Offering midwifery care
homebirth and waterbirth options

BirthWise offers natural birth options with certified, licensed midwives with over 20 years combined experience. As a client of BirthWise, you will experience individualized care based on shared-decision making in all aspects of your pregnancy, birth, postpartum and newborn care. 

The midwives at BirthWise provide a level of personal attention and quality of care that is unparalleled in the modern maternity system. Our goal is to ensure women know all the options available to them and to be able to make informed, confident decisions. We are midwives who listen compassionately, communicate options, support your choices and respond to your questions and concerns. 

We invite you to come visit us, ask questions and explore all of your options! 

Why BirthWise​

Midwifery care offers the safest birthing options for low risk moms and their babies. 
We are highly experienced midwives in the community providing home and water birth options.

CASCADE OF MEDICAL INTERVENTIONS

Shifts the balance of power from woman to hospital. It is uncomfortable, cold and she may be concerned about modesty with the open back of the gown not intended for walking around in.

The #1 reason for births ending in cesarean section, often done because of suspected “big baby”, past the “due date”, or provider or client convenience. Does not increase safety for mom or baby if there was no actual medical need for the induction.

This type of monitoring keeps the mother immobile in bed. The use of EFM is not evidence-based, and has no effect in improving outcomes for babies. The only effect continuous monitoring has had is that it has increased the cesarean section rate.

IVs restrict a woman’s mobility and makes it easy to administer fluids and medications that interfere with natural birth. IV’s are uncomfortable and give the impression that a laboring woman is ill or unhealthy.

The use of Pitocin makes labor more painful and more difficult for the baby to tolerate. Studies show that Pitocin use may contribute to postpartum hemorrhage and may interrupt bonding with baby, also contributing to postpartum depression.

Because contractions are so unnaturally intense with Pitocin, the mother will often choose to receive an epidural for pain relief.

Epidurals keep a woman confined to bed for the duration of the labor and birth, literally unable to feel or move her body from the waist down.

Epidurals tend to slow or stop contractions, resulting in the need for increasing dosages of Pitocin to keep the labor advancing which leads to greater risk of stress to the baby.

The epidural interferes with the woman’s ability to push effectively and in a timely enough fashion for OB time limits and often leads to a c-section due to “cpd” or “too big of baby”.

Reduced blood pressure from the epidural combined with Pitocin induced, unnaturally hard contractions and lack of blood flow to the baby will cause the baby to go into distress.

After having exhausted all the tools at the obstetrician’s disposal, the cesarean section is the only one that remains. (women sometimes say “thank goodness I was in the hospital because my baby was in distress and I needed a cesarean section” not realizing the cascade of interventions that led up to this “need”.)

ASCENT TO A NATURAL BIRTH

Keeps the balance of power neutral. You feel comfortable, safe and relaxed; free to walk and move without having to feel concerned about modesty.

The #1 reason for births resulting in a normal vaginal birth. When women go past their anticipated due date, a close assessment of mom’s and baby’s well-being and awaiting spontaneous labor is the safest approach in most instances.

Allows mom to be in any position or place she desires, including in the shower or birth tub; allows us to monitor the health of baby safely and without disruption. Intermittent monitoring is an evidence-based practice and should be used regularly in all settings where mom is planning a natural birth.

Women are encouraged to drink fluids and to nourish their hard working bodies with food while in labor. This keeps energy up, blood sugars normal, helps cope with labor sensations, and helps her body to work efficiently. Mobility is not restricted.

No arbitrary time limits. Labor will happen in its own time. Every woman and every labor is different and we will encourage the things that keep a woman and her labor strong and healthy throughout this time such as: movement, rest, hydration, nourishment and support.

Use of water, freedom of movement, massage and continuous support throughout will get a woman through a natural labor.

Most women will walk, lean, sway, and change positions to attain continued comfort in labor. They are in control, and not restricted by cords, wires or monitors.

When labor starts on its own, in its own timing, and a woman is encouraged to eat, drink, move, listen to her body and no arbitrary time limits are given, labor progresses.

