#199 | The Art of Spiritual Midwifery with Anna

February 8, 2023

Anna is a Swedish-practicing midwife who was professionally trained in Australia. Anna discusses her view of birth as a rite of passage and a transformational experience, and she laments the current state of the maternity system, which often leads to birth trauma for women. She talks about the desire to control every aspect of pregnancy and birth, and the importance of relinquishing to the unknown and trusting in the intelligence and expertise of the mother and baby. Anna also shares her thoughts on the role of birth in society and the need for a more holistic approach to maternity care.

This episode discusses birth trends around the world, the corporate and financial influences over birth practices, the meaning of spiritual midwifery and what it looks like in practice, and the ultimate feminine principle that birth is so often missing: Surrender.

The fact is that nature is not inherently flawed. And while it is not perfect in every instance, the pursuit in the name of safety to monitor and control every mother and baby through the birth process has led to more problems than it has prevented. Join us in this free-flowing conversation on returning to our roots and fiercely protecting the divine feminine to achieve our safest and best birth with Anna the Spiritual Midwife.  

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View Episode Transcript

Right now, what I just feel so very passionate about is to actually mentor and educate women to be spiritual midwives to walk into the system and safeguard to the best of their ability, this very broken system. As we create the new, I feel like that is what I've come to after these years of what needs to be the middle ground. Because we cannot change the system, we need to build a new one, it needs to happen, not connected to that system. And in the meantime, we need to protect women. And we need space holders that can hold and protect the space the physiological spiritual rite of passage that is birth.

I'm Cynthia Overgard, owner of HypnoBirthing of Connecticut, childbirth advocate and postpartum support specialist. And I'm Trisha Ludwig, certified nurse midwife and international board certified lactation consultant. And this is the Down To Birth Podcast. Childbirth is something we're made to do. But how do we have our safest and most satisfying experience in today's medical culture? Let's dispel the myths and get down to birth.

Hi, my name is Anna, and also known as the spiritual midwife. And I am passionate about helping women have the most empowering and physiological bath that they can have. So I'm very passionate about helping women optimize that in a system that constantly courses. The opposite to happen to women, right? So we have our maternity system right now has a right of producing women who have birth trauma, one in three women have birth trauma in our current maternity system. And I'm very upset with that, and passionate about changing that, and the birth narrative that we have in our current society. So can you tell us a little bit about your background as midwife where you were trained, where you're currently practicing where you've practiced.

So I am an Australian midwife, I'm Swedish, but I trained and lived in Australia for many years. And that's where I worked. And I have experience from both home births setting birth center setting and hospital setting in Australia. I'm currently based in Sweden. And what I do now is actually mostly coaching and educating worldwide as well as here in Sweden and I also attend births in Sweden, both in hospital and at home as a spiritual midwife. So I hold a safe and physiological space for women who want to have a natural birth, and you see the birth process as a rite of passage. And once that process to be honored and respected, and celebrated. So I'm familiar with the birth in both New Zealand and Europe. I know some of the ways in the US of how you how your maternity system is built up. And obviously, Sweden, my country that I'm from having both coached and work with women from all over the world in different countries, also having midwifery colleagues around the world. And working closely with them. I understand the system in different countries. And I think that that's what we'll start talking about today.

You mentioned that you practice as a spiritual midwife, and you help women have birth in a way that is views birth as a rite of passage. And it's a transformational experience. So can you elaborate a little bit on the spiritual experience of birth?

Well, I feel like it has been forgotten that it even has to be explained somehow. In our modern world, we see it very much from the bio medical model, the allopathic model. I've never seen it as that ever, even before I became a midwife or during my training, which was very much in the university and you know, from that biomedical model of care, I see it is a rite of passage, and I see it as a transformational event for a woman physically, obviously, but also emotionally, mentally, culturally, spiritually, her whole identity. And that is what it is, you know, a rite of passage. It's a transformational event that will alter your identity and, and I really miss in our current maternity system, even sometimes in birth centers. In the home births settings with certain practitioners, that view of birth. To see a woman as a woman, the birth process, the baby, the intelligence that they possess the expertise, and the mystery, you know, we truly don't understand the birth process, we pretend we do. But truly, we don't, it is still a mystery in so many ways. And as what I feel and see, being a spiritual midwife is someone who holds the space for the mystery. And understand that in doing so actually create a safe space for the physiology to unfold. So the less interference and the more safety and love and support I can bring in, and a grounded presence that can bring to the space, the better outcome the mother and baby will have in the birth process itself.

