Holistic Prenatal care

At Tree of Life for Healthy Birthing and Parenting, we believe that the whole woman and the entire family need to be nourished and nurtured throughout the childbearing process. Tree of Life midwives provide prenatal care in a culture of informed consent and minimal intervention with an emphasis on safe, evidence-based practice.  We work cooperatively with local obstetricians as well as holistic care providers such as chiropractors, acupuncturists and yoga instructors.  Our goal is to support all aspects of a woman and her family as she journeys through the expansive and transformative childbearing experience.


Pregnancy Circles

As part of your care at Tree of Life, you and your birthing partner will be offered the opportunity to join a circle of pregnant families with shared due months.  Our midwives will guide your group in learning basic prenatal skills such as measuring your belly as it grows, listening to your baby’s heartbeat, and taking your blood pressure.  Our role as your midwife is to facilitate group discussion of pregnancy, newborn care, and parenting, while providing all the necessary prenatal care, and addressing your questions and concerns. By sharing the life-changing experience of pregnancy and birth, a strong and genuine support network for young families is discovered.  Often, these relationships continue after the birthing experience, providing friendship and community during the initial stages of parenting and beyond.


Eating Well

A balanced, whole-food diet is essential for your health as you nourish a growing baby.  Healthy eating practices and cooking techniques learned during pregnancy carry over to positive eating habits for a young family.  During prenatal care, your Tree of Life midwives will focus on the importance of eating well during pregnancy by providing hands-on nutritional education and engaging support from the local food community.  All laboring mothers at Tree of Life Birth Center are encouraged to eat and drink throughout labor.  Families can use the birth center’s small kitchen to provide sustenance during labor and after the baby’s birth.


Movement and Music

As your baby grows, music and movement facilitates increased comfort with the rhythmic energy changes of pregnancy.  Tree of Life Birth Center has a large classroom that houses yoga, Feldenkrais, children's music and a variety of other classes.  Prenatal and mother/baby yoga classes are offered on a weekly basis.  Family-friendly musical events are organized monthly and siblings of our babies-to-be are encouraged to run and play in the vacant classroom while waiting for mother’s appointment.

As a client of our birth center, your midwives will encourage you to exercise at least 30 minutes 5 times a week.  Besides the known physiological benefits of physical activity (walking, swimming, yoga, etc,), exercise reduces stress and increases feelings of well-being.  A balanced movement regime helps prepare a woman’s body for the rigors of labour.


Preparing for Labor and Birth

At Tree of Life, we believe that preparation for labor and birth through education provides a strong foundation for a satisfying birth experience.  While we endorse and support a variety of preparation methods, two of our midwives, Susan and Brita, are Birthing From Within mentors. Six-week Birthing from Within series are offered frequently as well as a two-session Birthin’ Again class for experienced parents. Click here to access a full description of Susan and Brita's classes.


Supporting Your Breastfeeding Experience

Breastfeeding preparation, support and lactation services are an essential facet of care at Tree of Life for Healthy Birthing and Parenting.  The maternal bond and satisfaction that comes with nursing your infant is an incredible experience.   Establishing a successful breastfeeding relationship can sometimes be a challenge, and may take days to weeks.  Our board-certified lactation consultant, Catharine Chichakian LM, CPM, IBCLC, provides support and extensive breastfeeding knowledge.  Catharine draws on a deep wealth of experience from her midwifery practice with over 25 years of helping moms and babies get the healthiest start possible.  She offers breastfeeding education to prepare mothers for this incredible experience and facilitates weekly breastfeeding support groups.


Care after Baby’s Arrival

The first several weeks after your baby’s birth are an exciting and exhausting time.  Tree of Life midwives will help ease this physical and emotional transition by providing a home visit within the first 48 hours after the birth of your baby.  Postpartum care includes a comprehensive exam of mother and newborn as well as breastfeeding support and community referrals if needed.  We will see you again 1-2 weeks after birth, and at 6 weeks postpartum.  A Tree of Life midwife is always available by phone to answer questions and to address concerns.


Collaboration Within our Local Healthcare System

All Tree of Life midwives are fully credentialed providers at Scripps Memorial Hospital-Encinitas.  This means that your midwife can continue to provide care for you should a transfer from the birth center to the hospital become necessary.  During prenatal care, you will learn why and when a transfer may become necessary, and how that would be handled.  We want to establish full informed consent, so that you are fully educated in case of transfer and in all aspects of pregnancy, birth and the care we provide. 

 Collaboration with obstetricians and our local hospital is an essential tenet to our work as a community birth center.  By working within our local healthcare system, we offer seamless continuity of care to our birth center families, while working to help shift the modern medical paradigm towards a more inclusive model of maternity care which can support wider birthing options for all mothers and babies.