Ronnie Falcao, LM MS CHT CPM, Licensed Midwife
Safe, Holistic Midwifery Care for Mother and Baby

Over 15 years experience

Optional Water Labor or WaterBirth

My home office is in downtown Mountain View, CA.  I attend births throughout the Peninsula and the South Bay area as well as the southern part of the East Bay.  My range includes Santa Clara and San Mateo County, and some of Alameda County: Atherton, Belmont, Burlingame, Campbell, Colma, Cupertino, Daly City, East Palo Alto, Foster City, Hillsborough, Los Altos, Los Altos Hills, Los Gatos, Menlo Park, Millbrae, Milpitas, Mountain View, Palo Alto, Portola Valley, Redwood City, San Bruno, San Carlos, San Jose, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Saratoga, Sunnyvale, Woodside, I do not go up to the Skyline area.

Google, Apple, Samsung and Adobe insurance plans cover my services very well, whether for homebirth care, supplementary prenatal care, in-home postpartum care for the mom and baby, or in-home lactation consulting. Many other insurance plans do, too.

I am near Rte. 85 so can get to 101 or 280 quickly.

also offering Birthing Tub Rentals,
European-Style Postpartum Midwifery Care for Mother and Baby
and Birth Doula Midwifery Care
 

Midwife And Child Thumbnail
A safe and gentle birth is the foundation for a baby's
physical and emotional well-being.

For healthy women with low-risk pregnancies, the safest birth takes place in the home
with an experienced birth attendant.

The most gentle birth is assisted by a midwife who honors baby's birth experience,
helping to create a welcoming atmosphere of trust, joy and love.

If this is your first baby, please read my First Baby Policy.  Thank you!

ornament

Homebirth is about . . .

Safety and Security

Emphasis on normalcy
Reduced risks by avoiding unnecessary interventions
Reduced infection rates by avoiding hospital germs
Breastfeeding success protects your baby's health throughout infancy
State-of-the-art diagnosis and treatment as needed to facilitate a safe birth, including continuous electronic fetal monitoring if desired
Large Canadian and North American studies show homebirth has better outcomes than hospital birth
Observance of Medical Board's Standards of Practice

Comfort and Privacy

Freedom in choice of positions and timing of monitoring
Security and familiarity of birthing in your own home
You have the authority to decide who is allowed in your birthing space
AquaDoula birthing tubs provided - waterproof Dopplers for tub monitoring
Joy Birth Chair and birth ball available - herbal pain relief if desired

Family Intimacy

Partner involvement encouraged - partners may catch the baby
Baby-led bonding and breastfeeding
Sibling involvement as desired

Deluxe Care

Individualized care where the focus is on you and your choices
Extended prenatal and postpartum appointments for comprehensive care
Lactation consulting as part of integrated mother-baby care

A Practical Choice

Insurance payment accepted
Extensive logistical guidance and support provided
Clean, tidy and comfortable environment
Combination doula / midwife assistant optional
 

You can read feedback from women who've given birth in my practice.
But as important as the woman's experience is, homebirth or any birth
is really about the baby's experience:

"The way we were born defines the quality of our experience of being alive."
- Elena Tonetti, producer of "Birth As We Know It".


Compare and Contrast Home and Hospital

Faith Gibson has put together this great collection of photos
of Modern Childbirth -- a “Medical or Surgical Procedure”, as is typical in the hospital,
and A Photographic Record of the Physiological Management of Normal Childbirth, as is typical at home.
Faith also has a very nice page on Distinction Between Midwifery and Medicine Care Defining the Physiological Model of Care for Normal Childbirth.
 
 

ornament

The first real choice a human baby must make is whether to trust or
     mistrust other humans. This basic trust-versus-mistrust stage is the first
     building block upon which all later love relationships are formed.