Women feel the urge to push and when and how to push on their own. They are able to help in the efforts of pushing their babies out very effectively!

The best chance for a baby to stay healthy and strong during labor is to let the process unfold as naturally as possible without medications. All of the medications commonly used in labor have the potential to affect the health of the baby.

A healthy and alert baby is born into his mother’s arms, able to bond and breastfeed. Mom is empowered and alert and in love with all the natural hormones surging through her body. Unmedicated birth reduces risk of postpartum complications and postpartum depression , breastfeeding success increases, and families report increased happiness and satisfaction.

Hear From Our Clients

HEAR MORE STORIES ON OUR INSTAGRAM PAGE

BirthWise Team

We are midwives who listen compassionately, communicate options,

support your choices, respond to your questions,

and trust in the pregnancy and birth process.

JILL COULTER

CPM / LM

I have been lucky to have a full career as a midwife and have been honored to help welcome over 1000 babies into their families throughout the years. In 2004 I began my career as a midwife in a independent home birth practice. In 2008 I opened the first freestanding birth center in northeast Wisconsin and attended both home and birth center births. In 2019 Sara and I joined together as a partnership midwifery home birth practice. We enjoy the many benefits a practice with two midwives offers, and know that our clients benefit from both of our different personalities and expertise. Being a midwife for me is about the whole process and not just about catching a baby at the end. The absolute safest option is when we provide individualized care, build trusting relationships and provide support for women and families throughout this incredible journey. When I am not helping women grow and birth their babies, I enjoy working out, traveling and keeping busy with my own 4 children.

SARA HANSMAN

CPM / LM

I started my journey into midwifery as a doula and attended my first birth in 2011. In October of 2014 I joined the BirthWise practice as a student midwife and in February of 2016 I received my CPM credential and became a Wisconsin Licensed Midwife. I am the mother of four children, 1 girl and 3 boys and wife to a very supportive husband. My personal birthing experiences have all been unique and I understand how essential it is to be informed and supported in the choices one makes when entering parenthood. I am thrilled to be working with all of the clients at BirthWise and I look forward to helping you through this special time in your lives.

 

Our Services

Boy or girl? Find out as early as 8 weeks with a simple blood test that has a  99.1% accuracy rate. You do not need to be a client of BirthWise for this service.

Cost $130 (BirthWise clients receive a $30 discount)

Deciding where you plan to birth is important. We invite you to come meet with the midwives! This free 30-minute consultation is an opportunity to learn about midwifery care, birth outside the hospital, insurance/billing and to ask questions you may have so you can decide if this is the right option for you. Come find out what makes midwifery care the best option for healthy pregnant women!

Our prenatal care follows the same schedule of pregnancy providers everywhere – we see you monthly until your third trimester, every 2 weeks until you are 36 weeks, and weekly until you birth your baby. Prenatal visits are an hour long for most of your pregnancy, which gives you and your midwife time to get to know each other, to talk about your questions and concerns without feeling rushed. We plan for one prenatal home visit around 36 weeks which gives us an opportunity to find your home and familiarize ourselves with your space, and includes a regular prenatal visit at that time. You will have access to the same blood tests, labs and ultrasounds that are typically offered during pregnancy. After you have had an opportunity to learn about each lab test or procedure offered, you will be able to make informed choices around what is needed for you individually. You are a partner in your care. Prenatal visits are for the whole family – we love to have partners involved, as well as children and other family members.

The care offered in a home birth setting is very different than care offered in other settings. We come to you! Your birth team arrives at your home while you are in labor, and stays until you and your newborn are safely tucked into bed. Giving birth at home can be an incredible and empowering experience for the whole family. Staying in your home eliminates the need for a drive in labor and the discomfort and disruption that can bring, and allows you to be in the space where you are most comfortable and familiar. If families desire a water birth, we have resources for portable birth pools available to set up in your home.