One of the most significant things that I see in modern maternity practice is this desire and feeling a need to control every part of pregnancy and birth. And there's rarely the discussion around surrender. There's rarely a woman or a provider just saying, We don't know. It's okay. It'll happen. It'll come when it comes, baby will come when it comes baby will turn if they're gonna turn Otherwise, they'll be born breech, it's okay. Every little piece of it, we have our hands in trying to evaluate trying to, you know, make it fit and norm. And I think that piece of surrender and trust is so under appreciated, undervalued, under discussed that women innately don't even be forgotten.

Yeah. Well, it's very much something just in our society, though, isn't it the whole thing about surrender. It's a feminine principle that is not practiced. Just throughout right. Surrender and trusting in the mystery of life itself. You know, just, I think we're very much looking to the outside for expertise in general. And the same. When we get pregnant and birthing, you're reminding me of an article I read in mothering magazine many years ago, in which the author of the article attended a medical lized birth event, I don't remember if it was related to ACOG, or what it was, but she was commenting on something one of the doctors at the podium had said he began his his talk by saying our goal is to guarantee that every woman have a safe birth and a living baby at the end. And that sounds wonderful when you read that. And I remember the discomfort, I felt reading her opposition to his position. She was saying that is simply impossible. And what I came to understand, of course, in these years of being in the field is the pursuit of that, or even the guise of the pursuit of that. And I say guys, just because of the medical model in the US being about corporations running this process in hospitals, but the pursuit of this supposedly safe outcome is exactly and precisely what's causing harm. It's exactly what's driving up mortality rates. So we speak a lot about how culture has an enormous impact on birth. And you're a really great person to talk to about this, because you have so much insight. So one thing Americans understand is that we have this this blanket belief that births are best in Europe, I think, because you do tend to top the world in having the lowest maternal maternal mortality outcomes. But what are you witnessing as far as like, what what is what could still be improved? What trends are happening that you're witnessing in the past 15, 20 years?

Well, I really feel though, that the trend is towards the American model everywhere. And yes, absolutely. Some countries, definitely a better outcomes and currently the system for sure. And I would say in our Western culture, I do see the US to having the worst system for women and babies and their outcomes and their experiences. But that doesn't mean that all other countries are good. I think overall, we're seeing an over medicalization happening. All over the world, which is also impacting women's experiences and outcomes and their babies and their families. So for example, many people don't know this, but all women birth in hospitals in Sweden, very, very few birth at home, there was publicly funded homebirths only in Stockholm, the capital, up until this year, only for second time moms. So if you're a first time mom, you you didn't get that you have to prove yourself that you could birth first prove to the patriarchy that you could birth first before you were allowed to have the publicly funded home birth. And the only reason they stopped that, and I just want to say this, because it's not just in the US where money and corporations rule, it's the same all over the world and, and in Sweden, as well. And so it was budget, it was money that killed this project that provided publicly funded homebirths for a second time months, in only Stockholm again. So today, you actually have to pay for an independent homebirth midwife. If you want to have a home birth. There's no options in Sweden. And you know, we talk about how Sweden then other countries around here, so progressive, not when it comes to maternity care. And it shows you the way you view a woman in a society the way she's treated at birth.

I couldn't agree more, we see that in our lack of Postpartum Support, you see that the mother isn't valued, you see that the baby isn't valued. If you believe that a baby can immediately go to any random person. For some women, it's got to be who knows a neighbor with five other little kids in her apartment, because she has no maternity care. It's it's it is a very loud message that that mother and that baby is not valued. I want to go back to what you said about money driving this all over the world. In the United States. It's actually a corporation with shareholders, corporations, pay out hospitals, they are run exactly like corporations, they are corporations. It's misleading to the public. Because in the 1980s, they convinced Ronald Reagan's Congress to allow them nonprofit status, and all that achieved was was to allow them not to pay federal income tax. But they're held to none of the limitations of nonprofits. So they get multimillion dollar salaries and big bonuses. And they are openly corporations with consultants and advertising. In European nations, it might have to do with money, but it's the national health care system. And they it's the government's budget that we're talking about. But the reason I view it as different is that it doesn't serve the government in Europe, when people are sick, because then they need to spend more money on making them well again. But in the United States, what drives our medical economy is either testing healthy people or treating sick people. But in Europe, doesn't the government always have the incentive for people to be well and just back out into their lives rather than keeping them in the hospital? Can you just talk about the differences between the two models? Because to sum it up by saying it's always about money, I know, there's a lot of nuance to that.

