We are dedicated to providing holistic family centered midwifery care to the Santa Cruz region
As midwives and natural health practitioners, we love the process of empowering our families throughout pregnancy, birth and postpartum.
SHARON POTTEIGER, LM, CPM
As a small child, both my grandmothers were labor and delivery nurses … and I have amazing memories of them drinking tea and discussing birth while I played with my dolls at their feet. Little did I realize the impact they were having on me.
I found my life’s calling after attending my first home birth in Santa Cruz when I was 18 years old. In the years that followed, I attended births in whatever capacity was needed. First, I provided childcare and served as a doula. Soon after, I found myself “catching babies.” (Including one in a Grateful Dead show parking lot!)
I have been licensed by the California medical board since 2009, and have a thriving midwifery practice. I draw on my many years of practice and study of midwifery, herbs, homeopathy, aromatherapy acupressure, massage and — last but not least — motherhood.
EMILY HITES, LM, CPM
I first became interested in Midwifery when I was 12 years old when I crossed paths with a CPM who was working in Mexico. I knew from then on that I wanted to be a midwife and over a decade later, after earning my Associate Degree in 2012, I enrolled at Birthwise Midwifery School. I enjoyed the rigorous academics, Maine winters, and parsing out what had drawn me to this profession. I moved to Santa Cruz in August of 2017 and completed my training with the Santa Cruz Midwives, becoming a NARM accredited Certified Professional Midwife and California Licensed Midwife in 2019.
I truly believe that being empowered during this time fundamentally changes how parents interact with their children, each other, their families and, ultimately, with humanity. I am at the very beginning of this journey and am so excited for the years of providing heart-centered healthcare to come.
I am trained in the Arvigo Techniques of Maya Abdominal Therapy® for pregnancy and postpartum as well as for non-childbearing women. Providing this care allows me to work with women in all stages of life from menarche to menopause to address reproductive, digestive, structural and emotional health.
I was also trained at Birthwise and IPPA in making placenta medicine and am happy to offer this to clients.
STEPHANIE KERWIN, STUDENT MIDWIFE
Following the birth of my son 17 years ago I was inspired to begin training as a doula and attending births. My doula work led me to midwifery care and a home birth for my second child’s birth. It was an incredible experience and I knew that I wanted to one day be a midwife myself.
I want all birthing persons to know and understand their choices in childbirth and to feel supported and empowered in the choices they make, just as I was during my pregnancy, labor and postpartum period. In the fall of 2018, I enrolled at Midwives College of Utah and began my journey to become a midwife and have been attending home births as a student midwife ever since.
In addition to my midwifery work, I serve on the board of directors of Birth Network Santa Cruz. This volunteer position gives me the opportunity to help develop and plan birth-related events in our community, as well as interact with parents and other care providers.
KEM WHITE, CLINICAL HERBALIST & LYMPHATIC CARE
In 1996 Kem White had her first of three home births which started her on a journey of health and wellness. She was fortunate to have both Sharon Pottieger, LM, CPM and Raven Lang, LAc and OMD as teachers. They introduced Kem to Traditional Chinese Medicine and Eastern-Western Herbalism.
She went on to intern at The American School of Herbalism. She studies Ayurveda in Sebastopol with DeAnna Batdorff and has completed The Clinical Ayurvedic Program. She combines Lymphatic Massage, Eastern-Western Herbalism, Tibetan Palate and Cranial Release, and Ayurveda.
Samaya is a California licensed acupuncturist specializing in family medicine. She earned her Master’s Degree in traditional Chinese medicine from Five Branches University, her Diploma of Naturopathic Medicine from Wellpark College of Natural Therapies and an Associate Degree in community health. She completed the DONA certified labor and postpartum doula education at the Seattle Midwifery School and has attended births for the last 15 years.
Samaya’s approach to natural medicine is interdisciplinary, holistic and individualized care tailored to each patients needs. She is passionate about holistic public healthcare, compassionate care, equity and equality within healthcare.
