unique needs for every stage of her life.  Our providers take the time to listen to you, to answer your questions and to make sure you leave your appointment feeling informed and cared for. Give us a call to schedule an appointment 651-895-2520.

The Definition Of Perfection: A Baby's Birth Goes According To Plan

 Courtesy of Emily Grace Whebbe

Courtesy of Emily Grace Whebbe

In recounting our birth story, I finally fully understand the definition of a word I have used so many times: perfection.

Although I write this after a generous dose of oxytocin from breastfeeding, I will try not to embellish beyond belief. Perfection is a word and concept I rarely use or believed in, unsure of it's even existence. However, after going through the experience of childbirth and now being able to be a part of this incredible baby's life, I realize that what happened more than a week ago was as close to perfection as I could experience. Let's start at 3:00 a.m., Thursday, August 4th.

Read more about baby Revira on npr.org

10 Reasons a Birth Center Might Be Right for You

If you’re pregnant or thinking about becoming pregnant, you may be considering your options for birth. While the majority of babies in the US are born in hospitals, there’s another option available for women who wish to birth in a homelike setting but desire many of the resources and safeguards of a hospital. This option is called a birth center. Birth centers are designed for healthy women seeking a natural birth experience under the care of midwives instead of obstetricians. Midwives embrace the idea that birth is a natural and normal process and should be approached under the wellness model of pregnancy and birth. Birth centers are able to provide routine, woman-centered care that focuses on the natural, physiological process of birth and seeks to minimize unnecessary interventions. While birth centers are not equipped for emergency medical procedures like C-sections or other serious complications, they are typically located in close proximity to a partnering hospital for quick transfers when necessary. If you are hoping for a natural birth experience in a non-medical environment yet under the care of licensed midwifery professionals, a birth center may be for you. Here are 10 reasons you should consider delivering at a birth center.

  1. You’re hoping for a natural, intervention free birth: At birth centers, pregnancy and childbirth are seen as natural and normal events. Midwives seek to empower and support women in doing what their bodies were created to do without unnecessary intervention. According to the Journal of Midwifery and Women’s Health, the rate of C-sections for low risk births is only 6 percent at birth centers in comparison with 27 percent of low risk births in a hospital setting.
  2. You want to have a midwife instead of a doctor: Midwives are uniquely positioned to provide personalized care to mothers during pregnancy and birth that not only focuses on physical health, but also emotional, spiritual and mental wellbeing. Midwives are trained professionals that support women in having optimal pregnancies and birth experiences with minimal medical intervention. Births that are attended by midwives tend to havelower rates of C-sections, episiotomies and perineal trauma.
  3. You believe hospitals are for sick people: If you are hoping to bring your baby into the world in a more homelike environment but you want the expertise and resources of skilled professionals, a birth center may be for you. In many countries around the world birth is not seen as a medical event at all but a natural, normal experience in life. Birth centers offer many of the safeguards and equipment of a hospital without the medical environment.
  4. You want to have a water birth: Though some hospitals do offer the option of a birthing tub, it is more commonly available at birth centers. Laboring and delivering in water has many benefits from pain relief, improved cervical dilation and a soothing transition for baby from womb to world.
  5. You want to be able to eat and drink during labor: While most hospitals will restrict your intake during labor due to the risk of needing general anesthesia for a C-section, most birth centers encourage you to nourish yourself as needed to keep up your energy and stamina.
  6. You want to save money: While you should check your insurance policy to confirm benefits and birth center coverage, delivering at a birth center is typically less expensive than delivering at a hospital. Reasons for the difference in cost include a shorter length of stay and fewer interventions among other variables. Typically, your out-of-pocket cost at a birth center will be about a third less than that of a hospital birth. 
  7. You do not want to have continuous fetal monitoring: While your midwife will likely intermittently monitor your baby, you will not be hooked up to a fetal monitor for the entirety of your labor like you may be at a hospital. This enables you to move about freely throughout your labor to the positions that offer the most relief and comfort. You also will not have to worry about any invasive internal monitoring or unnecessary cervical checks. 
  8. You don’t want to deliver on your back: Midwives are typically more flexible in encouraging the mother to birth and labor in whatever position her body tells her she should. Laboring and delivering on your back has been found to be one of the least conducive positions to helping baby move naturally through the birth canal. 
  9. You don’t want to feel rushed: In a birth center you will be encouraged and supported in laboring as long as your body needs. Rather than hastening the labor process with interventions, midwives embrace the natural normal process of childbirth in which you place trust in your body to know what it needs to do and at what pace.
  10. You want your family (or friends) involved: While a hospital may limit the number of individuals allowed in the room for your birth, at a birth center you will be welcome to have whomever you feel you need to support you in your birth experience. Birth centers will often involve the family during prenatal appointments and during labor realizing that the birth of a new baby is a family experience to be shared.