There is absolutely the systems are different. But it's still, at the end of the day. For example, what cut that homebirth program was budget was money was because it was more expensive to put two midwives in a home for a birthing woman than to have maybe one more midwife in Sweden, this is how it's been. It's changing now we're finally coming in with the continuity of care model. But that's only just beginning here. So very behind on that has it's been it's been one midwife, maybe for two, maybe sometimes three birthing women in the labor suite. And then we have nurses who help out as kind of the care that midwife can't give in the hospital system. And so it is it is driven by money. That's what I mean, that, but the model is very different. And it's not a corporate model that we're talking about seeking profits. But yes, of course, these budget cuts are going to affect women's choices. And that's the point you were making. Yes, yes. Is there anything else that we're missing that we haven't mentioned about money?

Money drives the world wherever you are. It doesn't matter what country you're in, I think just it just looks different. And, and yeah, that's the same in Australia as well. For example. Yeah, so money is a big driver for things.

Let's talk let's let's talk a little bit more about what it means to be a spiritual midwife. What is the the art of spiritual midwifery? What does that look like? And practice for you.

To me, it's truly kind of what I said in the beginning of our conversation, to view the birth process as innately wise. And nature, design is not flawed. And as a spiritual midwife, I feel like my job is to uphold the most safe space for the physiology of birth to unfold. And to also see the woman as the expert of her pregnancy and her birth experience. And for me as the space holder, the witness, and what I've come to understand what witnessing so many hundreds of birth, as I am sure you have as well, is that when you can hold a space for physiological birth. Very rarely do you need any medical skills, very rarely does things don't unfold naturally and beautifully. And that's why we see so great outcomes and home births, compared to hospital births, when it comes to that unfolding, and also a woman satisfaction after birth. You know, it's a drastic difference from being even at a natural birth in hospital, which is very, very rare. I don't know, if you see much of that in the US. You know, there's a lot that needs to go into the space holding and protection really in that space, but it's possible. But the difference from someone birthing in their own home environment, and doing so truly all by herself. The empowerment, that just the glow, and the oxytocin in the room, the release of the love hormone, you can cut it with a knife, it's so palpable, and it changes all of us, doesn't it, it makes us birth junkies.

I I've seen many of my clients have natural births in hospitals. But I have made an observation that it's a very different experience from those who have home births, or even even birthing center births, which is still a big disruption to that, that flow, it always seems like it's more of an overcome, or they are having done something despite something else, like oh, you did it, I got the birth. But that's so different from the deep, quiet and contentedness of giving birth and just lying there holding your baby. It's a very different experience.

Yeah, it's interesting that we have to, but we're in a place where we have to convince women that this is something that they can do, instead of it just being the default. This is the this is the norm, that we do it this way that we do it undisturbed that we do it physiologically that we do it in our home that we do it basically ourselves with the midwife or OB just standing by in case that there there is a problem that arises. But as Cynthia just said, it's so much more often, the woman feeling so accomplished if she actually achieves that birth outcome because it's like this uphill battle to get there.

Yes, in our current maternity system, very much so. And that's why I'm so passionate in mentoring others to be spiritual midwives to be able to hold this space for women wherever they choose to birth, you know, because we have to face it in our current system, someplace that you can't have a home birth if you don't free birth, or birth without a medical professional because that's just not your reality. And maybe as a first time mom or just any mama, you don't wish to do that. And you do want to have someone there present with you. And yeah, what does it look like to hold that space for a woman as a spiritual midwife from the day she conceives until the day her baby's born? Can you give us a little bit of detail on just how your presents as the midwife might look different than a non spiritual midwife or, or or nurse midwife or an OB?

