Holistic Birth and Parenting Blog

Thrive Birth Center Blog, Thrive Birth Talk

Understanding the Psoas: The Muscle of the Soul

By Lyla Moore

The psoas (so-as) muscle is actually a pair of muscles found deep within the core. It originates from the lumbar region of the spine (middle low back) and wraps around into the pelvic area, attaching at the hip with the help of several strong tendons. In animals, we call this muscle the tenderloin. Ilio-Psoas

From a physical standpoint, the psoas is responsible for stabilizing the base of the spine. When the muscle is tight or injured, we experience low back pain, sciatica, disc problems, hip degeneration, knee, and pelvic pain. It is engaged when we are sitting, running and walking. As you lift your knee to take a step, the psoas contracts. As the leg swings back, as it does while running, it lengthens the muscle. If you sit for long periods of time, the psoas remains in a contracted state, and this can lead to habituated tightness. During pregnancy, the tone of the psoas can effect the decent of the baby and even fetal position. Maintaining a healthy psoas eliminates low back pain and leg pains, opens and centers the pelvis and hips, which ultimately can support you in bringing your baby into the world with more ease.

From a mind/body standpoint, the psoas is the major muscle which is activated during the fight or flight response, when we respond to stimuli with primitive, primal survival instincts. It is spoken of as the muscle of the soul in Daoist healing traditions. A healthy psoas is linked to our ability to thrive, blossom, and become ourselves fully. Our self expression, self actualization, and speaking our truth, are all emotional aspects of the psoas. And for this reason, along with the physical importance, it serves us well to create awareness around our psoas.

Now that we know more about this important muscle, you may be wondering how you can maintain a healthy psoas. The key is focusing on a deep release of this muscle. It can only lengthen once it has been released. Yoga can be very helpful in aiding the release of the psoas. The simplest pose I would recommend to begin to gain awareness around the psoas would be a simple low lunge. Bend your left knee to a ninety degree angle, and take your right leg back behind you with your knee on the floor. Press the right shin and top of the right foot into the floor and release the tailbone down toward the floor. Even out the hips and lift the chest and you will feel the right side of your psoas in the stretch. Lifting arms overhead while in a low lunge may be tough on the joints during pregnancy. Once you are postpartum and ready for more work, if you lift the arms overhead and move the upper back into a small backbend, you will find even more sensation arise within your psoas. The key to finding release in this muscle is to practice moving through yoga poses using undulating movements, move the spine in a wave like motion, and focus on long exhalations. A gentle or restorative yoga practice will serve you best on your journey toward releasing the psoas.

In so much of our lives we are on go-go mode, and the psoas never gets a chance to release. As we sit for long periods, the muscle contracts and continues to remain engaged even though our bodies are inactive. As you move through pregnancy, and prepare for the intensely primal experience of giving birth, it is a great time to build awareness around the psoas muscle. What I love about the practice of yoga is that it offers us an opportunity for deep awareness within the body, as well as building awareness around how our mind influences our body. Try one of the yoga classes at Thrive to experience a practice designed specifically to support you during your pregnancy. If you’ve recently given birth, you are welcome to attend my Saturday morning Pre/Post Natal class with your pre-crawling baby. Taking time to unwind and recharge is crucial for a healthy pregnancy, and to find balance as a mother. Your psoas will thank you for it!

Holistic Childbirth Prep Workshop, Staff, Thrive Birth Talk

Storytelling For Birth, Family, and Community

In our home, stories have a special place in our daily and seasonal rituals. As we gather nightly for dinner, we go around the table, first sharing what we are grateful for and then sharing the stories of our day. We might talk about a moment of tension, a friendship forged, a duck family spotted. After dinner and dishes, we retire to the couch for story time. My partner might tell a classic from memory, or I might retell a traditional folktale while he plays the guitar and my daughter contributes sound effects.

Stories weave our lives together by giving us an opportunity to share our vulnerabilities and accomplishments. We feel heard and supported when we might have felt alone or isolated before sharing. As listeners, we sit in silence, absorbing the ebbs and flows of a narrative taking shape.