If you are a healthy woman experiencing a normal pregnancy and feel that a birth center may be more in line with your hopes and plans for natural birth, contact Health Foundations for afree consultation with a midwife and for a tour of our Birth Center. We are here to support and empower you from pregnancy to postpartum and beyond.

Why We Love The Business of Being Born (And You Should, Too!)

Business of Being Born Banner

Did you know that the US currently has one of the highest infant mortality rates among industrialized nations? Though you may find this to be shocking given the wealth of our nation and available technology, this issue is among several concerns about birth in the US that Ricki Lake and Abby Epstein set out to explore in their documentary, The Business of Being Born. This cutting edge documentary was created with the intent to provide women with a thorough examination of the current state of the birth industry in the United States. Through raw footage of empowering homebirths, candid interviews with mothers, doctors, midwives and other health professionals, and an analysis of common hospital birth practices, Lake and Epstein have created a provocative and informative film that is a must-see for all women. 

Why They Created It:

Ricki Lake initially sought to create a film examining common birth practices in the US after her own first birthing experience left her feeling unsatisfied and like something was missing. Interested in the factors leading to the decline of the use of midwives and the increase in the use of medical interventions, including C-sections, Lake hoped to expose some of the reasons women feel unequipped to have a natural birth. Epstein, a strong proponent of natural homebirth directs the documentary while pregnant herself and as you see in the end provides viewers with a firsthand account of why it is necessary to be flexible sometimes with your birth plan in spite of your own wishes.  

Why We Like It:

This film is all about empowering women to realize the tremendous and natural capabilities of their own bodies without intervention. Through extensive and awe-inspiring footage of natural births, The Business of Being Born successfully shows that women need not fear childbirth and that they have the strength within themselves that they will need to birth their baby. The post-birth euphoria that the new moms experience in the film is palpable through the screen and allows viewers to see some of what they might be missing should they feel pressured to undergo a cascade of medical interventions at the hands of their doctors. Lake and Epstein also take a look at the potential motivations for hospitals to encourage the use of interventions and in some cases even favor the use of Cesarean sections to avoid the possibility of a lawsuit. This film is beautifully feminist yet will appeal to any individual who is expecting a baby and wants their partner to have the dignity of the choice to have a childbirth that is best for her and her new baby. 

What You’ll Learn:

The Business of Being Born is a treasure trove of interesting facts about the history of childbirth in the United States, the decline of midwifery and the rise of and reasons for the medicalization of birth. A few topics explored in the film include:

  • The cascade effect of childbirth interventions 
  • The reasons many obstetricians are ill-suited to attend to natural births 
  • The economic implications to hospitals when allowing women to follow their body’s natural birth plan without intervention
  • The risks associated with repeat Cesarean sections
  • The primal bonding mechanism of the natural birth process
  • The relationship between the growth of technology and the changes to the childbirth industry in the US
  • The power, pride, and strength a woman experiences through natural birth.

