Hillcrest practice provides a natural alternative to hospital deliveries
By Michelle Lyn | SDUN Reporter
With open-minded and health conscious mothers looking for more natural birth alternatives, home birth is on the rise. Locally, the Hillcrest-based Mother to Mother Midwifery has been established for family planning and birthing needs.
Founded in 2011, Mother to Mother Midwifery provides professional support to women and families interested in having a home birth. They are trained professionals who have delivered thousands of healthy babies.
Certified nurse midwife Brooke Ray and licensed midwife Sunshine Chrispeels are the founders of Mother to Mother Midwifery. After practicing independently, they joined together and have added licensed midwife Karly Nutall and obstetrician Elizabeth Ross to the practice. Collectively, they have over 20 years of experience attending thousands of births in hospitals, birth centers and homes.
“We chose our location because it is so centrally located,” Chrispeels said. “Although the majority of our clients live within eight miles of our office, we serve families anywhere from South Bay up to Carlsbad. We have found a high demand for our specific services in the area, particularly North and South Park. In fact, eights of our last births were within blocks of our office.”
Mother to Mother Midwifery provides services beyond home birth. With their team of midwives, birth assistants and doulas, they offer family planning and counseling, comprehensive prenatal care, “Birthing from Within” childbirth classes, water birth, postpartum care, newborn exams and lactation support.
Additionally, one of their goals as a practice is to inform and help clarify certain stereotypes, as Chrispeels, Nutall and Ross aim to educate families on negative stereotypes of home births.
Last year, in preparation of Mother to Mother’s launch, the midwives conducted focus groups with women in their 20s and 30s. They interviewed non-mothers to understand stereotypes and level of knowledge and mothers to understand past experiences and concerns.
Experts in childbirth, midwives’ most valuable skill is recognizing the difference between what is normal during delivery and when it might be necessary to go to a hospital. All midwives make it their priority to support a woman in her birth choices. When choosing a practitioner, a pregnant woman has the option of working with a midwife or an obstetrician.
The major difference between the two is an obstetrician is a trained surgeon who recognizes illness and actively manages labor, whereas a midwife is a specialist in a low-risk pregnancy.
Not only are midwives medically trained to attend births, but they also provide additional support to the mother and her partner during pregnancy, labor, delivery and postpartum care.
The American Pregnancy Association states that midwife-led births are associated with lower intervention rates, reduced mortality related to interventions and fewer recovery complications.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that in 1900, nearly all births in the United States occurred outside a hospital, the vast majority of which occurred at home. However, with the advent of modern medicine, the number fell to 44 percent by 1940 and to one percent by 1969, with the increasing number of practicing obstetricians. However, a recent CDC report examined trends and characteristics of home births in the U.S., and the percentage of home births increased by 29 percent from 2004 to 2009.
One benefit the Mother to Mother midwives see is the familiar environment and comfort of a patient’s own home, as well as the flexibility to labor how they choose.
For many women, midwife-attended water birth is an appealing option that is only available out of the hospital. Laboring and birthing in warm water can be an effective pain management tool for women who choose natural birth over anesthesia or epidurals.
Ray said, “Natural birth can be a beautiful and empowering process.”
One Mother to Mother Midwifery client, who wished to remain anonymous, said she started her prenatal care with an obstetrician who made her feel as if her questions were burdensome, resulting in appointments that felt very impersonal.
She had a different experience at Mother to Mother, saying she though the midwives were “warm and caring.” She said the midwives spoke kindly to her, while the obstetrician had gone six months without ever touching her stomach.
Chrispeels said, “Midwives encourage women to believe in their ability to birth their babies spontaneously and naturally, while finding confidence and courage in childbirth.”
For more information, visit mothertomothermidwifery.com.