Well, essentially a very much embodied being with woman like that is my identity. My identity is not the expert. I know I possess a lot of wisdom and embodied knowledge. But I walk alongside a woman through her pregnancy, birth and beyond. And I very deeply listen to her needs. And a big focus of mine is very much daring to look at fears and talk about anxieties and work with fear release techniques and inner journey And also, you know, talking about her birth, you know, the her mother's birth with her talking about her lineage talking about, you know, is there anything that can impact her birth experience sexual trauma, for example, is something that a lot of women do, experience, you know, I, I open a conversation and a space, a safe space to work through what needs to be worked through, to feel fully calm and confident in going into birth, and also very much educating on the physiology of birth. Like when you understand the work of the womb, and you understand how nature is designed, do a lot of fear, and anxiety and uncertainty goes away. And at the end of the day, birth is the unknown, you're always going to be fearful of the unknown. And we can't control that, as we just spoke of, it's a mystery. As soon as you have your first contraction, that is when you need to fully surrender and let go and go on that journey that birth takes you on and trust it, and have the people around you that can safeguard that space for you. But you need to let go and surrender into birth.

And how could a woman actually let go and surrender to birth in an environment where people are coming in and evaluating her every hour? Charting and writing and critiquing? And just even just the energy on their face coming in and out the door, you know, giving you that positive signal or that feeling that oh, maybe you're not meeting expectations, like how can you possibly surrender in that environment? I'm always by women who do it's so the most impressive thing is a woman who follows has a natural undisturbed physiologic birth in the hospital, who can overcome that is definitely the that's what we marvel at.

So when I mentor others to hold this space, this spiritual midwifery birth space for a woman, we may very much work on the person's own wings, and maybe fears or anxieties her own view of birth or authority or, you know, how can she become the best space holder for birth for physiological birth. And that's being actually a very fierce space holder in the birth space if you're in a hospital, because there your role will be very different than if you are in a home birth setting. With an independent midwife, it's a very different as you know, experience, and, and I can speak for myself, and what I preach is that you have to be fierce in safeguarding that woman's space. And this is something I communicate very, very clearly with my families around that, you know, we know already what we're going into, we know what she wants to decline and accept. And it'll go through me I will be that person. And I will truly safeguard that space. And you want to say some things as you were saying that and just sort of this interesting thought came into my mind that, you know, women are taking proactive steps in hospital birth to protect their space by hiring doulas. This is why so many women now want doulas at their birth. But that's still a long way away from fiercely protecting your own body and your own space. And in one interview we did, what did she say? Exactly? It was something along the lines of it doesn't matter where you give birth, who is around you what space you're in, none of that matters. If you are truly autonomous and your birth experience, if you have the ultimate trust in your body. All of that just falls away. It's harder to let it fall away. You know, you you do have to be able to block that out more. But women are often very reliant on their doula or their midwife to protect that space when they really need to take that additional step and do that extra work to be so embodied in their trust in their body's ability to birth that the doula is just sort of there as backup.

I hear what you're saying, but I don't fully agree. And the reason why is that I believe that that is ultimately Absolutely and that's what I strive for. Absolutely with any client that I have to have a full embodiment herself, but I don't think she should have to fight in birth. And that's where I offer my service to be that space holder for her. You know, I think as we mentioned to have a natural birth in hospital demand so much of the woman and maybe her partner if it's only them. And even if you truly you truly trust birth, and your body and your baby, and and trust the process. If you constantly have to decline things or protect your space He's a we'll bring you up like, that's what we that's the physiology, right? So what I mean is that what the space I hold and that I teach others to hold, is that fierce protective space where we've already before, decided what she wants or doesn't want in labor and birth. And that truly means sometimes I go in with women and their partners in decline absolutely everything. What have you because that is her? Right?

You've attended births in hospitals, right? Me? Yes.

Oh, yeah, of course. Yes.

Have you? Do you feel that your ability to hold space is impaired in a hospital? Do you feel it can still be done in a hospital? To have that reverence? Space? Yes. How can a woman do it? How can a doula do it?

So I cut all the lights, and have either little fairy lights or, or fake candles, I hide all the equipment that to the best of my ability, I push away the bed, I you know, have a mattress on the floor, or whatever I can create to have other stations around the birth space, I come in with a woman as late as possible in her birth to to decrease the time in a foreign space. Driving there, you know, we do everything to hold that space, you might have you know, glasses, like sunglasses, or blindfold and we're listening to some music or just holding a safe space, how can she do that we try to do that to the best of our ability. When we get in there, I'm the person that talks to them, midwives and nurses. And make sure that she and her partner can be in the Bible as much as possible. And I'm with them in their bubble. If I you know, we very much keep actually stuff out of the room, you know, and we invite them to sit in a corner. And we might say, you know, it's okay to listen intermittently, maybe once half an hour or, you know, whatever I communicate with the staff there about the wants and needs of the woman and she is the sole person that decides, and she has very much so done so before. And we have such a good rapport, such a deep relationship that we can read each other. And she can inform me if there's anything that she wants to change about that. And so there's very little disturbance and very much holding that sacred physiological space of very little disturbance and interference.