The Take Home Message:

All women deserve the right to make informed decisions about their childbirth experience. Whether you choose to birth at home, in a birth center or at the hospital, you are entitled to the right to be educated, empowered and supported in the process. Lake and Epstein have created a powerful film that boldly personifies this mission through real life accounts, professional commentary, and raw footage. The Business of Being Born is a must-see for all women expecting a baby. This December, Health Foundations is thrilled to welcome the esteemed creators of this cutting edge documentary to our EVERY WOMAN CAN event at Aria. Lake and Epstein will give the keynote address during this night of celebration, community, and empowerment. For more information about EVERY WOMAN CAN, visit our website at http://www.everywomancan.co/.

10 Reasons a Birth Center Might Be For You

 Photo Credit: Rochelle Matos -  withlove.mn

Photo Credit: Rochelle Matos - withlove.mn

If you’re pregnant or thinking about becoming pregnant, you may be considering your options for birth. While the majority of babies in the US are born in hospitals, there’s another option available for women who wish to birth in a homelike setting but desire many of the resources and safeguards of a hospital. This option is called a birth center. Birth centers are designed for healthy women seeking a natural birth experience under the care of midwives instead of obstetricians. Midwives embrace the idea that birth is a natural and normal process and should be approached under the wellness model of pregnancy and birth. Birth centers are able to provide routine, woman-centered care that focuses on the natural, physiological process of birth and seeks to minimize unnecessary interventions. While birth centers are not equipped for emergency medical procedures like C-sections or other serious complications, they are typically located in close proximity to a partnering hospital for quick transfers when necessary. If you are hoping for a natural birth experience in a non-medical environment yet under the care of licensed midwifery professionals, a birth center may be for you. Here are 10 reasons you should consider delivering at a birth center.

  1. You’re hoping for a natural, intervention free birth: At birth centers, pregnancy and childbirth are seen as natural and normal events. Midwives seek to empower and support women in doing what their bodies were created to do without unnecessary intervention. According to the Journal of Midwifery and Women’s Health, the rate of C-sections for low risk births is only 6 percent at birth centers in comparison with 27 percent of low risk births in a hospital setting.
  2. You want to have a midwife instead of a doctor: Midwives are uniquely positioned to provide personalized care to mothers during pregnancy and birth that not only focuses on physical health, but also emotional, spiritual and mental wellbeing. Midwives are trained professionals that support women in having optimal pregnancies and birth experiences with minimal medical intervention. Births that are attended by midwives tend to have lower rates of C-sections, episiotomies and perineal trauma.
  3. You believe hospitals are for sick people: If you are hoping to bring your baby into the world in a more homelike environment but you want the expertise and resources of skilled professionals, a birth center may be for you. In many countries around the world birth is not seen as a medical event at all but a natural, normal experience in life. Birth centers offer many of the safeguards and equipment of a hospital without the medical environment.
  4. You want to have a water birth: Though some hospitals do offer the option of a birthing tub, it is more commonly available at birth centers. Laboring and delivering in water has many benefits from pain relief, improved cervical dilation and a soothing transition for baby from womb to world.
  5. You want to be able to eat and drink during labor: While most hospitals will restrict your intake during labor due to the risk of needing general anesthesia for a C-section, most birth centers encourage you to nourish yourself as needed to keep up your energy and stamina.
  6. You want to save money: While you should check your insurance policy to confirm benefits and birth center coverage, delivering at a birth center is typically less expensive than delivering at a hospital. Reasons for the difference in cost include a shorter length of stay and fewer interventions among other variables. Typically, your out-of-pocket cost at a birth center will be about a third less than that of a hospital birth. 
  7. You do not want to have continuous fetal monitoring: While your midwife will likely intermittently monitor your baby, you will not be hooked up to a fetal monitor for the entirety of your labor like you may be at a hospital. This enables you to move about freely throughout your labor to the positions that offer the most relief and comfort. You also will not have to worry about any invasive internal monitoring or unnecessary cervical checks. 
  8. You don’t want to deliver on your back: Midwives are typically more flexible in encouraging the mother to birth and labor in whatever position her body tells her she should. Laboring and delivering on your back has been found to be one of the least conducive positions to helping baby move naturally through the birth canal. 
  9. You don’t want to feel rushed: In a birth center you will be encouraged and supported in laboring as long as your body needs. Rather than hastening the labor process with interventions, midwives embrace the natural normal process of childbirth in which you place trust in your body to know what it needs to do and at what pace.
  10. You want your family (or friends) involved: While a hospital may limit the number of individuals allowed in the room for your birth, at a birth center you will be welcome to have whomever you feel you need to support you in your birth experience. Birth centers will often involve the family during prenatal appointments and during labor realizing that the birth of a new baby is a family experience to be shared.

