How to Help Baby Settle into an Optimal Position for Birth

There is a lot to think about during pregnancy. From the foods we eat, exercises we do, additional vitamins we take and all the stuff in between. On a recent visit to Sisters Midwifery I asked, “What can I do to help keep baby in an optimal position for birth?”

Here are their suggestions:

  • Sit up Straight - Don’t Slouch. Keep an upright back by sitting on the front of your sitz bones and not back on your sacrum. Use pillows if needed to help keep yourself from leaning back.

  • Do Pelvic Tilts or Cat/Cow – These exercises make pregnancy more comfortable and can help baby swing to the anterior.

  • Use an Exercise Ball – This helps with balance and posture, which can influence the fetal position. When sitting on an exercise ball make sure your hips are level with or higher than your knees.

  • Bind Your Belly - Support a loose womb or pelvis with a pregnancy belt and help baby aim and stay in a good position for labor and birth.

  • Rest on Your Side - Think of your belly as a hammock and let the baby lay with his or her back settling into the hammock. Prop a pillow between your knees and ankles for comfort.

For more information on helping baby settle into a good position for birth, visit Spinning Babies.


By Stephanie Bazan
Stephanie is a mama, and freelance writer and graphic designer from Austin, Texas. She enjoys adventures with her husband, 2-year-old son, and shepherd pound puppy. The family is expecting a new baby sister this May.

Preparing Your Toddler for a New Baby

I recently asked the women at Sisters Midwifery how parents can prepare their toddler for a new baby’s arrival. Littles at two(ish) are curious, learning to share and seesawing between independence and the need to cling to your leg. All children are different, but here are a few suggestions Sisters Midwifery had for getting your younger kiddo(s) ready for a sibling.

  • Show them your belly
    As you move into your second trimester it will be more obvious to children that your body is different. The idea of a life growing inside you is a bit abstract for youngsters, but it’s still worth telling them the truth – there’s a baby in mama’s tummy! Let your child feel the baby kicking once her movements are pronounced enough.

  • Read them books about new babies
    There’s a myriad of books out there about the arrival of a new sibling from Our Water Baby to Waiting for Baby. One of the books suggested was Hello Baby by Jenni Overend, a story about a family preparing for home birth. It’s out of print, but available used on Amazon.

  • Get them a baby toy
    Give your little one a baby doll to carry and care for. Talk with your child about how to be gentle with babies and try having some fun like singing to the babies.

  • Bring them with you to a few midwifery appointments
    It may be helpful to bring your toddler with you when you visit your midwife. They can listen to baby’s heartbeat, see mommy’s tummy get measured and participate in other parts of the process.

How best to prep your child(ren) will depend on their age and interest level. If your child is a little bit older you can often let their questions be your guide. Also, consider taking them to a sibling class to learn more. Sisters Midwifery offers one – email them to sign up for the next class.

By Stephanie Bazan
Stephanie is a mama, and freelance writer and graphic designer from Austin, Texas. She enjoys adventures with her husband, 2-year-old son, and shepherd pound puppy. 

5 Steps Toward a Mindful Birth

Part of enjoying your birth experience, no matter if it goes according to "plan" is creating space for mindfulness as part of the birth preparation.

1. Meditate

Meditation creates a deep level of mental rest that is very soothing for both mom and baby during pregnancy and birth. The effects of meditation improve with time, so the earlier you start practicing meditation during pregnancy, the greater your endorphin levels will be when it comes time to give birth.

Meditation reduces anxiety, lowers blood pressure and decreases the production of the stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline and gives your baby a signal that he is safe and protected. Meditation also produces endorphins, our pleasure hormone, which can help during childbirth due to its pain relieving effect.

2. Be Informed

Attend childbirth and breastfeeding courses so you and your partner know what to expect. The more informed you are, the more empowered and relaxed you’ll be during labor. Ask lots of questions at your prenatal appointments. Choose a midwife who will provide you with compassionate, individualized care and with whom you form a solid bond of trust as you enter childbirth. Create a birth plan, but be prepared for different labor outcomes and decide how you’d want to deal with the various possibilities.

3. Slow Down

This is a gift for yourself and your baby. Focus on making yourself emotionally healthy. Be mindful in not only the external details of pregnancy planning but the inner preparation. Try to avoid over-scheduling and block off some time for yourself.

It's important to exercise, but be sure to do what's appropriate for you and stay fed and hydrated. Fitness helps reduce backaches, increase energy, reduce stress and improve your mood. It promotes muscle strength, tone, and endurance, improves sleep and helps you adjust to the physical demands of birth. But, sometimes you may just need a break.