Stories also serve to give us a place in our family’s history, as well as our larger community and culture. As Autumn darkens our days and we hang our holiday lights, we gather to tell stories of our ancestors, friends, or family members that have passed. We speak their names to honor their place in our history. For my daughter’s birthday, I open the day by telling her the story of her birth. This is a complex story and every year I carefully build in more of the nuances. It is not lost on me that her birth was shaped by, while simultaneously standing in contrast to, the media’s representation of birth and a woman’s body. It’s important to me that her first experience of birth takes root between her and I, connecting us, like an invisible umbilical cord.

I believe that our stories can take seed in our beings. We hold them tenderly in our bones and body, sometimes dearly, and sometimes in angst. Over the two days in which my labor unfolded, I became deeply connected to all the reproductive experiences and narratives that were shaping my daughter’s birth and my birth as a mother. My reproductive experiences will, no doubt, affect my daughter’s reproductive experiences. The reproductive experiences that we have lived as women affect our births at a multigenerational level. One of the ways that we can positively harness our past and future is to become mindful storytellers, because telling our stories is an act of honoring our transformations.

At Thrive, we have ongoing classes and events that honor the art and power of Story. I teach our Holistic Childbirth Education Workshop, where you will hear the story of the Hormones of Love and the Landscape of Labor. On December 5th, we’ll be throwing a storytelling gala for professionals and families, Stories From the Birth Room. We’ll be joined by doctors, midwives, and other professionals who will share their own stories, some sorrowful, some hilarious, all victorious in the act of transformation. In January, our beloved yoga teacher Sara Woll will lead mamas in finding balance between fear and bliss in her Truth Telling Circle. You can also join Sara in her Prenatal Yoga and Community Tea Time class, or Lyla Moore’s Prenatal and Postpartum yoga classes, where pregnant people and new mothers gather to expand and deepen connection.

If you have a story to share, please let us know. We appreciate the wisdom we gain as we sit to listen to you.

Warmly, Kelly Gray, Center Coordinator, Kelly@ThriveBirth.com


Thrive Birth Center Blog

A Workshop for Birth Professionals: Caring Without Carrying

Preventing and Resolving the Accumulation of Work-Related Stress with Tina Stanley, L.C.S.W

For most of us who make our living working with pregnant, birthing and postpartum women, it is a true labor of love. For sure, few of us are becoming wealthy doing it! And whether we are midwives, doulas, childhood educators, nurses or psychotherapists, and whether we are veterans or raw beginners, self-care is an ongoing challenge and learning experience.

Most advice about self-care focuses on boundaries and the kind of self-care that relates to prioritizing one’s own needs: eating well, getting enough sleep, exercise, pampering, etc. Those are valid and important. Other advice suggests that it’s better to care less about our clients and their experiences, as a kind of self-protection; that a kind of “professional distance” is necessary to avoid burnout. Though there is a certain grain of truth in this, this approach can lead to a hardening or numbing that is itself likely to make our work unsatisfying. It is our caring that makes the work meaningful, satisfying and effective. But caring doesn’t mean merging or being “codependent”. And caring doesn’t mean that there aren’t situations where it’s necessary to respond or act without being overwhelmed by emotion.4f90aa948231a.preview-620

In this blog and upcoming course, I’m advocating working with clients with an open heart while nurturing an ongoing self-awareness about when our caring turns into carrying. When we are able to care without carrying, the experiences, thoughts, emotions, and reactions that are invoked in our work life can flow through us, leaving us unburdened. There’s a Zen saying about living life like a clean burning flame that leaves behind neither smoke nor ash.

When this is working well, we can “bless and release” each client and move forward without accumulating a weight of unresolved stress. When this isn’t working well, the accumulation of work-related stress brings to my mind an image of a woman carrying a sack of stones on her back. These stones of unresolved, unprocessed, undigested residue can be created in a variety of situations – for example; the frustrations of working within institutions, self-criticism or guilt about things we did or didn’t do, client situations that trigger our own past traumas, etc.

Every so often, we may need to pause, check to see what’s in that sack and sense into how to let go of carrying unnecessary weight. In addition, we can develop the proactive ability to keep from adding stones to the sack in the first place.

In the upcoming course on October 14, in a safe, supportive environment, we will explore how to access guidance from our inner worlds to process, release, and prevent this kind of accumulated weight that can easily lead to burnout, compassion fatigue, or secondary traumatization. Together we will create a simple healing ceremony. I hope you’ll be interested in learning more and invite you to give yourself the gift of this course. I welcome your questions or comments.