If you are a healthy woman experiencing a normal pregnancy and feel that a birth center may be more in line with your hopes and plans for natural birth, contact Health Foundations for a free consultation with a midwife and for a tour of our Birth Center. We are here to support and empower you from pregnancy to postpartum and beyond.

 
 

Meet Catherine Mascari ~ Certified Nurse Midwife

NAME:  

Catherine Mascari 

HOMETOWN & CURRENT RESIDENCE:  

St. Paul

FAMILY

I am married to John and we have two adult daughters Sara and Samantha.  Throughout the years, we have/had many different kinds of furry-four-legged family members, too.    

ROLE AT HEALTH FOUNDATIONS

I am happy to be joining the midwifery team!  Providing care, with intention, to healthy women and families.  Being engaged and present, respectful relationships, being a part of an energized and knowledgeable community.   And growing along the way.

EDUCATIONAL BACKGROUND/TRAINING

University of Minnesota graduate with a master's degree in nursing (MSN) within the midwifery program.  Almunae of Bethel University for my baccalaureate in nursing (BSN).  In 2004, certified as a CNM by the American Midwifery Certification Board to provide full-scope midwifery care.  I belong to ACNM on the national and MN affiliate level and am a member of ACNM's consumer committee for the Healthy Birth Initiative.  I have  completed ultrasound training for early 1st trimester dating of pregnancy and 3rd trimester biophysical profiles and amniotic fluid checks.  I have practiced in a variety settings and recently attended in the underserved areas of South Dakota, Pennsylvania, Arizona and New Mexico.       

TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT YOUR OWN BIRTH

There is six girls then two boys in my family od origin and I am #4 of 8.  My mom, Joyce, tells me she was hanging clothes outside when in early labor.  She and dad left for the hospital at 7P or so and I was born at 927P on a warm July Thursday.  (I do encourage everyone to know their birth story.)    

FAVORITE THINGS TO DO WHEN YOU ARE NOT AT HEALTH FOUNDATIONS

Recently, John and I have started  to travel and have magazines galore to plan these trips.  I also have two long-time childhood friends, and several siblings, who are terrific to travel with.  Our family is planning that "trip of a lifetime" to Ireland in 2016.  I also enjoy LIVE theater, community events, walks, gardening, am a foodie while living on the edge with high-wire zip-lining and tandem sky-diving.

WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO GET INTO MIDWIFERY?

Being the doula for my sister who had a midwife-attended birth.  Both my children were born into a midwife's hands though preparation to become a midwife was delayed to raise my family.  (BTW:  my family is amazing and they continue to be supportive of all things midwifery!)  It was the loss of a young family member that made it clear the only regret I may have in life is not having done those things I've wanted to do.  

PHILOSOPHY ON BIRTH

That labor and birth can be calm and peaceful or it can be primal and loud.   There is no right way or better way - it is what speaks to a laboring woman.  Though birth is the transformative period for she and her family the prenatal and postpartum period are significant, too. 

    photo from birthingwithoutfear.com

 

photo from birthingwithoutfear.com

WHAT DO YOU WISH ALL HF FAMILIES KNEW?  

I am excited to join HFBC and return to the community I call home while being welcome into a supportive practice that embraces and values relationships.        

WHAT ADVICE OR WISDOM CAN YOU SHARE WITH PREGNANT OR NEW MAMA READERS? 