Most women find the last part of pregnancy to be the most exhausting and uncomfortable and your lack of energy needs to be honored. Nap, change your exercise routines and find time to relax and connect with yourself, your partner, your family and your baby.

4. Prep Your Atmosphere

Many women prefer a dark and quiet environment for labor. Others may want lots of family around or music playing. Aromatherapy, especially the scent of lavender, is very calming in labor. I created a playlist and also gathered a few things that I thought I'd like into a small box: citrus scented spray, a poem and prayer, a beaded bracelet my friends made for me, a photo of me and my husband. The box made it easy for my husband or any of my midwifery team to find something I might want during labor and allowed me to free my mind of one more worry.

5. Accept the Pain

Try not to fear birth pain. Know that you can get through it. Don't let your mind suffer with worrying. During my birth, Genevieve would tell me each time a series of contractions was over that that one was gone forever. It helped me to put my focus on what was baby. Mindful birth allows you to experience labor as intense physical sensations which arise, peak and pass. Surrendering to the realization that the physical pain your body is experiencing is a sacred, miraculous journey can transform your birth experience.


By Stephanie Bazan
Stephanie is a mama, and freelance writer and graphic designer from Austin, Texas. She enjoys adventures with her husband, 2-year-old son, and shepherd pound puppy. 

Some of the content from these tips originally appeared on as 10 tips for a mindful birth.



We’ve put together a list of free outdoor activities perfect for families this summer. Whether you want to get wet or enjoy music, movies, theatre or nature – our quick list should have something fun for everyone.


  • Zilker Park: Throw a frisbee, climb on the rocks, kick a ball around, visit the playscape, blaze a trail around the lake — Zilker has so many great spots to enjoy. Don’t miss out on these two exciting free activities to enjoy this summer:

  • The Barton Creek Greenbelt: The city has over 12 miles of wonderful trails for hiking and swimming. Visit Do512 Family for best access points or the Austinot Complete Guide.

  • Austin Symphony Concerts in the Park: Relax on the lawn of the Long Center for free ensemble concerts each Sunday night. Sundays at 7:30 p.m. July 9th through August 27.

  • Splash Pads: There are lots of free places to splish splash around town. One of our favorites is the Liz Carpenter Splash Pad at 1000 Barton Springs Rd. For more water fun visit the Austin list of pools and splash pads.

  • Movies in the Park: This series of free movies in parks all over Austin is brought to you by Austin Parks Foundation (APF). Aladdin and Mighty Ducks are playing in July. Visit the APF site for the full calendar.

By Stephanie Bazan
Stephanie is a mama, and freelance writer and graphic designer from Austin, Texas. She enjoys adventures with her husband, 2-year-old son, and shepherd pound puppy. 

Diapers, Diapers, Diapers: Sorting through all the cloth diaper options

Adapted from a note by Rachel Renz Mattair

I hope my notes help you sort through your cloth diaper questions a bit -- I know it can be overwhelming. Other than my own research on cloth diapers, I had a friend who gave me a lot of advice, which I'll pass on here. There are several different routes you can go.


ALL IN ONES: The most popular type now is definitely All-in-one diapers (AIO). You can find them at most baby stores. The benefit of AIO is that they are just like disposables, so they go on in one step. The downside is that they are expensive. I don't like them as much because they are very absorbent (like disposables), so you (I) have the tendency to leave them on longer, but one of the main points of cloth diapers is that they do require frequent changing to prevent diaper rash. I think leaving an AIO on a long time doesn't irritate as much as leaving a disposable on, but it's something to consider.

In terms of laundering, you shouldn't dry them (at least not if you want them to last several children), so you need to have enough so that they can lay out to dry, which takes awhile. They are definitely good for when you do need to leave a diaper on awhile, such as at night or on an outing.

POCKETS: If you are deciding between pockets and all-in-ones, I'd probably go for the AIOs. Pockets are essentially the same as AIOs in that they go on in one step, but they have an opening into which you must stuff a liner. I find stuffing them a pain. One benefit of pockets is that you can stuff them with several liners, e.g. at night. Also, they dry faster than AIOs.

FITTED DIAPERS + cover: These are what I generally use. There are several different types/brands. I like them a lot, but they go on in two steps (first putting on diaper, then cover) which might be seen as a disadvantage. Mine snap on, which I prefer to Velcro because although velcro is slightly faster, it eventually wears out and sticks to things. Basically, fitted diapers are cloth (not waterproof!) that you snap around the baby, and then you have to put on a waterproof cover over them (purchased separately). I use fitted diapers exclusively during the day, except sometimes for longer outings. (At night I use pockets for more absorbency). With fitted diapers changing diapers is a two-step ordeal, which might turn some people off. A major advantage is that you can wash and dry the diapers, and the covers air-dry within about 20-30 minutes.

