Preconception And Fertility
Planning and preparing to conceive a baby is a very exciting time. Preconception and fertility counseling can make a positive difference in terms of your health and fertility, as well as the health of your unborn baby. Our midwives will help you prepare physically and emotionally to create optimal conditions for achieving a happy, healthy pregnancy.
Your preconception consultation will include:
- Physical assessment (including Pap Smear if necessary).
- Blood draws for lab work.
- Fertility awareness.
- Discussions about conditioning and strengthening your body for pregnancy.
- Examination of your habits, lifestyle choices, & environmental factors that might affect fertility.
- Nutritional assessment.
- Individualized recommendations for vitamins, supplements, medication changes & control of medical conditions (ex. thyroid).
- Review of healthy weight, exercise, and fitness.
- Stress management techniques.
Your prenatal visits will take place mainly in the comfort of our consultation room. Here the midwife will assess your vital signs, listen to your baby’s heartbeat, check your baby’s growth and position and discuss your health, nutrition and activities. She will take the time to educate you about the body and emotional changes you may be experiencing, as well as offer suggestions for dealing with some of the common discomforts that can arise in pregnancy.
- One of the hallmarks of good midwifery care is taking the time to listen and get to know you. Your initial prenatal visit will last one hour, while following prenatal visits will last 30 minutes. This will allow you to become familiar and comfortable with each of the midwives, allowing you to develop a relationship with them to help prepare for your birth.
- You are a partner in your care. We will provide ample opportunity for you to ask questions, express your desires and hopes, have your concerns addressed and be educated about the process. We want you to be able to make informed decisions about your care. You will have access to your electronic medical records, including test results. You can also email or call your midwife and expect a prompt response. The midwife on call is available 24 hours a day for any immediate concerns or questions that you have.
- Prenatal testing and genetic screening tests are offered based on individual need and desire. Routine lab work can be done at the birth center, or a low-cost laboratory nearby.
Labor And Birth
Once you are in active labor at home, or admitted to a birth center, your midwife will meet you and stay with you throughout your labor and birth. She will encourage you, make suggestions if needed and carefully monitor both you and the baby. At Willow AZ, we utilize evidence-based practice. We will encourage you to eat and drink as desired, and we will perform intermittent auscultation of your baby’s heartbeat with a waterproof Doppler.
This will allow you the freedom to move about, soak in the tub, sit on a birth ball, or relax in any position you desire. The calm surroundings and comfort measures available to you at our birth centers, in combination with the support of family, midwives, birth assistants and doulas are helpful in facilitating your birth. In addition, nitrous oxide is also available.
After your baby is born and you have had time to bond and helped to breastfeed, the initial newborn exam will be performed with the baby right by your side. You and your baby are never separated after the birth.
Your midwife and birth assistant will continue to monitor you and your baby as you rest and recover after the birth until you are both stable. Once you have spent some time with your new family, enjoyed a nourishing meal and feel ready, your birth assistant will prepare to leave you, or prepare you to go home if you are in one of our birth centers.
Postpartum And Newborn Care
The midwives will stay in close contact with you after your birth. The midwives and birth assistants will be available every day to provide postpartum support, and within 24-48 hours following the birth, a nurse or midwife will come to your home to check on you and your baby, complete a physical exam on the two of you, assist you with breastfeeding and answer any questions you may have (distance limitations apply). The Newborn Screening can be performed at this time in the comfort of your home.
In addition to your home visit, two-week, and six-week postpartum appointments at a birth center will be scheduled for you. We invite you to stay connected and continue to be supported in our New Moms Support Group for moms and their babies, ages two weeks to four months.
In office or via Zoom appointments. For Willow clients only.
Water Birth is available to all Willow AZ clients at no extra cost, whether you choose to deliver your baby in one of our birth centers or in your own home. We will monitor your baby with special waterproof dopplers while you relax in the comfort of the warm water. Our deep birth tubs are specifically designed for water immersion, promoting comfort and relaxation during labor and/or birth. Our midwives are experienced in safe water birth practices and have assisted many clients with water deliveries.
Benefits of Water Birth Include:
- Significant pain relief.
- Promotes relaxation.
- Decreases adrenalin production, allowing better flow of oxytocin and oxygen through the mother. This increases the blood supply to the mother’s uterus and produces more effective contractions.
- Greater blood supply to the uterus sends more blood and oxygen to the placenta and baby.
- Provides buoyancy enabling you to assume positions that are comfortable for labor/birth.
- Reduces perineal trauma, eliminating episiotomies.
- Provides a gentle transition for the baby from the womb into the world.
Breastfeeding can provide a wonderful bond between you and your baby, while supplying the perfect nutrition and antibodies that are only found in human breast milk. Though natural and beneficial, breastfeeding is a learned skill and may require patience and practice. For some women, the learning stages can be frustrating and uncomfortable. The good news is that with proper support and education, it will get easier much faster!
- At Willow AZ, breastfeeding classes are offered for our clients and to the community. These classes provide information, education, support, and encouragement to make the breastfeeding experience successful and enjoyable.
- We recognize that babies who are given skin-to-skin contact with their mothers immediately after birth for at least an hour are more likely to latch on without any help. They are also more likely to latch on well, especially with mothers who do not receive medication during the labor or birth.
- Our Willow AZ midwives are trained to assist with breastfeeding; phone support is available for our clients 24/7.
- We have International Board-Certified Lactation Consultants (IBCLC) to refer you to if more intensive help is required, and are offering in-office appointments with an IBCLC.
Childbirth education is something that our midwives are passionate about. Our clients learn through a mix of natural education through your various maternity appointments, where we answer all your questions, as well as a variety of classes and events we offer to clients and the community. Check our calendar for dates and times.
- Birth Center Orientation and Tour (private tours also available)
- Preparing for a Birth Center Birth (recommended for first time moms and anyone who has not had an unmedicated birth before – please bring all members of your birth team!)
- Introduction to Breastfeeding.
- The Birth Process.
- Comfort & Coping Techniques.
- Your Postpartum: The First 2 Weeks.
New Mom’s Support Group
A weekly new moms’ support group for moms with their babies, ages two weeks and up, to come together and share their experiences of the highs and lows of motherhood in a safe and supportive environment. One of our birth assistants, also trained as a postpartum doula, will be present to facilitate discussions and to help with any questions the moms may have. You may also weigh your baby and get tips on breastfeeding while you engage in discussion with your new circle of friends. Check our calendar for dates and times.
Well Woman & Gynecology
We offer gynecology with a balanced medical and holistic approach, including annual Well Woman exams, pap smears, blood work and other labs. Holistic fertility guidance is also available through our well-woman visits with a midwife.
Pre and postnatal classes are offered. Classes are designed and led by local yoga experts to invite the benefits of yoga into your pregnancy. Postnatal classes invite you to bring your baby for a chance to bond and connect with other new parents while learning relaxation techniques. Check our calendar for dates and times.