There is variation to normal during pregnancy, labor, birth and post-partum.  Trust you seek what you need and want. There is a great selection of authors, childbirth workers/birth keepers - find what is essential to you.  If you like numbers and stats go to Eugene DeClercq or Henci Goer;  Michel Odent for human interactions; Ina May Gaskins, Rebecca Dekker of Evidence Based Birth, Sara Wickham, or Rachel Reed of Midwife Thinking; organizational leaders such as the Childbirth Connection, Choices in Childbirth, Coalition for Improving Maternity Services and Improving Birth.  Remember our very own local resources, too!   

Meet Anjali Madeira

Nicole Dummann Clinic RN

Name:  

Anjali Madeira

Hometown:

Parkersburg, WV

Family:

One husband, one daughter, one dog. 

Member of Health Foundations Team since:  

June 2015

Role at Health Foundations:

 I have the privilege of seeing mamas at every stage of motherhood. I do intakes for newly pregnant mamas, assist with births, and visit mamas at home a few days after baby is born.  

Educational background and training:  

I have degrees in Public Health and Nursing. I'm currently in the Nurse-Midwifery program at the University of MN. I've also been a doula since 2013.

Tell us a little about your own birth:  

 Let's just say my birth plan was labor at home and give birth at a birth center. My reality was induction at the hospital with IVs and an epidural. And I love my birth story. It's what you make it, interventions and curve balls aside. 

What is one of your favorite things to do when you are not at Health Foundations?  

Ultimate Frisbee!

Anjali Madeira canoeing
Anjali Madeira

If you could get on a plane tomorrow and travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?  

The Travers-Sabine track in Nelson Lakes National Park on the South Island of New Zealand.

If you could have one superpower, what would it be?  

 I would be Toasty Digits Girl, with the power to heat my fingers and toes in a MN winter.

What inspired you to get into your field?  

Working with lay midwives in rural India.

What do you love about Health Foundations and what is your favorite part of your job?

The people! What a dedicated, smart and loving team, I'm lucky to be a part of it.

What is your philosophy on birth?  

Work hard, be flexible and choose your path.

What advice or wisdom can you share with pregnancy or new mama readers?  

Write a letter to your little one as your pregnancy progresses, adding a paragraph every week or two. it'll help you remember this unique experience and your kids will love reading it when they get bigger!

Meet Katrina Wu ~ Certified Nurse-Midwife

Katrina Wu - Health Foundations Nurse-Midwife

Name:

Katrina Wu

Hometown:

The Pacific Northwest! If I had to narrow it down to one city, I'd say Portland, Oregon.

Family:

I live in Saint Paul with my husband Andrew and our two cats, Sydney and Kali.

Member of Health Foundations Team since:

July, 2014

Please explain your role at Health Foundations:

I work at Health Foundations as a certified nurse-midwife. In addition to attending births, I see women at the clinic for prenatal visits, postpartum visits, and well-woman visits. Well-woman visits can range from annual exams to birth control visits like having an IUD inserted. I really enjoy being able to see women for preconception counseling before they ever become pregnant and then being able to continue seeing our moms for their health care needs long after their babies are born. I love being a resource for women in understanding their bodies and partnering with women to take ownership of their health throughout their lives.

What is your educational background and training?

I graduated summa cum laude with my bachelor of science degree in nursing from Bethel University in Saint Paul, Minnesota. After serving families through the transition of their loved ones passing away naturally at home as a hospice nurse, I decided to continue on to graduate school. I studied nurse-midwifery at Vanderbilt University, where I received the faculty choice award for most outstanding student. I was able to focus on the birth center model of care for my final clinical experience, which gave me a real love for promoting pregnancy and birth as natural processes. Following graduation I attended home and birth center births in Seattle, Washington, and then I moved back to Minnesota to help launch Bethel University's nurse-midwifery program. I am currently full-time nurse-midwifery faculty at Bethel University and practice midwifery part-time as part of the Health Foundations team.