Right. So basically, she doesn't have to be disrupted to make these choices or make these decisions, or it's all been pre arranged prior to the birth, yes, so that you can so that you are on the forefront of that line and she can remain undisturbed. Yes.

You also remind me that ina may Gaskin always said that a woman a laboring woman and her midwife actually must love each other. And who in the world would say such a thing? Isn't that just so beautiful. But when you were describing that, and you were talking about the mutual trust between you and your client, that's what that's the feeling that I had, I said, this is what I was always talking about, there has to be love. Because there are so many analogies to sex, a woman's body can't completely relinquish without trust in sex or in childbirth. So why should it sound so extreme to say she should actually feel reciprocal love from the person who's closest to her supporting her through birth? What do you think about that?

It makes me teary, actually, when you said that you made me tear up because it's exactly that exactly that I am here to provide love and support and respect and honoring. And that is, you know, that is also taking on a client that I know I can do that for

that is the perfect ideal birth situation, what we what we've just walked through and described and that would be that is the dream for every woman to be able to have that kind of protected space and that kind of relationship. How do you go about creating that in the short amount of time that you have to get to know Him? And especially if she comes to you later in pregnancy?

Yeah, I think that, first of all, you know, like attracts like, and so the ones who are attracted to me are usually very much suited for me to assist them in that, you know, there's not there's no coincidences, you know, and so it's usually women who deeply You know themselves already have potentially a spiritual practice where meditation practice yogic practice that already are on a spiritual path because they are attracted to the, to me call the spiritual midwife, you know, someone who doesn't align with that would never contact me, you know. And so already there we have report we understand each other, many times the first conversation I have with a woman and her family, I feel like I know them.

You know, as if they were always meant to be in your life somehow, right?

Yeah, yeah. Yeah, many of them becomes good friends. You know, it feels like a really dear friend. Yeah. And I do believe that that actually is really important. You know, I don't know about you, Trisha. But during my training to become a midwife, it was very much talk about separation. You know, this is a professional relationship, you're not almost allowed to be friends. And I really struggled with that notion. And I can fully say that that's not a part of my psyche anymore. I probably was a bit influenced during my student years around that. But truly, it is the relationship and it's one of the most deepest relationships you'll ever have.

Well, in my first in, in my earliest trainings in midwifery school, we put on a white coat before we walked in the room with the patient in quotations. So that's that, that separation is immediately pronounced when you put on the white coat.

I just wanted to make a comment about what we were discussing about the difference between having a natural birth in a hospital environment and an actual birth at home. And how much harder it is to do that in a hospital environment not just because you have so much to overcome. And I always feel it's so helpful to recognize the first intervention as the leaving of the home. And the next intervention as the you know, if you take off your own clothing and put on their ridiculous gown that you don't have to wear or if they convince a woman to use a hap lock which is so ridiculous, a catheter in the hand through her birth and even if the hospital staffs argument is, but we're not attaching it to anything. It's like that's all the more ridiculous that I'm doing this but that's another intervention. It's psychological. It's physical. Well, I wouldn't want to record this podcast episode with a catheter in my hand, that would really change my experience right now. We have to start to recognize interventions as not just being Pitocin and episiotomy, ease and D sections, they begin the minute you put on a coat and leave your home. And that's not to say that birth shouldn't happen everywhere else, it's to say that it should be happening better everywhere else, it should be a different environment everywhere else to follow the model of the home birth more. So with that comment, I want to ask you, because you have so much insight and Global Insight, what changes need to happen? What would you long to see happen at the societal or governmental levels to start making birth better around the world?