PREFOLDS + cover: This is the most basic (original) version of cloth diapers, and I used prefolds on my babies until they outgrew their newborn ones at about 12 weeks. This is the same idea as a fitted diaper, but it's literally just a piece of absorbent cloth (like burp clothes), which you have to fasten on. These days you don't have to use diaper pins because you can get little nifty things called "snappis" that make it easy. Like the fitted diapers, you have to then put on a waterproof cover. Prefolds have the same advantage as the fitted diapers in that you can wash and dry the diapers, and the covers air-dry quickly.

A note on size: You can by weight/age-appropriate sizes, or you can buy what are called "one-size" diapers, which last from newborn to potty training, or from newborn to halfway through, and then halfway through to toddler. I would definitely recommend one-size, unless you go the prefold route in which case you can't. The one-size have lots of snaps on the diapers, and you can snap up and down to make the diaper (or cover) bigger or smaller.

That’s a brief introduction. It seems tricky because there seem to be about 10,000 different kinds of diapers and covers. That's why visiting websites is helpful, because they show pictures of many of them. Cloth diapering is not as bad as it sounds. Research a little and then just give it a try!


My greatest advice: Cloth diapering seems overwhelming, but it's really not. It just takes a lot of research and some trial and error. In any case, I'd recommend purchasing a few different kinds/brands so that you get an idea of what you like.

One way to go is to do a "diaper trial" (Jillians Drawers trial). I didn't do this, but they send you several different kinds that you eventually send back, but then you get a sampling of different kinds. I just went on Craigslist (under "moms and kids) and searched for "cloth diapers" and a lot came up, and then I just spent alot of time reading about the different kinds and their prices. If you want the least work/quickest diaper change, All-in-ones are probably a good option.

Answers to Other Frequently Asked Questions.

How Many Cloth Diapers Does My Baby Need? If you do prefolds you probably need about 24 diapers and 6-10 covers. If you do AIOs, probably about 18-20 diapers. I had 14 fitted diapers, and it was a bit too few. But, I used pockets at night, so I made them stretch. Start with a decent amount and you can always add more.

What About Laundry? You have to do a prewash, and then a cycle with a 2nd rinse, and special detergent. It’s not as complicated as it sounds. Also, you do need to wipe or wash off the poop before washing them -- a little more messy once baby is eating solids.

I did laundry every 1.5-3 days, but three days was definitely a stretch. When I had 24 prefolds, I did it regularly every other day.

What Do You Use? My favorite choice is just prefolds or fitted diapers with a cover, especially with little ones who go through diapers so fast. All in Ones/Pocket Diapers are great for overnight or outings when they get bigger though.

I bought almost all of what I have off of Craigslist (much cheaper than new!) so what I ended up with was sort of a mish-mash. I started out with 24 prefolds (Clotheez brand) and about 7 covers. People say you need around 6 covers and I had 9. I have all different kinds, but my favorites have definitely been the Kissas by Kissaluvs (one-size that snap on). They have double-gusseted legs that prevent poo from escaping if that happens :). Once my baby outgrew the prefolds, I moved to a one-size fitted diaper. I definitely like fitted diapers best! Not as much work as prefolds. My pocket diapers are mostly Kawaii Baby (snap on, one-size), but I also have some Bum Genius. The more you read about it, you really find that everyone has their own preference and there is no "best."

Should I Buy New or Used? It took even more research in my case because I got lots of cloth diapers second hand on Craigslist, so I was researching prices and emailing sellers about condition, etc. But I didn't have a baby then! So, it might be easier to buy them new unless you find a great deal, know what you want, or want to just try some out.


Also, check out this super-informative website where I learned much of what I know about diapers. Green Mountain Diapers

You can also find great reviews on Diaper Pin if you search for a specific type of diaper (search box on the left).

Rachel Renz Mattair is a mother of three and student in the Association of Texas Midwives Midwifery Training Program. She has completed coursework and is in the primary stages of her apprenticeship with Genevieve and Sisters Midwifery.

As she began to research options for her own pregnancy, she discovered midwifery care when she moved home to Texas and has never looked back. Her favorite aspects of midwifery care are the deep relational connections formed between the midwife and the client during prenatal care, and the physiology of pregnancy and birth.