Midwives bring personalized care into your labor and birth. As midwives we will communicate with you in early labor, and stay with you throughout your active labor and birth. We will monitor your baby and your vital signs, however, this is just a small part of what we offer. As your labor progresses the midwives will provide support and suggestions where needed, and sometimes just help create a calm supportive presence to help you through this experience.

Midwives bring many important skills with them to birth – all birth staff are trained in neonatal resuscitation and emergency management.  We carry medications to manage bleeding, IV fluids, antibiotics, Vitamin K and eye prophylaxis for your newborn if desired. We have the skills to suture a tear or wound following the birth and offer or refer for other treatments as needed.

Your baby will go to you immediately after the birth, and remain undisturbed, skin-to-skin, for as long as possible. We will assess your newborn without disrupting those essential first moments of bonding. Most babies will breastfeed within an hour or two of birth and we can assist you in this with support and patience. We provide a head-to-toe newborn examination and communicate what we are doing as we complete your baby’s first check-up.

Once everyone is settled, we will help you to tuck in to bed to rest. Your midwife will call you to check-in the day following the birth, and to schedule your home visit within 24-48 hours of the birth. In addition, your midwives at BirthWise are just a phone call away, should a need or concern arise for yourself or your newborn.

Your postpartum and newborn care begins immediately after the birth, and continues through the following 6 weeks.  Every family birthing with us receives a home visit from a midwife within 48 hours of birth, with further home visits available as needed. We see you in our office three more times, at about one week, two weeks, and a final visit at six weeks, which can include a full physical exam and an opportunity for a pap. Much like our prenatal visits, these visits include physical care of both mother and newborn, but much of the visits focus on your family’s transition as you welcome your new baby. We offer extensive breastfeeding assistance, many opportunities for families to talk about their birth experience, space for new mothers to process through the physical and emotional changes that come with having a newborn, nutritional support and education, information about child spacing and family planning… the list goes on!

For newborns, win the first week we will complete and file a birth certificate and social security card, offer metabolic screening, a hearing test, weight checks as needed or desired, assessment of jaundice, and screening for congenital heart disease; in the remaining five weeks of care we offer continued assessment of the normal healthy newborn, with encouragement that you establish care with a well-baby care provider in addition to our care following the birth.

Placenta encapsulation and water birth pool rentals are available for both clients and non-clients of BirthWise. 

Placenta Encapsulation: $150

Waterbirth Pool rental: $100-$125 (BirthWise clients receive a $25 discount and get priority with tub rental availability)

 

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

If you are newly pregnant or researching your options about midwifery care or home birth, we are sure you have questions! Here are some more commonly asked ones:

Yes, home birth is safe. If you are a low risk pregnant mom and want a natural birth, having a midwife and choosing a home birth is a great option. As midwives we want a safe birth for you and your baby. We carry emergency equipment such as oxygen, suction, resuscitative equipment, medications for postpartum bleeding management and IV’s. If a need arises to transfer to the hospital at any time during or after your birth, we will come with you to maintain support and continuity of care.

Educating yourself about pregnancy, labor and birth and postpartum and newborn care is important. You can do this by communicating with us at your prenatal visits, taking a childbirth education class, or by reading books and searching the internet. Feeling educated about birth will help remove a lot of the fear about it and will provide you with tools and ideas on how to cope. In a home birth you will have the freedom of movement, to eat and drink, and have one on one support from your midwife which makes coping with labor much easier. Having the option of laboring or birthing in water is also an excellent way to decrease the discomfort in labor and help you get through it.

We will provide you with a short list of items to have on hand that help keep your space and environment clean at the time of birth. Afterward, we will clean and tidy everything up- the only evidence of your home birth will be a baby in your arms!

After your baby is born, we will complete the necessary vital records paperwork for your child’s birth certificate and have you sign for a social security card to be issued.

Many insurance companies will cover a home birth. When you come to care, we will provide you with a detailed insurance billing packet and will help figure out what insurance will cover.

APPLETON

GREEN BAY

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