IMG_4418[1] copy
Thrive Birth Center Blog

The Wisdom of Water Birth

IMG_4251 copyWhen a laboring woman steps into the birth tub the atmosphere changes, voices quiet and the softness of her body is noticeable.

Midwives have known for decades that warm water is one of the most powerful tools we have in reducing pain and tension in child birth. And yet, in the medical model of care, we are still seeing fear and resistance to letting women soak their bodies in water during labor and birth.

Recently, I was in Indonesia meeting with an Obstetrician and his group of students at a local hospital. We were discussing the differences between maternity care in the U.S. verses Indonesia. He asked, somewhat startled, “You don’t do water birth do you?” I replied, “Of course, more than half of the births I attend are water births.” His jaw dropped a little and he said, “You let babies eat their mom’s poop!” The table erupted in laughter. It was funny, but it also reflected that the medical world is still in the dark about the safety and benefits of hydrotherapy in birth.

The majority of hospitals in California will allow a laboring Mama to get in the shower for short periods between of time while being connected to a hospital bed for electronic fetal monitoring. Rarely are you able to be in active labor in the shower, and if you are blessed to find a hospital that offers a birthing tub, it is unlikely that you will be allowed to birth in it.

Midwives are skillfully trained in the art of monitoring fetal heart tones in any position, in any room. We use water proof hand held dopplers which allows us to keep a close eye (or ear) on your baby while you are in the tub.

There are many myths revolving around the risks of water birth. The primary myth is that the baby will take a breath underwater and aspirate fluid into the lungs. Rather, a healthy baby that has been thriving during labor and born into the water will be perfectly safe and will not inhale water due to the design of their throat. The larynx has 5 times more taste buds then the tongue does, which allows it to interpret solutions as they hit the back of the throat. As the solution passes the larynx the taste buds will signal the glottis to automatically close, while at the same time swallowing anything in the mouth. This automatic response is called the Dive Reflex. All healthy active babies have one. Indeed, it is believed that infants are born with this reflex so that they can easily breastfeed and not inhale milk. IMG_4449 copy

Midwives have known about the wisdom of water for a long time. By facilitating mobility and reducing stress related hormones, while at the same time increasing endorphins (which neutralize pain and encourage a trance like state during labor), midwives have have seen and experienced the following benefits of water birth:

•  Enables the mother to assume any position which is comfortable for labor and birth
•  Speeds up labor
•  Reduces blood pressure
•  Gives mother more control of body
•  Provides significant pain relief
•  Promotes relaxation
•  Conserves her energy
•  Reduces the need for drugs
•  Gives mother a private and protected space
• Causes the perineum to become more elastic and relaxed, reducing the incidence and severity of tearing and the need for an episiotomy and stitches
•  Reduces cesarean section rates and transports to the hospital for pain management 

•  Encourages an easier birth for mother and a gentler welcome for baby

It is a common belief that because babies have been happily floating in warm water for the last 40 weeks or so that birthing a baby into the water ensures a smooth and gentle transition into life with gravity. These babies are less likely to be stressed by a harsh environment. They are more likely to be born into their Mama’s hands, quietly, gently, and peacefully. IMG_4418[1] copy

Of course, there are situations that are not ideal for a water birth. Each mama and each baby are different and require individualized care to create a birth plan for you.

For more information about water birth or the benefits of laboring in water, contact Thrive. We are more then happy to discuss your birthing options!
Love, Bee Lauher, LM, CPM

*For more information hiring a birth photographer who can take photos similar to the beautiful photos taken at Thrive Birth Center, please contact Seana Burglund and see her lovely website here. Here is what one mom had to say about having Seana as a photographer at her birth:
“This is more than talent and intuitive skill. It is passion in the raw, and years of effort brought to a beautiful fruition….It takes a certain person; one who was simply born to comfort, guide, and capture so precisely the journey of pregnancy, birth, and motherhood. Seana is exactly that.”

Thrive Birth Center Blog, Thrive Birth Talk

Treasure Every Moment As A Mom? No way! ~ Tina Stanley, L.C.S.W.


