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Registered midwife opens practice in Steamboat Springs

Kari Dequine Harden / Steamboat Pilot & Today
Registered Midwife Astrid Grove recently opened Birthroot Midwifery in her office at 942 Oak St. She is the only registered midwife in the area who offers services in attending at-home births.
John F. Russell / Steamboat Pilot & Today

Registered midwives who attend at-home births are few and far between in Northwest Colorado, but Steamboat Springs is now home to Birthroot Midwifery and Astrid Grove, a midwife who recently opened the downtown practice.

She’s been in her Oak Street office for less than a month, but Grove said the response so far has been very positive, and she is thrilled to give families an additional choice in how they bring their little ones into the world.

She already has clients from Craig to Vail.

With two decades of experience attending hundreds of home births, “it’s a wonderful option,” Grove said.

She also incorporates her expertise as an herbalist and abdominal therapist into her practice.

She cares for women trying to conceive, during pregnancy and after giving birth.

“One of my favorite things to do is to help people get pregnant,” she said.

Across the nation, interest in midwives and at-home births surged amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Some of that is due to the additional restrictions many hospitals have imposed, such as limiting the number of people who can attend or visit after the birth, and separating new moms from their newborns if they test positive.

Some hospitals have increased medical interventions like C-sections or inductions as a result of the pandemic.

There are studies showing at-home, midwife attended births for women in the low-risk category are as safe or even safer than a hospital birth.

Grove said while she was working on the Front Range, she had a number of women transfer their care to her during the pandemic — mothers who had never before considered a home birth.

The UCHealth Women’s Clinic recently added two certified nurse midwives to their staff — and quickly found they were meeting a significant need and want from the community.

The two midwives assist patients in the birthing center and throughout pregnancies, but bring more of a holistic approach to the birthing process.

From the medical perspective, Grove lists just a few of the tools today’s midwives are equipped with: A Doppler and other types of monitors; newborn screens and vitamin K administration at the time of birth; oxygen; the ability to give IV’s and medications if required; and resuscitative equipment.

She can order labs and pap smears through local providers, among other tests.

Grove said she also works well with hospital staff, particularly when a transfer of care is needed.

According to a 2014 study by The Midwives Alliance of North America documenting nearly 17,000 home births, approximately 11% of mothers were transferred to the hospital. Most of those transfers were not due to an emergency, but because labor was not progressing.

One of the things Grove sees appeals to women about at-home births is more of an independent decision-making process. They also get to know Grove throughout the pregnancy process and know she will be there throughout the birthing process.

She also provides follow-up care in the days and weeks after the birth, including lactation support. And she is able to spend more time with her clients, whether talking about their concerns and fears or providing nutritional advice. 

Grove began her career as an herbalist.

“Herbs are a daily part of my life and an integral part of my midwifery practice,” she described. “I have extensive knowledge on the safety and efficacy of herbs in pregnancy and share this with my clients. I recommend a lot of nutritive herbs throughout, and we can use herbs to help remedy common complaints and ailments of pregnancy, postpartum and newborn care.”

When Grove was 22, she had a friend who invited her to attend their birth as an herbalist. The baby came before the two midwives were able to arrive, and “I ended up catching the baby,” Grove described. When the midwives arrived, they said, “Well, I guess you are a midwife,” she recalled. “It was a clear sign.”

Grove then attended the Birthwise Midwifery School in Maine.

She said she also uses herbs during labor and birth. In terms of pain management, Grove said she finds some mothers are more comfortable at home.

From women who have experience both at home and hospital births, Grove said they told her they felt contractions more acutely in the hospital.

For some mothers, Grove said being at home with fewer interventions can provide an environment more supportive of the body’s ability to “have the natural hormonal cascade,” which releases things like oxytocin and endorphins.

Some women also feel more supported at home with a midwife and confident with the knowledge that they did it on their own — on their own terms.

The abdominal therapy Grove offers includes herbal medicine and spiritual healing and is based on the traditional methods of the Maya. She has used the technique to help women conceive and heal from birth, as well as help with digestive, menstrual and urinary issues. It “helps internal organs return to their ideal position as well as increases the flow of blood and lymph,” Grove described, and increases flow in the pelvis and realigning internal organs and especially the uterus.

Grove accepts most insurance providers and offers free consultations. For more information call Grove at 970- 343-2968 or email astridgrovemidwife@gmail.com.


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