Birth center offers alternative pregnancy care

Holistic practitioners manage birthing pain with herbs, movement



Licensed midwife ViviAnne Fischer discusses birth techniques Sunday at The Nest.

SAM SCHMITKE, Evergreen reporter

Last year, a midwife, a naturopathic doctor and an acupuncturist came together to open The Nest Birth and Wellness Center in a small white house by the Old European.

ViviAnne Fischer, a licensed midwife for three years and one of the owners, said she has been in awe of pregnant women since childhood. In 2018, Fischer attended 24 home births and 21 center births, according to stats posted on The Nest’s Facebook page.

As a WSU graduate student, Fischer began teaching human development classes at WSU and worked as a doula, also known as a birth companion, on the side. Fischer said licensed midwifery has been in Washington state for many years and can use the same medicine and machines that doctors have in hospitals.

“My favorite technique is home birthing, where they are in their own space,” Fischer said. “It’s like them saying ‘you’re in my turf.’ ”

The women at the Nest Birth Center said they want to support what a woman’s body does naturally. Fischer said the body’s mechanisms are like a natural epidural.

A woman might go into birth thinking she will lie in bed when she pushes, but during the process her body will ask that she stand, squat, or get in a tub instead, Fischer said. This reduces pain.

Fischer said they can also reduce pain with acupuncture and naturopathic medicine. Kathleen Ojeda, or K.O., is the naturopath at The Nest.

“Acupuncture is an ancient Chinese belief that anything can be treated with,” Ojeda said. “It is a whole different kind of medicine.

Although it might seem unconventional, The Nest now accepts all insurances and has facility credentials with insurance companies.

Giving birth at the center costs around a fourth of a typical hospital birth and midwives can help in ways doctors can’t, Fischer said.

“One thing that a midwife is really helpful with, is that we can go to your house,” Fischer said. “Especially here in Pullman, where there is a lot of farmland.”

Hospitals can sometimes be too far away, and women might end up in an uncomfortable car when in labor, Fischer said.

Midwives have to be on call 24/7, 365 days a year. But the bosses at The Nest say the postpartum period is the reward.

“After the birth where the mom comes back into her body and holds the baby, that makes it worth it,” Fischer said. “Watching everyone be enthralled and enjoying their time with their baby.”

Fischer tends to use herbal remedies and essential oils to help women with their pregnancies. However, they also have acupuncture that is a licensed practice conducted by one of the owners, Laura Rose Lambert.

Using a little peppermint oil will help with nausea during labor, while sage oil can help move contractions along, Fischer said.

Meanwhile, Fischer said, acupuncture will help prepare the body. Sometimes if a mom feels nauseous or becomes tired during labor, Lambert provides acupuncture.

“It helps bring energy back up to the mom,” Fischer said.

Some herbs also help after birth, Fischer said. Birth tends to cause vaginal tearing. For this, Fischer has the woman sit in an herbal bath mix meant to soothe tears and prevent infection as well as tissue damage. Fischer’s secret remedy is to use seaweed packs.

“We can stitch you up,” Fischer said. “But seaweed packs are nature’s stitches.”

The owners always have two women at each birth, along with a hospital line to call if the baby is breached.

The owners also have pregnancy plans that will work for mothers and will check in for six months after the birth.

The Nest Birth and Wellness Center has one-on-one talks once a month and host a meet and greet the first Monday of each month. Starting in March there will be postpartum groups every Friday for anyone with a child younger than a year. You can also schedule an appointment online.

The Nest Birth and Wellness Center is located at 425 S. Grand Ave. Their hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday.