Meet Birthmarks: 2015 Natural Birth and Baby Sponsor

Meet Birthmarks: 2015 Natural Birth and Baby Sponsor

Birthmarks wants to help you find your tribe!  They have a passion for bringing like-minded individuals together to receive multiple services relating to a holistic approach to health, life, pregnancy and birth in their beautiful facility.  More than anything, their goal is to create a sense of community and support for the families they serve.

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Meet Barefoot Birth: 2015 Natural Birth & Baby Expo Sponsor

Meet Barefoot Birth: 2015 Natural Birth & Baby Expo Sponsor

Tampa Bay Birth Network is pleased to welcome back this long-time partner and sponsor.   Says Charlie Rae, "A large part of birth work is advocacy and the birth network has done an exemplary job of just that in our communities. The network is made up of professionals who not only care about education and community, but also about each other and the clients we serve."

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Polk County Birth Network

Polk County Birth Network

This new endeavor has been in the works for several weeks, due to an ever growing need for birth advocacy in our community and it is finally ready to roll out. We are very excited to share and announce the launch of the new Polk Count BirthNetwork headed up by Chapter Leader, Sarah Wingrove!  

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Community Partner: Birthmarks Maternity

Community Partner: Birthmarks Maternity

Welcome, new community partner, Birthmarks Maternity, where their mission is to honor the natural process of pregnancy and birth by serving women and families with a central source of holistic pregnancy, birth, and early parenting resources in a community of caring experts. 

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Birth Story Healing, A Different Way to Revisit Your Birth Story

Birth Story Healing, A Different Way to Revisit Your Birth Story

A woman’s experience of giving birth and becoming a mother is a powerful transformational journey. Birth is a life event that tests a woman’s physical and inner resources. In some instances, childbirth goes beyond the expected intensity, and a mother is left with unanswered questions and feelings of disappointment, deep sadness, regret, anger, blame or guilt about the events surrounding the birth of her baby.

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The Peaceful Birth Project, Peaceful Birth & Peaceful Parenting

The Peaceful Birth Project, Peaceful Birth & Peaceful Parenting

Pregnancy, birth and motherhood can be some of the most exciting, challenging and confusing times in a woman's life. Sometimes we feel disappointed, hurt or alone. We have all heard the phrase "It takes a village to raise a child" but our modern style of life does not often provide the woman-to-woman support that we may have had in simpler times. 

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Empowered Birth: Do You Know Your Options?

Empowered Birth: Do You Know Your Options?

As part of its ongoing mission to serve the greater Tampa Bay community, TBBN is pleased to offer free, public seminars on understanding care and delivery options in childbirth.  "We believe that knowledgeable women are empowered women," said Tampa Bay Birth Network president, Christie Collbran. "When parents-to-be are presented with facts in a low-pressure environment, they're able to imagine their child's birth and make the best choices for themselves."

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It's Time to Get on the Bus!

This is a guest blog post from TBBN Community Partner, Barefoot Birth.

We are ecstatic to finally announce that after several bumps in the road the Barefoot Bus is going to be up and rolling!!!

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The bus is getting stocked, checked over, test driven and spruced up in preparation! Many, many hours of hard work and sweat have gone into the bus and we are so ready to have it on the road! 

Thanks to our super successful crowd funding last year and some VERY generous private donations- we have been able to finish the bus and have it ready to meet our new families! 

If you are not familiar with our project you can read all about it hereherehere, and here

Our final logistical task, which has proved to be the real patience-tester, is having the bus wrapped with our sponsor's logos. We are hoping that will be done in the next few weeks! 

We have partnered with the University Area Community Development Corporation in Tampa to bring the Barefoot Bus into their community-in-need starting Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014, and continuing each and every Wednesday going forward! For those who do not know, the UACD serves the University Area Community, where high crime, poverty and a lack of basic resources has plagued the area for decades.


Of those served, 95 percent are below poverty level. They work to improve the economic, educational and social levels of the community through youth programs, adult education and resource assistance. Funds provided through grants, private contributions and public appropriations help residents participate in most programs free of charge. We could not have asked to find a more perfect partner in our mission to bring quality care to ALL families. 

We will be seeing Medicaid and sliding scale clients on the bus in front of the UACDC, adjacent to their awesome playground, which serves as a lovely reprieve for families as mamas are seen for their visits. This central location provides for heavy foot traffic and ease of commute via public transportation if necessary. We are within minutes of the University of South Florida campus as well to serve any students who may find themselves uninsured or in need of referrals to other community resources. 

We will be seeing clients each Wednesday from 9am-5pm for the first few weeks and extended hours may be implemented based on community need. 

Everyone is welcome for care regardless of insurance status or ability to pay. We will offer care on a sliding scale and help families who qualify apply for Medicaid. 