Maternal Mental Health Awareness

This May, National Coalition for Maternal Mental Health (NCMMH) is raising awareness of the number one complication of childbirth, a maternal mental health complication. With their #ConnectTheDots campaign they are bringing attention to pregnancy & postpartum depression, pregnancy & postpartum anxiety, bipolar disorders, post traumatic stress, OCD and postpartum psychosis.

It's not always depression. May 1-7 is Maternal Mental Health week and we want to take this time to talk about perinatal mood & anxiety disorders, how to spot them, and how to find help. 15-20% of pregnant and/or parenting women are impacted by postpartum depression and other perinatal mood & anxiety disorders. And 1 in 10 dads experience symptoms too.

Maternal Mental Health Facts - Maternal Mental Health Coalition

What are perinatal mood & anxiety disorders? Is it the same as baby blues?

Perinatal mood & anxiety disorders refers to a group of disorders that includes depression, anxiety, panic, psychosis, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and bipolar disorder, that occur during pregnancy or the postpartum period. It's #morethandepression AND women can also suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder which should not be confused with postpartum depression.

These disorders are not the baby blues which generally last one to three weeks postpartum. Read this story for more on baby blues.

The wording used on many documents from physicians can feel overwhelming and confusing, and often equally as difficult for our partners and family members to navigate. Below is one helpful tool for understanding the signs and symptoms of perinatal mood & anxiety disorders without all the jargon.

The Symptoms of Postpartum Depression & Anxiety (in Plain Mama English)

Still not sure? Someone doesn't always look depressed or you may not realize the extent of her anxiety. This flyer can help partners #askher and begin a discussion, start to support each other, and get outside help. And remember that women who have experienced infertility and pregnancy loss may also be suffering.

Let's #connectthedots and ask how she's really doing.

Now Serving More Cities in the Texas Hill Country

Updated March 2018

Sisters Midwifery is now serving more cities in the Texas Hill Country. In addition to continuing to offer midwifery services in Austin, Bee Cave, Buda, Cedar Park, Driftwood, Georgetown, Kyle, Leander, Pflugerville and San Marcos, Sisters Midwifery has added the following locations:

  • Blanco

  • Burnet

  • Dripping Springs

  • Fredericksburg

  • Johnson City

  • Marble Falls

  • Wimberly

If you have questions or would like to schedule a consultation please call the midwife - Genevieve Schaefer: 512-658-5628 or email

Main Office:
1711 Fortview Rd
Austin, Texas 78704

Meet the Mommy: Jocelyn

Meet the Mommy: Jocelyn
This is the third interview in a series called Meet the Mommy. Readers will hear voices of moms who have chosen Sisters Midwifery and Genevieve as their midwife.

Husband – Ahren
DaughterIris Anna
(1 year 4 months)

When Jocelyn and her husband found out they were pregnant they began exploring the options of birthing centers and home birth although Jocelyn admits she was nervous about having a baby at home.

On Choosing Genevieve
Jocelyn (J):
Genevieve was our first stop – we didn’t even get to the birthing center. She had reasonable answers to all the things that worried me. We would choose Genevieve for all of our future births because we definitely plan on having more kids.

Other than answering all of her concerns, Jocelyn recalls being struck by Genevieve’s gentle demeanor and relaxed personality. Jocelyn also trusted that as her pregnancy went along that Genevieve would keep her informed and tell her if a home birth was no longer an option.

On Home Birth
This was my first baby so I had no idea what to expect. Childbirth isn’t easy, but being at home helped make the experience mellow and calm.

Jocelyn noted that during labor she tried to remain on top of the pain. Some of the strategies she found helpful were doing yoga, remembering to breath deeply and finding focal points.

Rave for Genevieve
She is an ultimate mother figure. That was helpful to me because my mom was in California during my pregnancy. I knew I was being taken care of.

On Staying in Touch
I can text Genevieve and ask questions about the baby and she has answers because she is a mom and seasoned midwife. She has helped me get through various situations and with how to be a mom.

Family Business
We started a family business so Iris has been in a backpack making sauerkraut with us since she was about three months old.

You can find their probiotic craft kraut at in.gredients or catch Boulanger Fermentations at local farmers’ markets, fairs and fests.

When the Boulanger family is not working, chances are they are dancing to music from old records. Jocelyn's daughter, Iris, has some favorite albums…

Iris’ Playlist:

By Stephanie Bazan
Stephanie is a mama, and freelance writer and graphic designer from Austin, Texas. She enjoys adventures with her husband, 18-month-old son, and shepherd pound puppy.