Tell us a little about your own birth:

My favorite details are that my mom cried and that I knew my dad's voice instantly. :)

What is one of your favorite things to do when you are not at Health Foundations?

It's hard to pick just one! I most love hiking with my husband, gardening, and cooking. I'm constantly picking up new hobbies (currently thinking spinning is next!). Knitting and crocheting have been staples all my life, and I also enjoy upcycling, furniture, and painting.

If you could get on a plane tomorrow and travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?

Oh my list is so long! I recently checked New Zealand off my list, and it did not disappoint! I'd love to backpack Italy - perhaps that's next.

If you could have one superpower, what would it be?

Teleportation. It would fuel my love for travel while ensuring I never miss a birth!

What inspired you to get into your field?

In nursing school, I remember most loving to work with moms and empowering them to care for their families though at the time I wasn't sure how this would unfold in my career. Then one summer I had the opportunity to work in a rural hospital in Indonesia and again found myself drawn to mothers. Working alongside a midwife, I had my first real exposure to natural birth - witnessing newborns crossing the threshold and mothers feeling empowered was so moving! I was drawn to midwifery by the amount of time available to build relationships throughout their pregnancies and by the incredible experience that is birth.

What do you love about Health Foundations and what is your favorite part of your job?

I love that Health Foundations has such a holistic view of health. As a clinician, I feel the freedom and support to explore and recommend healing modalities across the spectrum - from acupuncture to herbs to antibiotics. :) As for my favorite part of my job, it's basically impossible to top birth! Being present and welcomed into such sacred space is continually an honor.

What is your philosophy on birth?

I have the deepest respect for birth as a sacred and empowering event. It's a normal, natural process that brings forth not only babies but families. As the gateway for this transition affecting so many lives, I believe giving presence, compassion, and support with reassurance are what families most need. 

What advice or wisdom can you share with pregnancy or new mama readers? Pregnancy, birth, and parenting come with so much advice! It really can be overwhelming. My advice is to listen to everyone's advice, and let whatever doesn't naturally resonate with you and your family simply roll off your shoulders. Trust yourself. :)

I'd love love love to work with you too, so please set up a free consultation and learn more! 

Meet Liz Smith ~ Receptionist

Meet the Health Foundations Family

Name:

Liz (Elizabeth) Smith

Liz Smith and kids

Hometown:

Chetek, WI

Family:

I am a proud mother of two. I have a son, Devin, 12, and a daughter, Courtney, 10. Both have recently become quite independent, have very different personalities and I am amazed by their resiliency everyday.  I also have 6 sisters and 3 brothers and 26 nieces and nephews. Family first!

Member of Health Foundations Team since:

I joined the team July 21, 2015

Role at Health Foundations:

I am the first face you see when you walk in the door! I schedule appointments for the many roles held here, transfer calls, answer questions, and try to keep everything running smoothly for the midwives' schedules. 

What is your educational background?

I have an Applied Associate's in Science in Business Administration and am currently enrolled in a few classes in the medical field.  Previous to getting my degree, I was in management in the retail/grocery business for 15 years.

Tell us a little about your own birth: 

When my mom went into labor with me, my family happened to be vacationing in Canada. They had to drive across the border to Bemidji, MN, in order for me to be born in the United States. My mom usually delivered pretty quickly (seven previous births) so they didn't waste any time after her water broke. My mother made it into the hospital and they put her on a gurney to bring her to a room. Almost as soon as she laid down, she informed the nurse that I was coming. The nurse told my mom to just relax, patted her on the arm, and as she was walking away, I was born! In the hallway, on a gurney was when I made my entrance into the world.

What is one of your favorite things to do when you are not at Health Foundations?

Liz's kids

One of my absolute favorite things in this world is to spend one on one time with my children, with no electronics or phones to be found! Just recently we visited my sister in WI and found snail shells. Simply making up stories about how they got there and letting their creative minds flow is something I really cherish and fills my heart with immense joy. Being in nature with my kiddos is a favorite past time of mine. 

If you could get on a plane tomorrow and travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?

I would love to travel to Ireland. I am mostly Irish and would love to visit places I've been told stories about. I also love the greenery in Ireland and nature is something that gives me peace of mind.  

If you could have one super power, what would it be?

If I had one super power, it would be time manipulation. It seems that there is hardly enough time to accomplish and experience all that I set out to. I often find myself losing sleep in order to keep up with life. I want to see and do so many things, where does the time go? 

What inspired you to get into your field?  

I enjoy working with people as well as having my hands in the business side. I have great organizational skills that I wanted to put into action as well. Finding a place like Health Foundations was a true blessing for me as I have a really big family and enjoy all stages of life, from pregnancy on.. 

What do you love about Health Foundations and what is your favorite part of your job?

I love that all the ladies here support each other and work so well together. I was welcomed with open arms and treated respectfully right from the start. I have a great amount of admiration for the midwives and nurses- they work tirelessly, while still maintaining their sense of humor and love for their jobs. My favorite part of my job is getting to know the families that come in, hearing their struggles and triumphs throughout their pregnancy, then share the experience of them coming back after the baby has arrived. Since I can't pick just one, my other favorite part of my job is watching the midwives see the new parents and baby at their two-week visit. They are so excited and the smiles on all faces are enormous. The entire experience that Health Foundations provides is really remarkable. I feel part of a supportive, endearing, and incredible family that truly cares about their patients and making sure their experience here is peaceful and memorable. 

What is your philosophy on birth?

My philosophy on birth is similar to Health Foundations. I feel that going through the laboring process naturally and listening to what a woman's body needs is vital for a woman to feel empowered throughout their labor experience and delivery. If there doesn't need to be intervention, a woman should have the right to birth her baby the way she desires. 

Liz Smith of Health Foundations

What advice or wisdom can you share with pregnancy or new mama readers?

I would tell women that are pregnant to listen to their bodies. If something doesn't feel right, look into it. Peace of mind is more important than trying to tough it out. Sleep and rest when you can, you are growing a human! For a new mama-- sleep when you can, it doesn't matter if your schedule is a little mixed up at first, sleep is so important for your mental, emotional, and physical state. Enjoy every moment of each stage your baby goes through, they are only this age once.

Try not to stress about the little stuff, like cleaning and laundry, it will get done eventually. Your baby is all that matters and he/she can sense any stress you are experiencing. If you are comfortable with it, take any help you can get. As new mom's, we learn as we go and don't need to be hard on ourselves for not knowing how to do something. A helpful reminder; there is no manual on having a baby. And that's a great thing! Listen to your intuition, as it is usually right. My mother always told me, "If baby is happy, everyone is happy!"

Health Foundations Unique Model of Care

Your body. Your baby. Your Birth. Your Way. 

Your Body Your Baby.jpg

This statement is more than just our slogan—it is the cornerstone of our philosophy of midwifery care for pregnant women and their families.  Our families are truly at the center of everything that happens here at Health Foundations.  We exist to serve you—to empower you to make the best informed choices for your family and your future. 

While it’s true that we offer comprehensive midwifery care for expecting families, our center is unique in that we combine mainstream medical therapies with complimentary and alternative medicine—the best of both worlds, all under one roof.  We serve individuals and families through a variety of healing modalities.  We also serve our clients beyond the pregnancy, birth and immediate postpartum stages.  

This integrative care model is unique in the Twin Cities, and the nation. It is truly a rare birth center that offers so many healing services in one place.  Health Foundations is renowned nationally as practicing a model that many strive to emulate.  

We believe this model of care best meets the needs of our families and our community.  And we are so thrilled to offer so many wellness services under one roof that we wanted to tell you all about them today. 

In addition to our top-notch midwifery care,

We help couples via fertility and conception support.