--High Risk: Children Without A Conscience, Magid and McKelvey

ornament

Ronnie Falcao, Licensed Midwife
Attending births since 1991, Licensed since 1997
Out-of-hospital training in homebirth apprenticeship and birth center internship
Specializing in water labor, waterbirth and herbal pain relief
Emphasis on normalcy, backed by evidence-based practice and state-of-the-art equipment.
Knowledgeable about the midwifery use of herbs, homeopathy and hypnosis
A midwife's heart and hands combined with an engineer's problem solving skills

ornament

If you are looking for a birth attendant who is committed to providing the best possible prenatal and birth care, please phone me at 650-961-9728 or by e-mail.  I'm happy to e-mail you detailed information about my services.  Please let me know your due date, where you live, whether this is a first or subsequent baby, and what kind of insurance you have, so I can send you the relevant financial information.

I routinely attend births in homes within about 15 miles of Mountain View, California and will drive further by special arrangement.

Here's my contact information for anything besides my midwifery services.
 

ornament

Safety and Security

A 2005 study in the British Medical Journal shows that homebirth is as safe as hospital birth for healthy women with a normal pregnancy.  (You may wish to read a summary of the study,  an abstract of the study, or the full text.)  There are lots of references online to the superior safety of homebirth, but it is sometimes easier to understand when you think about a few key issues:

Supporting the Birth Process - Human birth has evolved over millions of years, and is very successful - 95% of births would result in a healthy mother and baby even without a skilled birth attendant.  Like most of our biological functions, birth works best at home, where women feel safe and secure and are not triggered to a "fight or flight" response from being in a strange and unpredictable environment.  When a woman labors in her own home, there is no pressure to "get things going" just because the room is needed for another patient or because a shift change is coming up.  Babies born at home can set the pace for baby-led bonding and breastfeeding; since the midwife is providing care for just that mother-baby pair, she can wait until it is a good time for them before getting the baby's weight and measurements, performing a full newborn examination, offering vitamin K or antibiotic eye ointment.  And there is no need to separate the mother and baby at home since the midwife is only observing one baby at a time!  Allowing the birth-bonding-breastfeeding process to evolve naturally almost assures successful breastfeeding, and skin-to-skin mother-baby contact supports a happy, healthy transition to the outside world.

Avoiding Risky Interventions - Hospital procedures often cause more problems than they prevent.  The most common problematic hospital intervention is the epidural, which can cause the mother's blood pressure to drop so that her system isn't getting enough oxygen through the placenta to baby.  The second most problematic intervention is the use of pitocin - the synthetic form of the hormone that causes contractions - which can cause contractions to come too fast for baby, so baby goes into fetal distress.  When you hear people with lots of experience with hospital births talking about how dangerous birth is, they are usually referring to hospital births where these sorts of complications have occurred.  If you ask them to describe the circumstances of the really frightening births they've seen in hospitals, they will frequently involve pitocin and/or an epidural.  Sometimes people project their experience with frightening hospital births onto all births, and they assume that births that take place away from the potentially life-saving facilities of a hospital must necessarily be dangerous; it can be hard for them to grasp that some hospital interventions may actually be the cause of some of the problems they see.  They also may not understand that homebirth midwives are trained and equipped to handle the most common complications of normal, unmedicated childbirth and to relocate the birth to the hospital when the mother or baby would benefit from medical care.  These people have typically never seen a homebirth, and they are often ignorant of homebirth safety statistics and the extensive training of homebirth midwives.  They may have seen some complicated cases transported from home to the hospital and thus imagine that all homebirths have complications, but they obviously do not see all the homebirths that have no complications or minor complications that are readily handled at home.  You can do them a favor by showing this to them.  (To learn more about homebirth safety, you can visit my web pages: http://www.gentlebirth.org/ronnie/homesafe.html)

Reduced Infection Rates - Infection rates for hospital birth are four times higher than for homebirth.  In the United States, about 80,000 people die every year from hospital-acquired infections; this is more people than die from automotive accidents.  Hospitals are filled with bacteria from those who are sick and dying; often these people are given lots of antibiotics, so the bacteria readily become resistant to antibiotics, which makes them much more deadly than normal bacteria usually found outside the hospital.  In addition, babies are born with an immature immune system, so that they are not able to create antibodies to the germs they're exposed to at birth.  Nature protects new babies by providing them with antibodies from the mother, which are passed to baby through the placenta.  A pregnant woman is usually immune to the germs in her own home, so baby is already born with an immunity to these germs.  So, babies born at home have their skin and gut colonized with their normal household bacteria, to which they are already immune.  Babies born in the hospital are often colonized with hospital bacteria, to which they have no immunity, and which are often already antibiotic-resistant.  Since they have a very immature immune system, these hospital-acquired infections may be life threatening to baby.

Reduced Medical Errors - Drug errors hurt 1 in 15 hospitalized kids.  This is another side effect of piecemeal medical care, where one provider orders treatment and another provider administers the medication or treatment.  Homebirth midwives provide comprehensive care for mother and baby and have a detailed knowledge of the complete history of both mother and baby.

State-of-the-Art Training and Equipment - In the hospital, the nurses or technicians managing your labor might not even be trained in maternity care or the evaluation of fetal monitor readings.  I am trained and experienced in handling emergencies that might arise during labor or birth.  I carry lots of equipment, so I can perform  the same routine assessments and procedures that might be done in the hospital; yes, I even have a continuous electronic fetal monitor, if needed. I carry equipment to resuscitate the baby that is the same as that available in the hospital, except that mine is operated by hand instead of by machine.  I carry the standard medications used to provide safe maternity care. I have some photos of my equipment if you want to take a look at them.
 

Comfort and Privacy

Comfort - In your own home, you can arrange for whatever comfort measures will be helpful to you, including birthing tubs, low light, music, my TENS unit, and even personal massage therapists.  You can labor and birth in whatever position you choose, including laboring in an AquaDoula birthing tub, which I provide.  My Dopplers are all waterproof, so you don't need to get out of the water in order for me to monitor the baby.  I can even use my continuous electronic fetal monitor while you're in the water, if it becomes advisable.  You don't have to wear tight elastic straps around your belly hooking you up to a monitoring computer because you or I can even hold the monitor by hand.  Because I have only one laboring woman to care for, I can be respectful of your labor rhythm in deciding when to check your vital signs or monitor the baby.

Waterbirth - There are many benefits to waterbirth.  I completed the Waterbirth Credentialing Certification Class from Waterbirth International in Sept., 2007, and I have attended over 65 beautiful waterbirths.  Many clients have labored in a birthing tub and then chosen to give birth out of water.

Herbal Pain Relief - For women who want a little something extra, I carry herbs that reduce labor pains.  Much of my practice has been with high-achieving Silicon Valley women, who sometimes need a little extra help relaxing and letting go so that labor can progress.  I'm pleased to say that I've developed herbal protocols that work very well for them.

Privacy - You have complete control over who is allowed into your birthing space, and you can arrange to meet my assistant beforehand, so that no strangers are entering your birthing space.  You are guaranteed to have a "private" room after the birth so that your partner and other family members can stay with you, as you choose.
 

Family Intimacy

Partner involvement - Homebirth partners are empowered to participate in the birth as the couple wants . . . they are on their own turf and typically have come to know me and have participated in decision making throughout the pregnancy.  Some partners choose to catch the baby.

Baby-led bonding and breastfeeding - Your baby's experience of being welcomed into your family is based on the events of the critical first hour after the birth.  By supporting the mother's responsiveness to her newborn, I can facilitate first bonding and breastfeeding experiences that provide a solid foundation for baby's unfolding as a member of this human family.

Sibling involvement - You can choose to have your older children as involved as you want.  Some families plan to have older children participate in the birth or in welcoming baby or to have their older children cared for in a separate room.  It is much easier for older siblings to feel good about having a new baby in the house when their mother doesn't mysteriously disappear in the middle of the night and re-appear in a strange hospital room with the new baby.  Homebirth siblings often talk about "my baby" because the birth was a family affair.  Siblings are generally welcome to attend prenatal meetings.
 

Deluxe Care

I schedule two-hour appointments to ensure that your questions are answered and your concerns are addressed.  I provide postpartum appointments in your home at 24 hours, 48 hours, 5 days, and 10 days to ensure that everyone is doing well and that breastfeeding is going well.  Extra appointments are provided as needed.  There is a final office appointment around six weeks after the birth to make sure that mother, baby and the whole family have transitioned well to the expanded family.  I offer integrated mother-baby care with breastfeeding support and lactation consulting.  I provide comprehensive care and resources that include your emotional well-being as an important component of a healthy pregnancy and postpartum.

I offer individualized care so the focus is on you and your choices.  I am willing to support non-standard treatment choices if you are willing to educate yourself about your choices and sign relevant informed consent forms.

I am constantly looking for ways to improve the birthing experience for the whole family, and I have many delighted client families.
 
 

A Practical Choice

Financial Considerations - I accept insurance payment and credit cards.  As of Jan., 2013, my favorite insurance company is CIGNA.  United HealthCare and Aetna are also very good.  Anthem / Blue Cross has a wide variety of plans; some cover my services very well, such as the Google plan, which is self-funded by Google and merely administered by Anthem.  Blue Shield of California is a total pain; I do not accept Blue Shield plans.  For Google employees, your Anthem plan covers homebirth and monitrice/doula services very well, so you end up paying a small percentage of my fees.

Logistical Support - I provide AquaDoula birthing tubs for my clients at no extra charge.  I provide a variety of specialty supplies to increase your comfort and the overall quality of your birth experience.  I provide a variety of hard-to-find herbs as necessary for your circumstances.

Clean, tidy and comfortable environment - Your birthing environment will be as clean as your home, because it is your home.  We use sterile and disposable equipment as necessary to maintain a safe, clean, tidy and comfortable environment.  My assistant will clean up the birth space, drain the tub and start a load of laundry.  I stay for six hours after the birth to make sure that mom and baby aren't rushed in their transition to the postpartum time.  Most moms enjoy a shower around two hours after the birth, while dad cuddles the sleeping baby. 
 

ornament

The first real choice a human baby must make is whether to trust or
     mistrust other humans. This basic trust-versus-mistrust stage is the first
     building block upon which all later love relationships are formed.

--High Risk: Children Without A Conscience, Magid and McKelvey

ornament

This . . . is about the profoundly important and sacred opportunity we have in bringing children into the world.
Research is now showing us that our society is a product of how we welcome and raise our children.  With love and connection, babies develop minds that are coherent and flexible, ready in turn to make compassionate and empathic connections with others as they grow.  As we learn how early relationships shape the structure and function of the brain, we are also learning to have a new appreciation of the wisdom of ancient cultures who knew to welcome the infant, even during early pregnancy."
   - “What Babies Want” video

ornament
 “It’s an invitation to the greatest intimacy that life ever affords us, and if we do not meet it, then the infant feels betrayed by the world.”
   - Joseph Chilton Pearce, author of “Magical Child”.

ornament

I became a homebirth midwife because homebirth offers the safest possible option for most mothers and babies. I offer prenatal and birthing services that nurture the whole family, honor the birth process, and protect baby-led bonding and breastfeeding.  My midwifery services include comprehensive postpartum care and breastfeeding support.

Birthing families have the right to choose the birth attendant who best meets their needs. I believe it's important for most families to have a well-trained and well-equipped birth attendant, which is why I practice as a direct-entry Licensed Midwife. However, I believe it's equally important for a birth attendant to honor the majesty and mystery of birth as a peak human experience, which is why I offer my skills as unobtrusively as possible.

If you are looking for a birth attendant who is committed to providing the best possible prenatal and birth care, please phone me at 650-961-9728 or by e-mail.  I'm happy to e-mail you detailed information about my services.  Please let me know your due date, where you live, whether this is a first or subsequent baby, and what kind of insurance you have, so I can send you the relevant financial information.

I routinely attend births in homes within about 15 miles of Mountain View, California and will drive further by special arrangement.

My e-mail username is ronnie, and my domain is gentlebirth.org.  Of course, you need to put an @ sign between those two to make it work.  I'm making this somewhat cryptic because I've discovered that having my e-mail address on the web has made me the target for hundreds of spam messages a day.  So, I also have multiple layers of spam filtering built into my e-mail system.

Here's my contact information for anything besides my midwifery services.

I live in Mountain View, California and serve birthing families throughout San Mateo and Santa Clara Counties and parts of Alameda County.

My services normally include the use of a birth tub for laboring or waterbirth.  These tubs are also available for discounted rental when available.

I can sometimes also provide referrals to trained assistants available as out-of-sight but on-site backup for families planning an "unassisted childbirth".