“Treasure EVERY moment?” Really?

OK, all you nice old ladies out there. Listen up!!! Please stop telling all the moms with babies and toddlers to “Treasure every moment. It passes so quickly. This time when they’re little is so precious!”  Yeah, yeah, yeah…

Perhaps you’ve forgotten how challenging it might be to treasure the many sleepless middle of the night moments, or temper tantrum moments or cracked nipple moments or baby screaming while you try to take a shower moments or …..(You know I could go on!)

I know I sound cranky and I know you mean well. And I know there is a wonderful kernel of good advice in what you are saying.

However… mothers so often put so much pressure on themselves. As the mom of babies and toddlers, it’s so easy, in the midst of the mess and the chaos, to feel like you’re not doing it right. You should be more calm and cheerful. You should be enjoying it more. You should be treasuring every moment.

As a psychotherapist, I work a lot with moms who are struggling. Good, smart, devoted moms who are having a hard time. They are struggling to keep their heads above water. They are questioning themselves and comparing themselves to others. This is not a rare experience!

And I remember struggling. I remember feeling so sleep deprived that I felt like I had the flu and probably having some days when I wasn’t able to treasure any moment much less every moment.

Now, let me be clear, I am a big, huge fan of being present in the moment and savoring the treasures that are there. I’ll never forget looking down into my babies’ eyes while nursing and just falling into the beauty of that gaze. I’ll never forget the sound of my baby’s laughter or feeling the warmth of their soft, warm bodies snuggled up to mine. But, it isn’t ALL like that and I feel protective of moms who care SO MUCH about being good moms and get bombarded by unrealistic messages and expectations about what being a good mom should be like.

So, nice old ladies, (yeah, I know I’m coming into the old lady category myself, which is partly why I give myself permission to speak to you like this)… next time those words “oh, be sure to enjoy every single moment when they are little” start to come out of your mouth, pause and consider. Look closely at this mom that you are about to address. Remember that she is a unique person having a particular day and your comments may either make her day a little easier or a little harder. Don’t project your nostalgia about the idealized memories of your early mothering onto her life. Smile. Say hello. Maybe say something like, “I remember how wonderful AND challenging those days could be when my kids where little. How’s your day going today?”

Thrive Birth Center Blog

Vaginal Birth After Cesarean, a Birthing Midwife’s Perspective

Vaginal Birth After Cesarean; by Jasmine Maes, LM, CPM

I am writing both from the perspective of midwife and from that of a birthing woman. I had been a midwife for eight years when I learned I was pregnant with my first baby. I felt confident and supported. I planned for the homebirth of my dreams. I encountered some complications of pregnancy at 37 weeks and agreed to a hospital induction of labor. After 40 hours, many tears, a whole lot of Pitocin, and very little sleep, I agreed to a cesarean birth. My amazing son was born, and I was relieved and in love, and absolutely heartbroken. How could I, an experienced midwife, allow such a thing to happen to me? I felt harmed and tricked, and sadly my story just sounded cliché, an all too common tale. I spent countless hours deliberating which decision might have allowed me to birth my son the way I had envisioned. My body wasn’t ready. That tub was so shallow. Was I really that sick? Was the induction even necessary? What if I had been able to keep going without an epidural?

With my second pregnancy, I was determined from the start to give birth vaginally. I did not fear labor, uterine rupture, or having another cesarean birth. I just knew that I needed to be left alone. I absolutely needed to be at home. I needed water that was deep and hot. I needed privacy. I needed my husband to believe me and believe in me, and hold me through every contraction. I needed experienced midwives around me to keep the birth room safe and peaceful.

I went into labor several days after my due date. I had mild regular contractions during dinner and went out for a walk with my husband and our son. By the time I reached the bottom of our hill, I called our midwives. Soon after, I was moaning and leaning over the stroller, I still had to make it back up that hill. One of the midwives agreed to come over and listen to our baby and check in. As I reached the driveway, my water broke, and the midwife arrived. She and my husband filled the birth tub and just 5 short hours later, our baby girl was born. Birth works. It is powerful and true, and in my opinion it is as safe as life gets. Even with a previous cesarean scar. Jasmine

Many families are surprised to hear that VBAC is “allowed” or even possible in Sonoma County. Though some hospitals do not allow or support a woman’s decision to birth vaginally after a previous cesarean, the Thrive midwives have had the experience of supporting women through this journey for many years. Midwives have long been the guardians of successful VBAC. Our patience and trust in birth are key elements in any birth, but are crucial for the woman desiring a VBAC. Freedom of movement, emotional and physical support, effective relaxation through hydrotherapy, and choice of birth position are essential in a VBAC experience. So is the ability to allow labor to unfold in its own unique way, free from the confines of time limits and protocols, free from the supervising eye of the surgeon.

