Home » ARTICLES » Birth Matters » Bellies, Birth and Babies is Back!
Bellies, Birth and Babies is Back! PDF Print E-mail
Written by Laura Maxson LM   

New and expectant parents have lots of questions. While more experienced parents may smile at these newbies, they have their own concerns. Where do families find support around the details of pregnancy and childbirth issues? Health-care providers can be helpful; however, bigger concerns often dominate those visits, and not all questions expectant families have are medical in nature.


How can a pregnant women lie comfortably on a massage table? Is there anything special to consider when buying a nursing bra? What books might help prepare a three-year-old for her mom’s labor and a new baby in the house? What changes might a breastfeeding mom expect when her baby starts teething? What kind of baby carrier will work best for a newborn?


Luckily, Santa Cruz County has lots of local experts ready to help families figure out what kind of support they might need as they become parents. Birth Network’s one-stop event, Bellies, Birth & Babies, is back and is just the ticket for busy parents, with workshops, lots of helpful information and even a little shopping. Whether parents drop in for a few minutes to check things out or sign up in advance for workshops, families will expand their list of helpful resources.


There might be an opportunity to try out the special bolsters and props that allow for a pregnant body to be positioned comfortably for a massage. Baby questions can be addressed to postpartum doulas, lactation specialists, parenting support facilitators and other providers, many of whom are experienced parents themselves.


Chiropractors, acupuncturists, and body workers of all types have great ideas for achy backs that come with pregnancy and the bending, lifting, and holding that comes with a new baby. A selection of nursing wear will be available for purchase, and tips on bra fitting will be free for the asking. Between the childbirth educators, doulas, midwives, and other providers, there will be plenty of ideas for preparing children for labor or their siblings’ arrival. All a parent will have to do is ask.


The main hall at Pacific Cultural Center will be divided into specific areas of focus, which will offer informal, hands-on demonstrations and the opportunity to ask questions of individual practitioners. Each focus areas will be served by a variety of practitioners. Families are encouraged to mingle and ask questions of the professionals in attendance to learn more about a specific topic or provider. There will be information to gather, prizes to win, and little gifts to take home.


The main room will be divided into areas and will enlist the resources of a variety of providers who will choose their area of focus and may move around the hall. For instance, an acupuncturist might be in the supporting your body area or have some great ideas for getting labor started in the labor tips or birth at home area. The focus areas will be clearly marked under the following banners and will include a mix of experience and expertise which might include:

Supporting your Body – massage therapists, body workers, fitness and yoga instructors, nutrition consultants, chiropractic, acupuncture

Labor Tips – midwives, birth doulas, childbirth educators

Baby's Here! – lactation support, postpartum doulas, parenting group facilitators, counselors, photographers, placenta encapsulators

Birth at Home – midwives, doulas, birth photographers,

Community Resources – information and resources about WIC, community clinics, prenatal and postpartum programs, local hospitals, nonprofits and much more.

Pop-up Marketplace will offer the convenience of bringing the store directly to the families. The marketplace will include toys, baby clothes, nursing wear, skin care, diapers, and more.

For parents who would like to sit down and explore topics a little more in depth, Birth Network is offering four facilitated panel discussions, in two session blocks. These workshops have topic similar to the focus areas, but will have a more focused, facilitated discussion. Parents should preregister to ensure space is available.

At the first session block, parents can register for either: "Mother-Friendly" Birth Choices - How to minimize routine interventions during your birth; or Supporting Your Changing Body - acupuncture, yoga, massage, chiropractic, discover options for self-care.

The second workshop sessions will offer a choice of: What's In Your Labor Tool Kit? - Labor coping techniques and more; or Babe in Arms, Finding Your Way - Tips for the first days and weeks with a little one - feeding, sleeping, thriving!

Womb Song will be there to share some songs from their prenatal singing circles. Members of Santa Cruz Babywearing will provide little babywearing-parade, showcasing many of the carriers they have available for monthly rental, as well as some adorable babies!


Bellies, Birth & Babies has been a Santa Cruz mainstay since it began in 1998 with Nurture’s Pregnancy Information Night. Birth Network is eager to bring back this popular event with a fun, new format!


Side Bar:

Bellies, Birth & Babies



Local providers


Laura Maxson, LM, CPM, the mother of three grown children, has been working with pregnant and breastfeeding women for over 30 years. Currently she is the executive director of Birth Network of Santa Cruz County and has a homebirth midwifery practice. Contact her at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

© Copyright 2008 all rights reserved