Ronnie Falcao, LM MS CPM is also doing business as Birthing Visions and Eternity in Bloom.

ornament

Some pages I've written:

Homebirth Benefits - Why Homebirth Is Most Appropriate for Normal Birth

Dangers of Hospital Birth - Why Birthing in a Hospital Causes More Problems Than It Solves for Normal Birth

Midwife Informed Consent for Group B Strep Carriers (Positive Screen) - my informed consent for moms who test positive as a carrier of GBS

Midwife Informed Consent for Vitamin K - another client handout
 
Perspectives on Normal Childbirth - An article I wrote for the ICAN journal about my internship in an El Paso, Texas, birth center. I was astounded that they had a cesarean rate of less than 1% without compromising the well-being of the mother or baby. 

Homebirth Safety and Benefits - Homebirth is as safe or safer than hospital birth in most cases; homebirth also offers intangible benefits beyond superior safety.

Information about VRE - Vancomycin-Resistant Enterococcus - It was recently reported that the antibiotic-resistant bacteria, enterococcus, has infected 100% of the surveyed hospitals in the San Francisco Bay Area.
 

Some pages I've edited:

The Midwife Archives - As a way of organizing my notes about information and wisdom shared on the various birth-related distribution lists, I created the Midwife Archives. Please visit those pages for answers to many practical questions and for an interesting perspective on the mystical side of birth.
 

Some pages I've formatted in co-operation with the authors:

Benefits and risks of episiotomy: A review of the English-language literature since 1980
A journal article by Robert J. Woolley, MD.

Is Homebirth for You?  6 Myths About Childbirth Exposed
An online version of the booklet originally published by Friends of Homebirth (Editor: Janet Tipton, 1990)

ornament

Some people ask how to pronounce my last name, especially when they see it written out with a tilde over the second a. I pronounce my last name as Falco. Some of my sisters pronounce it as the Portuguese name it is, which would sound sort of like Falcown but different if you could really speak Portuguese.  (Joan says she pronounces it like fahl kown'.  The "fahl" is hard for folks until you tell them it's the first syllable of "follow.") 


My interests are numerous and varied. I'm active in our Community Emergency Response Team.  I enjoy singing and doing jigsaw puzzles.  As part of my efforts to use the Internet to make the world a better place, I hereby provide two pieces of the big Puzzle of the Optimal World:
1) The Nutcracker Suite with Words
2) Color photo of the lower part of Springbok's 1969 jigsaw puzzle of St. George and the Dragon.  For some reason, Springbok only provides a color photo of the top part of the puzzle; by the way, the puzzle itself is actually a smaller scale than the photo, which is a bit odd.

And if you're organizing a class reunion and trying to get in touch with one of my sisters, contact me and I'll let them know. Here are the names for those search engines: Elizabeth Falcao, Betty Falcao, Carol Falcao, Gloria Falcao, Lori Falcao, Joan Falcao, Linda Falcao, Maria Falcao (RIP), Pat Falcao, Patricia Falcao, Patty Falcao, Terri Falcao, Theresa Falcao, Veronica Falcao (that's me!).

And, yes, Linda Falcao is the same Linda Falcao who founded America Serves!  We're so proud of her!
America Serves is a student-driven, student-focused service project opportunity for high school students interested in learning about the challenges faced by children in other parts of the world, and doing something about them.
Comprehensive Teen & College Programs - Nonprofit Fundraising - The goal of each AMERICA SERVES project is to design, plan, and execute an educational fundraising event for an overseas relief organization chosen by the students.  The different college and high school editions can be purchased online.  This is excellent training for future midwives.  :-)
Linda has also attained a certain level of notoriety for challenging Wells Fargo for their alleged discriminatory policies of asking potential borrowers about their childbearing plans.  Linda and her husband, both 49 years old at the time, thought they must be joking.  Alas, they were not!

And her daughter, Lauren Falcao (née Falcão), is the co-author of the soon-to-be-renowned article, Regional Arrangements in the Arabian Gulf.

And here's the reciprocal link to breastfeeding.com, but the bulk of breastfeeding information is in the main part of my web site--The Midwife Archives / Breastfeeding.
 
 

ornament

Search engine for gentlebirth.org

ornament