We help couples before they get pregnant.  Conception support can set up a couple for the healthiest start to a pregnancy.  The couple need not have any prior difficulty with conception to seek this service.  This is all about optimizing the health of both future-parents so they can have the best start.  Think of this like preparing the soil before a seed is planted—a little preparation can go a long way!

We also help couples that have been trying to conceive but perhaps have encountered bumps along the road. 

Our fertility and conception support combines the best of conventional medicine—blood work and other diagnostics, for example—with naturopathic and other alternative medicines, as well as nutritional support.  This combination offers couples comprehensive support as they begin (or continue!) their journey into parenthood. 

Read more about our preconception planning services here.  

We also offer intrauterine insemination (IUI)!  Read more about IUI here.

We offer naturopathic care.

We offer naturopathic care for all adults and children.

Naturopathic physicians, or NDs, combine the wisdom of nature with the rigors of modern science. Founded in traditional healing practices, naturopathic medicine values holistic, proactive prevention and comprehensive diagnosis and treatment. Naturopathic doctors promote the body’s inherent ability to restore and maintain optimal health.

NDs treat all medical conditions and can provide both individual and family health care.  Here at Health Foundations, Dr. Amy specializes in women’s health, fertility and pediatrics. You can learn more about our naturopathic care here.    

We offer comprehensive women's health care. 

You don’t have to be pregnant, or even of childbearing age, to utilize our women's health services.  We offer pelvic exams and Pap smears, as well as serving women who have specific health concerns that may benefit from gynecological, obstetric or surgical care.  Currently our staff OB-GYN (Dr. Dennis Hartung, MD), our nurse midwives (Katrina & Rachel) and women's health nurse practitioner (Ann) offer women's health care.  You can learn more about our women’s health services here.  

We offer pediatric care. 

Whether or not you birthed at the birth center, you can take advantage of our pediatric services.  The well-loved, compassionate, and skilled pediatric nurse-practitioner Lindsey Deeb of Dakota Pediatrics sees patients at Health Foundations every week.  We offer well child visits as well as visits when there is a specific health concern. 

We offer chiropractic care.

We offer chiropractic care for pregnant women, as well as children and other adults.  The amazing Dr. Amber Moravec of Naturally Aligned Family Chiropractic see patients at Health Foundations weekly.  Dr. Amber is dedicated to helping women have comfortable, pain-free pregnancies and efficient labors. Dr. Amber sees women in pregnancy, will attend labors to help mom’s body function optimally and see both you and baby after you deliver. She offers terrific care at an affordable price and can make a huge difference in your family’s health!

We offer acupuncture. 

We offer gentle and intuitive acupuncture for both pregnant and non-pregnant members of your family. This even includes kiddos!  We offer non-needle techniques that are excellent for little ones. Our acupuncturist specializes in pediatrics and women’s health. 

We offer craniosacral therapy.

Craniosacral therapy (CST) is a very gentle technique that works to help the body’s natural healing mechanisms by relieving stress on the central nervous system. Using extremely gentle touch, the practitioner evaluates the craniosacral system for restrictions and initiates a release to allow the body to correct itself.  Craniosacral therapy is great for pregnant women, newborns and children, and adults with a variety of healing goals.

We offer yoga.

We have offered yoga here at Health Foundations for many years.  We have partnered with Blooma yoga to offer yoga classes in our beautiful upstairs gathering space.  Call us to learn more! 

We are a full-service lactation center.

We have a full product assortment from Bravado nursing bras, to pump parts, to breastfeeding supplements and much more, that allows you to "one stop shop" for all your breastfeeding, lactation & educational needs. We offer free nursing bra fittings and can order those difficult to find nursing bra sizes! 

We offer classes, support groups and community events.

Building and supporting community is one of our highest values at Health Foundations. We offer childbirth education classes as well as two support groups that are free and open to the public: Mama’s Milk hour for mamas and their babies, and New Mom’s group. We frequently host community events including holiday and seasonal celebrations. 

We are here to serve and support our community in a variety of ways that all seek to empower and heal individuals and families.  Please call us to learn more about any of our services: (651) 895-2520.