A very special thank you to everyone who has supported this project and stood behind us as we all worked hard to get everything in motion. We are looking forward to loving on lots of mamas and serving families right in their community. Everyone deserves a healthy pregnancy, beautiful birth and most of all to be respected throughout the entire process.

Thank you for believing in us and making this a reality for so many! 

Love and gratitude, 
The Barefoot Family 

How to find the Barefoot Bus: 

Address: 14013 North 22nd Street, Tampa Florida 33613 

From the South: Head North on I-275 to the Fletcher exit. Turn right onto Fletcher Avenue and proceed to North 22nd Street. Turn left on 22nd and go 1/2 mile until you see the University Area Community Center (UACC), marquee and turn right into UACDC entrance.

From the North: Head South on I-275 to the Bearrs exit. Turn left onto Bearrs Avenue and proceed to North 22nd Street. Turn right on 22nd and go 1/2 mile until you see the University Area Community Center marquee and turn left into UACDC entrance.

Contact 813.944.9120 or email us via our contact form here for more information or to schedule an appointment. 


This blog post originally appeared here and is reprinted with permission.

“I wish I could…” Facing the Spousal Objection

“I wish I could have a home birth but my partner won’t have it!"

My ears perk up whenever I hear a woman say that she CANNOT ____ (fill in the blank) because her partner opposes it, is not on board or not comfortable with her wishes. In the case of a pregnant woman it often has to do with birthing out-of-hospital. She will say that she must have her partner’s support even if it means not having the birth she envisions.

I find “The Spousal Objection” fascinating. 

When a woman knows herself and makes decisions from her deep knowing, her partner will support her. That support might not look the way either one expected. The people in our life respond to what they perceive energetically from us, not to our words. When we are apprehensive, they want to protect us. When we are empowered, we all grow from the experience regardless of the outcome.

By allowing a partner to make a life changing decision for us, we give our power away and postpone facing our true self. We also deprive ourselves and our partner from experiencing life in all its blissful, sometimes messy, unpredictable fullness.

It is important to address the birth partner’s feelings. Is this the partner’s apprehension OR the woman’s apprehension being reflected to her?

When a woman knows herself she will not hide behind her partner’s apprehension; she’ll face it with compassion and determination. Life and birth are about personal responsibility. Whenever a woman owns her power we all gain.


If you are facing THE Spousal Objection consider these four steps:

1.  Ask yourself:

Is this person/situation bringing something up for my own healing (e.g., codependency, using my voice, any form of abuse)?

Do I have any fears about childbirth?

What experiences have I had that influence how I view birth (e.g., cesarean, abortion, miscarriage, traumatic birth, traumatic childbirth, rape, sexual abuse)?

How do I feel about my body’s ability to give birth?

How do I feel about becoming a mother?

Am I willing to accept the responsibility that comes with being pregnant, giving birth and becoming a parent?

Am I willing to take full responsibility for my decisions?

2.  Set aside time to talk with your birth partner about the upcoming birth:

What are your partner’s expectations, fears and hopes for this birth?

What are yours?

How do you envision their support?

How does your partner feel about seeing you in pain?

If either of you have birthed before, take turns sharing your memory of past childbirth experiences. Childbirth can be an overwhelming and sometimes traumatic experience for a birth partner as well. If something did not go as expected, your partner might have strong feelings that need to be addressed.

3.  Sit with your partner and make a list of all of their objections. No need to explain, just make a list.

4. In private, sit with this list and reflect on each item as if these were your own objections.

What did you discover?

Pregnancy, birth and parenting provide a unique opportunity for transformation, individually and as a couple. No one can meet a partner’s needs perfectly 100% of the time. Your partner might prefer not to participate in the labor as your main support. You might prefer to hire a labor support person to help during the birth or make other arrangements that honor and support YOUR Birth Wisdom.

We all bring ourselves to the birthing room; every person who is in the presence of a laboring woman needs to be there to support HER decisions and contribute in a positive way to the laboring woman’s efforts.

When it’s time to push your baby out of your body, the only person required to be present at your birth is YOU!

“Being pregnant and giving birth are like crossing a narrow bridge. People can accompany you to the bridge. They can greet you on the other side. But you walk that bridge alone.” African Proverb

Dr. José Gorrín, an obstetrician/gynecologist from San Juan, Puerto Rico is my favorite example of "The Spousal Objection." He shared his transformation with the Orgasmic Birth website.

“I have been an obstetrician/gynecologist in both private and academic practice since 1973. When I married Ana, also a physician, we talked about having a baby, but she insisted that she have a home birth; she was never going back to a hospital to have a baby. I was not sure about that, I had never been to a home birth.

When Ana was pregnant she presented me with tons of information, videos, scientific evidence, and testimonies from the midwife she chose for the birth. I was impressed with the strength of her resolve.

When Ana Sofía was born, my life changed forever.

I had never seen a natural birth in over 25 years in this field! I thought I had been practicing humanized obstetrics, but was I wrong! Ana Sofía is now 10, and in this decade I have reinvented myself. I am a birth activist, and dedicate my efforts to changing the system for reproductive health care in my country. I want my daughters, and all Puerto Rican women to give birth in a safe, humanized environment where having a baby will no longer be an act of violence against women.”  

**Clearing and releasing any energy trapped in your mind-body system will open the space needed for peaceful birth and conscious parenting.  I offer Transformational Mentoring services to guide you and your partner navigate these questions.

PS– If you can, don’t wait till you are pregnant to do this work!

Have you faced The Spousal Objection in any area of your relationship? Leave me a comment.

Evelyn Ojeda is a mother’s mentor, healer and gatherer of women. Her intention is to provide a safe, supportive and nurturing community for women to cultivate their inner wisdom and THRIVE in their mother-woman journey!!  Her Transformational Mentoriing Method weaves together the very best of her training and experience.  She believes pregnancy and birth are healthy, natural and normal body functions. When peaceful and undisturbed, women find their own rhythm and give birth with power and dignity. Birth is an opportunity for spiritual and emotional transformation.  This post originally appeared on her blog at

Acupuncture and Pregnancy


Acupuncture is a safe, comfortable and cost effective treatment to help women have healthy pregnancies and dispense with many of the problems that commonly develop.  Each trimester brings its own joys and discomforts, from fatigue and morning sickness to breastfeeding challenges and baby blues. Acupuncture offers a whole new approach for many women. Here are some of the most common questions I’m asked about acupuncture and pregnancy.

Is acupuncture safe during pregnancy?

Yes. Florida’s licensed acupuncture physicians are trained to know which acupuncture points are helpful during pregnancy and which points should be avoided. There are certain points on the hands and shoulders and around the lower leg, ankle and lower back that are contraindicated during most of pregnancy. Acupuncture and Chinese medicine evolved over thousands of years and through their methods provided care to many pregnant women. In fact, many of us specialize in caring for women through pregnancy and women's health generally. Acupuncture is the most well known technique used in the practice of Chinese medicine; other methods include herbal medicine, massage, food therapy and even meditation.

What conditions can acupuncture help with during pregnancy?

For many women acupuncture helps them connect with the joys of pregnancy and eases the discomforts. Difficulties helped managed with acupuncture and Chinese medicine include morning sickness, back pain, ligament pain, premature cervical ripening, preeclampsia (pregnancy-induced hypertension), fatigue, heartburn, constipation and gestational diabetes.  Don’t wait! If you want to get pregnant and experienced these problems in earlier pregnancies, you may be able to avoid repeating them by beginning with acupuncture and Chinese medicine care before you get pregnant. Some of the conditions I’ve helped mamas manage and recover from include:

  • Fatigue
  • Stress, anxiety and emotional issues
  • Morning sickness
  • Heartburn
  • Constipation
  • Hemorrhoids
  • Headaches
  • Back pain and sciatica
  • Edema
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
  • Rhinitis and sinus congestion
  • Breech and malpresentation
  • Labor prep and cervical ripening
  • Labor
  • Postpartum vaginal discharge
  • Baby blues and postpartum depression
  • Mastitis
  • Insufficient or excessive lactation
  • Post-operative healing  

When should I start and how often should I go?

If you are already pregnant, it’s a good idea to see an acupuncturist as soon as possible to help temper morning sickness and other common first-trimester symptoms. In a healthy pregnancy with minimal complaints, you may only need acupuncture every other week or once a month as a tune up, to ensure that things are balanced and flowing smoothly.  In addition, pre-birth treatments are an ideal time to safely treat many other pregnancy complaints such as heartburn and hip pain. It is also the perfect time to ensure baby is in the best possible position for an easy journey.

If you experienced pregnancy loss in the past, more frequent treatments may be recommended, especially during the first trimester. This is so that you get the sustained support required to keep your body healthy and strong over the course of your pregnancy. Toward the end of any pregnancy, at about week 37, your acupuncturist may suggest coming in more often to help prepare you for labor.

Can acupuncture help induce labor?

Acupuncturists don’t do labor induction—that’s a biomedical treatment. Though we CAN help you build endurance, rest and prepare for labor. Stress is one of the biggest factors that women battle during pregnancy, labor and delivery. Acupuncture can help significantly with reducing stress and anxiety in these moments.  Acupuncturists who specialize in women’s health can  provide treatment to prompt cervical ripening by helping to regulate hormones, calm the sympathetic nervous system and improve blood flow to the uterus and supporting ligaments.  Acupuncture helps you keep the oxytocin - adrenaline balance in check, remain calm and steady and ready for a smooth labor and birth. It is much easier to prepare your body for labor when you’re not working against the ticking clock of your medical-induction appointment. 

