Labor & Birth
When your labor begins, the personal care and attention that you will have come to expect at Alma continues. Alma midwives are on call for you 24/7. We believe in the “fresh horse” call schedule. Studies have shown that caregivers who have not slept for several hours (days) are more prone to error. The shift change is done every 24 hours to promote safe care practices. The call schedule honors our hard working midwives. We practice the beliefs we preach about self-care, physical health, caring for relationships, down time, and restoration.
Early Labor will start with a home visit from one of your midwives to assess your labor. At that point, you will make a plan together on whether it’s time to come to the birth center (or have your full team arrive for a home birth) or if it is not quite time yet. We provide labor support during your active labor phase and hope that in pre or early labor you will rest, nourish, hydrate and wait for the big stuff to start. Through experience and research, we have learned that women do best surrounded by people they trust in a comfortable environment. Whether you’re birthing at home or in our birth center, your labor room can include candles, food, music, children, loved ones, and whatever you need to feel comfortable and safe. Some women hire a doula to support them in the hours (sometimes days) of pre or early labor; let us know if you would like this extra support.
Labor support from the midwives or your doula lessens the impression of pain, shortens labor, reduces the need for medicalization of birth, lowers the cesarean birth rate, and increases a mother’s positive feelings about their birth. A trained labor support person (midwife, assistant, apprentice, doula) will support you through your labor by using kind and encouraging words and touch and labor support tools like: use of water, change of position, birth stools, walking, lunging, resting with a peanut ball, massage, yoga sling support, endless pillows, acupuncture and many more modalities, all help you to open and give birth. Ask someone who has birthed with Alma to describe the support they received in labor. Our staffing allows you to be the lodestar of the day. Our attention is fixed on you, your baby and your mate (if partnered).
Privacy is one of the best labor tools. Labor flourishes in an undisturbed environment! For some people oxytocin (the labor & love hormone) flow the best when they are left alone or with their partner. We honor such inward laborers. We will wait just outside the door and quietly tiptoe in to check on you & listen to the baby’s heartbeat. You may labor in quiet, darkness if desired. Alma labors are tether free!
How Alma Midwives Support & Monitor Laboring Person & Baby
Availability of free (untethered) movement increases spontaneous vaginal birth. How is safety monitored without being tethered to monitors? Our care is human directed versus technology/machine intensive. It requires us to be with women in an attuned & focused way... after all midwife means “with woman.”
Monitoring Low-Risk Women
TYPICAL HOSPITAL CARE
Monitoring Low-Risk Women
This kind of care increases the chances of a spontaneous vaginal birth without decreasing safety. Would you like to see a list of our medications, supples, instruments and birth support tools? Click here.
The Moment of Birth
In the second stage (also called pushing), people can be in the water, on a birth stool, in the shower, squatting on the floor, in the bed — the birth will happen wherever the baby decides they wish to be born. We have even had a few births outdoors in our courtyard! No stirrups are available for labor because they are not comfortable for an unmedicated person. By not cheerleading a women to push vigorously, vaginal tearing is reduced.
Most babies are “caught” by the partner with the midwives guidance and placed on your chest. This is the magical moment! See FAQ for a more detailed description of the tender care given to not disrupt birth - this moment belongs to the family!