My Midwife Does That

My Midwife Does That: A Spotlight on Well Woman Care

The Minnesota Birth Center is known for services to our expectant families; this includes everything from prenatal care and care during the actual birthing process to lactation services and support during the postpartum time. However, did you know we also provide services for clients who aren’t expecting? Our team of Certified Nurse Midwives offer Well-Woman Exams for new and old clients alike, regardless of whether you’ve given birth at MBC. This means having a one-on-one conversation with a Certified Nurse Midwife to talk about reproductive health, mental health, and physical health. At MBC, this is so much more than an annual exam; instead we ask the question, “How can we help you be your best?”

The waiting room at MBC-Minneapolis

Why a Well-Woman exam at the Minnesota Birth Center?

Certified Nurse Midwife Christy Anderson explains, there’s a personal connection that’s made between midwife and client at MBC, one that extends into well-women care visits. At MBC, we focus on client-centered service. Upon arrival, you’ll find a cozy, home-like environment where we’ve put thought into everything from the toys in our waiting room to the absence of those awful butt-showing gowns. The goal is to make you feel comfortable, because that’s the first step to helping you be at your best!

To make your Well-Woman appointment call us at (612) 545-5311 for our Minneapolis location or (651) 689-3988 for our St. Paul location!

Why a Midwife?

Why a midwife?

Maybe you’ve been asked this question by family members or friends. You may find that your decision to see a midwife and have an out-of-hospital birth has been questioned, maybe even challenged, as the picture of childbirth can often be painted as a painful, antiseptic hospital experience. The midwifery model of care which affirms the power and strength of women is the norm in most of the developed world and is what I believe to be a large part of the future of women’s health. As we continue to address major gaps in maternal and newborn health outcomes across the world, midwives remain a large part of the solution. My understanding of the work a midwife does has grown immensely over the recent years, and I am excited to share the knowledge I’ve obtained with you, so that when you are asked the questions, “What is a midwife?” and “Why you have chosen one?” you can confidently answer those questions.

Some people think that midwives only attend births or care for newborns. Some think they only do home births. Thankfully, awareness about midwifery in the United States is growing, and I am so happy to spread the good word! The word “midwife” means “with woman.” This is a perfect job description because midwives spend a great amount of their time working with women and birthing people. Some midwives find their identity lies within that magical moment of “catching” babies; whereas others focus their careers on providing care for women in other ways, such as outpatient-based women’s healthcare (infertility, menopausal care, lactation etc.) or serving as educators. You’ll find midwives everywhere–in the hospital, in the clinic, and providing care in the home and at birth centers like MBC! Midwives watch women grow into adolescence, care for them through motherhood, and can provide care through menopause as well.

Midwives are committed to listening, comforting, educating and supporting as they walk alongside women. As I learned more and more about the great work of midwives, I began to reconnect with my long-lived desire to work with and care for women, as it has always been a great desire of my heart to work alongside women, empower and support them and basically be “with woman”. After many years of working with a male-dominated population at the VA medical center and finding great value in that, I still felt unfulfilled and knew that I needed to listen to my heart. I finally allowed my spirit to guide me, as I applied for the midwifery program at Bethel. I was accepted and now I am on my journey towards becoming a midwife! The thought fills my heart and gives me great purpose.

Toni Estis is an MBC Clinic Nurse and Birth Assistant and is currently pursuing her dream to become a midwife. She loves answering the question “Why a midwife?” to anyone who asks. 

Why we love skin-to-skin

Let’s face it… there are just some things you can’t do over again, but if you could…you would! For me, that’s my story around the topic of Skin-to-Skin Mother/Baby Care (SSC).  I’ve seen many changes in Mother-Infant care in 33 years on a professional level. My values, when it comes to lactation and infant care practices today, can be boiled down to one seemingly simple but an oh-so-powerful moment: when mommy’s skin meets baby’s skin. I unabashedly I have told many patients “I can’t have my kids over again but I can tell you about skin to skin.”

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In 2012, I returned from a conference where the topic of conversation was encouraging moms to let the baby lie on her chest and watch the “magic” of the baby crawl happen. There are many names for this position, but the bottom line is that our instincts as mammals activate the baby’s reflexes and breastfeeding attachment. I noticed that not only did placing babies skin-to-skin help increase mothers’ milk supplies but it seemed to help babies recover from the process of birth.

The roots of SSC are extremely important for understanding the currently known benefits. In 1978 in Bogota, Columbia, doctors were desperate for a solution to inadequate numbers of incubators and caregivers for babies. Dr. Edgar Rey Sanabria suggested mothers have continuous SSC with their low weight babies to keep them warm and to exclusively breastfeed. Not only did the babies thrive but they were discharged early. SSC was born (some pun intended)! Doctors published their results in 1979, and coined the term “Kangaroo Mother Method”. This concept quickly caught on and it was soon introduced to countries all around the world.

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A conference in 2013 on Skin-to-Skin Mother/Baby Care further explained why SSC was so important for mother and baby. Dr. Nils Bergman had come from South Africa to lecture on the neuroscience behind skin-to-skin. After this lecture I walked away committed to heralding the benefits of SSC. In a nutshell, the mother’s chest is the perfect place for the baby to thrive. The heart rate, respirations, blood sugar level and oxygen levels will become stable. In addition to this, gestation continues outside of the womb, things like maturation of the gut for digestion occurs, all because of skin-to-skin. This made it obvious to me that skin-to-skin was more than just cuddling.

I began to think about my own children and wish I could have known these things when they were born; they would have benefitted and so would I. I wish I could do it again and see if my engorgement would not have happened. I wish I could see if my depression would have been better. Of course I’ll never know if they would have handled stress better or had better ACT scores. My questions are endless, but I can now give expectant mothers some specifics I wish I would have known regarding skin-to-skin care.

Skin-to-Skin Mother/Baby Care is a tool that can be used for many different reasons. SSC can be your first line of defense if the infant’s temperature is low. Next to breast stimulation, SSC helps to boost milk supply. Looking to calm down a fussy baby? Place them skin-to-skin!! This important tool is available to all parents and their new babies.

For more information:

Kate Melms is an MBC Clinic Nurse and Birth Assistant, an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant, and a Craniosacral Therapist in training. 




  • Bergman, Nils. (2014). The neuroscience of birth – and the case for Zero Separation. Curationis. 37. 1. 10.4102/curationis.v37i2.1440.
  • Feldman, R., Rosenthal, Z., Eidelman, A.I. (2014) Maternal-Preterm Skin-to-Skin Contact Enhances Child Physiologic Organization and Cognitive Control Across the First 10 Years of Life, In Biological Psychiatry, Volume 75, Issue 1, 2014, Pages 56-64, ISSN 0006-3223,
  • “Kangaroo Care.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation,
  • Richardson, H. (1998) Kangaroo Care: Why Does It Work? Midwifery Today, Issue 44, Winter 1998.