Should I keep getting acupuncture after I deliver?

Acupuncture as after-care for new moms is really important. Fatigue and depression are common symptoms after delivery. Regular acupuncture and moxibustion are great for helping moms recover and regain their strength after giving birth. Acupuncture can also help moms who’ve delivered babies by cesarean manage their pain, recover more easily and promote bonding and breastfeeding with their little one. 

Where do I find an acupuncturist?

  • National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine is the registry of practitioners who maintain their national credentials and board certification: select for more info or visit
  • Florida's Department of Health Professional Licensing: follow this link or go to
  • Community Acupuncture clinics offering affordable, sliding scale fees: click here or check out

Gururas Khalsa, AP, DOM is a community acupuncturist and herbalist.  She’s the founder of Seminole Heights Community Acupuncture in Tampa. Gururas is a Kundalini yoga instructor and teaches at Sweetwater Organic Farm. For the last five years Gururas has trained to be a midwife supporting moms and midwives in birth center, hospital and home settings in Utah and Massachusetts. She’s a toLabor trained doula and is working on credentials to become a Lamaze childbirth educator. Gururas is a native Floridian and has returned to Tampa Bay after living in New England for the last 29 years. She’s a graduate of the New England School of Acupuncture, the oldest graduate school for Chinese Medicine in the US, and a USF graduate.

Don't Ask, Just Do

How often do we give authority to other people when it rightfully belongs to us?

My friend -- the one who had a cesarean for her second baby (breech) and whose third baby was breech until a successful ECV -- had her third baby several weeks ago. It was a precipitous labor, and she made it to the hospital just minutes before her baby was born. I was hoping to drive out for the birth, but when she called me in the middle of the night with contractions that were 1-2 minutes apart,I knew there was no way I'd make the 3-hour drive before her baby was born.


She told me me her story later on that day and a few things jumped out at me. Once she made it to the birth room, the nurse said, "now let's get you on the monitor." She said, "no way!" and went to the bathroom, where her water broke with a dramatic gush . She started feeling really pushy, so she headed back into the room. The nurse said, "let's get you on the bed." She said, "no way, I'm lying down!" Instead, she grabbed a Chux pad, knelt on the floor next to the bed, and pushed her baby out a few minutes later.

I was present when she had her second (breech) baby. She went into labor when the one OB who did vaginal breeches was out of town, so she knew she was heading for a cesarean. She labored for several hours at the hospital before consenting to the surgery. During that time, if she didn't want to be on the monitors, she'd simply unplug herself and march into the bathroom. When she was done laboring in the bathroom, she'd go plug herself back in, standing up and swaying next to the bed. She didn't ask permission to get off the monitors--she just did it. Because of her "I know what I'm doing; don't mess with me!" attitude, the nurses didn't bother her.

This is the same woman who, during her first birth, gave birth kneeling.It was the first time her OB had ever seen an upright birth. My friend had tried to lie down as requested but found it impossibly painful, so she got up on her knees and stayed there. She would have preferred to give birth standing up, but knelt as a concession to the OB, who was nonplussed enough as it was with my friend's unconventional birth position.

How many times have we read stories where laboring women weren't "allowed" to get out of bed, where the nurses wouldn't "let" them get off the monitors, or where the doctor said they "had" to lie down to push and couldn't change positions? This has happened to many, many people I know both personally and through my blog.

I don't want to minimize the enormous power institutional and medical authority have over laboring women. Nor am I implying that it was a failure of the individual laboring woman when she was told she couldn't do x or yNot at all


What if we simply stopped asking permission? What if we simply did what we wanted to? What if the mantra of laboring women became "don't ask, just do"?

Don't ask if you can eat or drink. Just do it. Don't ask if you can get out of bed or walk around or go to the bathroom. Don't ask if you can change positions or give birth kneeling or squatting. Just do it. 

Do it with confidence. Do it with an "I know what I'm doing, and please don't mess with me!" attitude.

Just do it.

Let's joinDr. Michelle Harrison's vision of a new womanly revolution, from her book A Woman in Residence:

"I used to have fantasies at Doctors Hospital about women in a state of revolution. I saw them getting up out of their beds and refusing the knife, refusing to be tied down, refusing to submit – whether they are in childbirth or when they were forty and having a hysterectomy for a uterus no longer considered useful. Women’s health care will not improve until women reject the present system and begin instead to develop less destructive means of creating and maintaining a state of wellness."

Dr. Rixa Freeze has a longstanding personal and professional interest in childbirth, maternity care, breastfeeding, and women’s issues. Learn more about about her and read the original post of this blog.