Myths and realities abound around the risks of VBAC and uterine rupture. In just a few minutes of research, I found what I was looking for. Lots and lots of numbers. The risk of uterine rupture is higher in women with previous cesarean scars, that fact cannot be argued. And what about the risks of repeat surgery? Increased chance of hemorrhage, infection, organ damage, placental complications in future pregnancies, increased pain and recovery times, and breastfeeding challenges. I encourage you to look, the results are fascinating.

But numbers aside, the overwhelming reality is that vaginal birth after cesarean is considered an acceptable option for women who have access to emergency medical care when necessary, and that is not necessarily defined as birth in the hospital. The National Institutes of Health found inconclusive evidence to support the recommendation that women desiring a vaginal birth, labor in a hospital with 24 hour surgical staffing. With Thrive’s optimal location near two major surgical centers, we have better access to emergency care than many women living in a rural area, or birthing in a lower volume community hospital. Women should have the choice to birth vaginally and be supported in this choice, wherever they feel safest.

Since our opening a year ago, we have had 5 healthy and victorious VBAC deliveries at Thrive! There is something so healing and inspiring about watching a woman discover her own power through birth. Amazement as she reaches down to feel her baby emerging, disbelief that her body knows just how to do this. It reminds me why I love being a midwife, and of my own journey to motherhood. Serving the courageous women and families in our care has helped me to see my son’s cesarean birth as a treasure, an experience of value that has allowed me to connect with so many women on a vulnerable and deeply emotional level. For months after his birth, I wished I could go back and do it all over again. Now, I wouldn’t trade that experience for anything in the world.





www.VBACFACTS.com – an awesomely researched and un-biased site with tons of information and studies on VBAC


consensus.nih.gov/2010/images/vbac/vbac_statement.pdf –  The National Institutes of Health Consensus Development Conference Statement on Vaginal Birth After Cesarean: New Insights


www.ICAN-online.org – International Cesarean Awareness Network


www.uptodate.com – widely referenced by physicians


New Babies Born

DIY Baby Massage Bars

Baby Massage Balms

~Tessa Mancini Gillen, Herbalist, Nutritionist, Mama

Baby massage is a sweet ritual that is unfortunately greatly underutilized. It provides a solution for many new baby woes including to help with weight gain in preterm babies, decreasing stress levels across the board, easing the symptoms of colic, soothing tummy issues, aiding with teething discomforts, and helping with sleep problems, which effects almost all parents to some degree. (2)(4) One study showed that an astounding 93% of participating parents reported a decrease in several common colic symptoms during a 3 week trial. (1) Another study reported that the benefits of infant massage aren’t limited to the babies, but also extent to the moms, alleviating symptoms of post partum depression. (3) The benefits seem endless, and infant massage is easy, so why not make it part of your daily ritual with the little one. It’s best to find a moment when your little one is calm and relaxed, and many find it to be a useful addition to the nighttime routine. Babies love the soft and gentle touch of the hands, and find it relaxing, therapeutic, and can help promote a sound and peaceful nights rest.
How to get started?
Work your way down from the head to the itty bitty toes, with soft and gentle touches. Don’t apply too much pressure, as it’s not about massaging the muscles, but more about soft touches to the skin. There is no right or wrong way, just follow your baby’s cues. Be soft, be gentle, touch with love and intention, and your baby will receive it all in. Avoid the genital areas, steer clear of the face if using essential oils, and remember to keep it soft. Here is a simple recipe for a baby massage balm to get you started.
• Lavender & Chamomile Massage Bars •   photo
70 grams cocoa butter
30 grams Shea butter
5 drops lavender essential oil
5 drops German chamomile essential oil
1. Melt the cocoa butter and Shea butter in a double boiler.
2. Remove from heat and pour into molds.
3. Pour 1 drop of essential oil into individual molds compartments. This recipe yields 10 balms, so you will end up with 5 balms with 1 drop of chamomile essential in each, and 5 balms with 1 drop of lavender essential oil.
4. Place in fridge until set.
It is a good idea to keep these refrigerated, as they are prone to melting in hot weather. They will melt on contact with the skin, and are also great during pregnancy for stretch mark prevention, as well as a great daily moisturizer.
Enjoy ❤
1. Huhtala V, Lehtonen L, Heinonen R, Korvenranta H. “Infant massage compared with crib vibrator in the treatment of colicky infants.” Pediatrics. 2000 Jun; 105(6):E84
2. Lahat S, Mimouni FB, Ashbel G, Dollberg S. “Energy expenditure in growing preterm infants receiving massage therapy.” Journal of American College of Nutritionists. 2007 Aug;26(4):356-9
3. O Higgins M, St James Roberts I, Glover V. “Postnatal depression and mother and infant outcomes after infant massage.” Journal of Affective Disorders. 2008 Jul; 109(1-2):189-92
4. Underdown A, Barlow J, Chung V, Stewart-Brown S. “Massage intervention for promoting mental & physical health in infants aged under six months.” Cochrane Database of Systemic Reviews. 2006 Oct 18; (4): CD005038