Wow, independent midwifery you know, period, after our roots, yeah, we're seeing such a movement to the opposite direction, it's really actually very scary. Like my, my first initial reaction is that we can't fix a broken system, and to just leave it to die. It sounds dramatic, but um, you know, and I've had so many years of upset, you know, it's like, sure, you too, and I've come to the realization that the system is perfect the way it is, for how it's been designed. And we can't change that. And, you know, just just look at the, you know, if you just look actually at Student midwives, so many who dropped out because of the horrific feelings and traumas that experience the bullying that's going on the hierarchy in that system, just the system that traumatizes women, you know, we can't fix that system, we have to leave that system. And I think what needs to happen is independent birth centers, and midwives deciding to go out on their own in masses. And we need to get back to an apprenticeship model, and out of the universities, understand the needs the big, you know, I love that we can see so many studies done today by midwives, and there are, you know, academics in midwifery that's important. But that can be a different field, we need to be with a woman that is truly what midwifery has always been, and should be. And in my training, even though it's the medical model of care, there was a lot of talk about cultural safety and being with a woman and, you know, placing the woman as the expert, and so on and so forth. That's not translated into how it actually is practiced outside of that university. It's happening in the trainings that trying their best. But I think there needs to be radical action from consumers like the woman and the families deciding and and demanding a different birth.

I think you're I think you're absolutely right about what you said. And I see that here in my experience, too, in the in the US and midwifery school. The intention is there, and we were taught that to be a midwife is to be with woman. But exactly what you said, what's what's taught to you in class, it doesn't translate once you cross into the clinic. And that's, and I think, midwifery nurse midwifery going into the universities was a way of trying to bring midwifery to more people, and to try to help support more women having access to midwife attended bursts and being with with a woman more. But as they've been in the system for so many years, the medical system, which is much bigger than them, and they are integrated with them just keeps creeping in more and more. And it's just like this, this weight. And I mean, I saw it when I was in school, and I've been out of school for a long time. So I can't speak to exactly how it is now. But there was so much there was so much having to fight still for the principles of midwifery in what we believed in. There, it was a constant battle there. Yeah. So yes, we have to get away. Yeah, get away from all of that.

Right now, what I just feel so very passionate about is to actually mentor and educate women to be spiritual midwives to walk into the system and safeguard to the best of their ability, this very broken system. As we create the new I feel like that is what I've come to after these years of what needs to be the middle ground because we cannot change the system. We Need to build a new one it needs to happen not connected to that system. And in the meantime, we need to protect women. And we need space holders that can hold and protect the space the physiological spiritual rite of passage.

Thank you for joining us at the Down To Birth Show. You can reach us @downtobirthshow on Instagram or email us at Contact@DownToBirthShow.com. All of Cynthia’s classes and Trisha’s breastfeeding services are offered live online, serving women and couples everywhere. Please remember this information is made available to you for educational and informational purposes only. It is in no way a substitute for medical advice. For our full disclaimer visit downtobirthshow.com/disclaimer. Thanks for tuning in, and as always, hear everyone and listen to yourself.

Do you mentor doulas because I feel like that's an enormous way you could serve this. Tell me about that.

So I'm actually currently creating and developing a program spiritual midwifery program for both birth workers already, who feel like they want to both deepen their knowledge and physiological birth but especially space holding and looking at themselves what they need to do rearranging themselves to not bring fear inside his or the system. Because if you work both as a doula or a midwife in the system, it takes years to deprogram so much of the fear that the system puts into you. And then also, it's for anyone, it can be someone who's never been a doula or a midwife who wants to hold this physiological spiritual space. Obviously, it's not a medical program. It's all about the space holding. And I'm very passionate about it. It's going to be launched in May. And this is how Yes, truly, Cynthia, how I want to serve because I see that the need is there and even do less or pull this medical model and are, you know, enabling what's happening in the system and we need to change that we need to in the meantime, while we build a new system, we need safeguarding and that's going to be for years, you know, while we figure out a better system, because it's crashing Titanic.

It's not gonna work. Nope. This is where the free birth movement has come from. Yeah,

I use everything you just said. Yeah. The only thing is I would end on the word crashing and Titanic.

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About Cynthia Overgard

Cynthia is a published writer, advocate, childbirth educator and postpartum support specialist in prenatal/postpartum healthcare and has served thousands of clients since 2007. 

About Trisha Ludwig

Trisha is a Yale-educated Certified Nurse Midwife and International Board Certified Lactation Counselor. She has worked in women's health for more than 15 years.

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