Gentle Remedies for Pregnancy, the UTI and Bladder Infection

Gentle Remedies for the Common Discomforts of Pregnancy, brought to you by Bee Lauher, LM, CPM

Pregnancy is a normal and natural process that transforms our bodies in many ways. The following is a gentle alternative that can be helpful in remedying the discomforts that sometimes accompany this process. Join us each week to learn more about gentle alternatives, and please share with your community! We can inform and empower

UTI and Bladder Infection

woman-bladder-e1285524180365-300x248Hormonal changes that cause the ureters to soften along with the weight of the womb cause UTI’s to be common in pregnancy. If treated early with persistence, UTI’s should be able to be treated at home. Bladder infections can cause preterm labor and can easily lead to a kidney infection and should be treated by a Nurse Midwife or a physician if herbal remedies do not work effectively.

Diet: Cut out all sugars and yeast from your diet. Increase your fluid intake by at least double to help flush the bladder.

Supplement support: Vitamin C 500 mg 4 times daily. C helps to acidify the urine and aids in killing harmful bacteria.

Cran-actin is a pill form concentrated cranberry juice. I’ve seen it be very effective.

Herbal Support: Use Echinacea root tincture 30-60 drops every 4 hours until symptoms are gone. Then 20 drops three times a day for 5 days.

Cranberry juice is extremely effective and has been proven in clinical trials that it is an antimicrobial agent autumn-free-wallpaper-autumn-s-cranberry-heart_2560x1600_93128-1that prevents pathogenic bacteria from adhering to the wall of the bladder. 8 ounces of unsweetened cranberry juice mixed with 8 OZ of water every 2-3 hours. You may need to continue for 4-5 days, then drinking 8 OZ once a day for three more days to insure the bacteria has subsided.

Uva-ursi is another herbs helpful in treating UTI’s . It should not be used in the first trimester and should only be used for short term use in late pregnancy(5 days or less)

Wild Yam is an antispasmodic, and reduces inflammation and pain. 30 drops 2-4 times daily if pain is involved when urinating.

Corn silk tincture can be added to any of the above. 20-30 drops 3 times a day.

Homeopathic Remedies: Cantharis 200c

Do not hold your urine. As soon as you feel the urge to go…GO.

***Please consult with your heath care provider before beginning any supplement, herbal, or exercise routine.

Resources, Thrive Birth Center Blog, Thrive Birth Talk

Bee’s Books for Birth and Beyond

resources1Put your phones down, resist the urge to look up every sensation that you have on Google and throw away “What To Expect While You’re Expecting”. The title is perfect but the information is fear based and a constant reminder of what can go wrong week by week. Google is no better! More then half of the information you look up about pregnancy is based on another mother’s experience. This can be great if you have questions about which diapers to use, but not when you are looking for medical advice. Pregnant women are already bombarded with opinions from social media, movies and the random bystander that walks up and wants to touch your belly, or better a yet a new mom who decides she needs to tell you how painful her birth was!

My point…. there is brilliant, positive inspiring information out there. Pregnancy has a sharp learning curve. There is so much you want to know, so much to prepare for. Most women have not spent years studying and researching in the ins and outs of growing a baby. So, you’ve got 9 moths to figure it out.

I want you to spend your time reading inspiring information that will get you excited about your growing belly and your upcoming birth! I encourage you to leave fear behind and and step into this pregnancy with confidence and grace. Educate your self on your body’s growing needs, learn about the normal changes in your body, understand your hormones, and prepare for the sacred moments of labor and birth!

Pick and choose from this list. You definitely don’t need to read them all.

Please don’t substitute books, Google, or your friends’ advice for good prenatal care by your Midwife or Doctor. If you have something going on that you are unfamiliar with contact your health care provider FIRST! You will save yourself from unnecessary worry and fear.

Grab a cup of tea, get cozy and enjoy the list….. Bee Lauher, L.M., C.P.M.


Pregnancy Day by Day ~ Sheila Kitzinger

Wise Woman Herbal for the Childbearing Years~ Susan Weed

Our Bodies Our Selves~ Judy Norsigian

Pregnancy, Childbirth, Newborn, The Complete Guide~ Penny Simkin

Spiritual Midwifery~Ina May Gaskin


Labor and Birth

Ina Mays Guide to Childbirth~ Ina May Gaskin

Birthing from Within~Pam England

The Birth Partner~ Penny Simkin

An Easier Birth~ Gayle Peterson

Thinking Women’s Guide to a Better Birth~ Henci Goer

The Birth Book, Everything You Need To Know To Have A Safe and Satisfying Birth~ William and Martha Sears


Diet, Nutrition & Exercise

Eating Expectantly ~Bridget Swinney

Your Vegetarian Pregnancy~Holly Roberts

Beautiful, Bountiful, Blissful~ Gurmukh

Yoga for Pregnancy~ Sandra Jourdan

Prenatal Yoga and Natural Childbirth~ Jeannine Parvati Baker



Natural ChildBirth after Cesarean Section~ Karis Crawford

Artemis Speaks: VBAC Stories~ Nan Koehler

Cesarean Recovery~Chrissie Gallagher-Mundy



After the Baby’s Birth~ Robin Lim

When Survivors Give Birth~ Penny Simkin + Phyllis Klaus

Natural Health After Birth~ Aviva Romm



Ina May’s Guid to Breastfeeding~Ina May

The Womanly art of Breastfeeding~ La Leche League

Breastfeeding Your Baby~Sheila Kitzinger


Newborn/Baby Care

The Baby Book~ Dr. William Sears

Your Amazing Newborn~Marshall and Phyllis Klaus

Nighttime Parenting~ Dr. William Sears

You Are Your Childs First Teacher~ Rahima Baldwin

Magical Child~ Joseph Chilton Pearce


Children’s Books

Baby Come Out~ Fran Manushkin

Hello Baby!~ Jenni Overend

The Twelve Gifts of BIrth~Charlene Constanzo

Nutrition, Thrive Birth Center Blog

Watermelon Cooler Recipe For Families

When it’s this hot, there is one person that Thrive staff tend to turn to~ Tessa Mancini Gillen, our lovely nutritionist, herbalist, and local foodie. If you’ve met Tessa in person, you’ll know that she always carries a large woven basket filled with homemade nutritious treats and jars of yummy hydrating juices and coolers. Yesterday, around the 93 degree peak in Santa Rosa, we reached out to Tessa to see what she was drinking. Watermelon Cooler Recipe, she says? Yes please!

Watermelon Cooler photo-2

Servings: 2

Muddle a handful of mint with the juice from one lime. In a small blender, puree two cups of cubed watermelon. Add the puree to the muddled lime/mint combo and add 1 TBS chia seeds. Add ice, and garnish with a lime wedge, slice of watermelon, or mint. Enjoy! 

*Watermelon can be cubed and frozen in advance for extra coolness! For more of Tessa’s recipes for families, check out our class or event schedule on our calendar.