She utilizes acupuncture, herbs, diet and nutrition, lifestyle guidance, cupping, gua sha, traditional Asian body work, massage and shoni shin. Her experience includes working with families to achieve conception, during pregnancy, labor and delivery, continued care with families in the fourth trimester and beyond.
“I love working with families in the child bearing years. I chose to specialize in family health because every member of our family’s wellness is essential. I am a mother of two sons, and I am very compassionate to all young families. It’s a challenging and precious time, when people need extra support.”
Samaya offers specific acupuncture treatments in the office for Santa Cruz Midwives’ clients as part of their care package.’
KARA O’LOUGHLIN, LM, CPM
Kara is our backup assistant while she finishes her Masters in acupuncture.
I began my midwifery training in Ireland in 2006, working in Trinity College Dublin and the Coombe Women and Infants University Hospital. My work at Coombe was especially demanding, as it is the busiest maternity hospital in Europe … delivering more than 10,000 babies a year.
Through this rigorous and fast-paced working environment, I gained experience attending a diverse population of women. My passion for midwifery remained firmly in the ethos of home birth.
After graduation as a Registered Midwife in 2012, I immigrated to the US, where I gained the out of hospital experience necessary to qualify as a California Licensed Midwife. I have attended over 90 out of hospital births as the primary midwife and over 200 as a midwife on the labor ward.
Through my previous qualification and experience as an acupuncturist I combine my knowledge of Chinese medicine with my midwifery training to provide an integrative approach to the health and wellbeing of my clients.
I am accredited by the North American Registry of Midwives (NARM) and California Medical Board.
When planning a homebirth, it is so important to have a capable and comforting midwife by your side. Kara is exactly this. During our pre-natal visits, she listened carefully to my questions and concerns and made sure I had all the information I needed to make the right decisions for my and my baby’s care. Her warm personality made our visits so enjoyable and I always looked forward to them.
For my birth, she created a relaxed, safe space and helped me to feel confident in myself. My labor was very slow going and eventually I had to transfer to Dominican hospital, but having Kara by my side helped me to make that transition as smoothly as possible and keep me reassured.
Despite not having the homebirth I had hoped for, I felt like my birth went as well as it possibly could have done, and my baby and I were (and still are) 100% happy and healthy. Kara was integral to my positive birth experience and choosing her as my midwife was the best decision I could have made. I can’t recommend her highly enough!
Victoria, Bobby and Baby Alexander
Thank you, thank you! What would I have done without you? It was so incredibly amazing of you to show up for us in such an incredibly supportive way. You are an awesome midwife and we were very fortunate to have you.
We just wanted to say thank you for being such an incredible midwife! We really appreciate the care you gave me and the baby. Not to mention the way you included our 3 year old in the whole process. She loves you so much. We feel you went above and beyond. We all love and will miss seeing you. Thank you for helping us get our perfect birth. What an amazing birth story I have!
Keep in touch! Much Love and Respect.
Michelle & Brian
Thanks you again for helping our family have a wonderful home birth!
My daughter asked me if she can be a midwife when she grows up and if I will be her assistant. We will always remember you and always appreciate you! We love you!
You are the best midwife ever! You guided us towards a fabulous team, you gave us medical advice when we needed it and counseled us when that was needed. You provided us with the full spectrum of health care from homeopathics to western … all with a big dose of love. You are so incredibly skilled at what you do and we are forever thankful of your help bringing our baby into this world. We hope to see you next time around.
Rachel & Beau
Thank you so much for helping us bring our baby into the world! Your calm, upbeat presence was exactly what we needed. We appreciate everything you did for us and are eternally grateful for your assistance.
Thanks for everything. I couldn’t have done it without you!
J, Grayce & I have been so fortunate with our circle of friends and feel super lucky to have found you! You were a big source of inspiration to me and I thank you! I hope we continue to share life and children together in the years to come.
Dana, J, Grayce & Julia
It’s been such a pleasure getting to know you. Since the day we met, we knew it was a perfect match to work with you. We appreciate your care, thoughtfulness, humor, and professionalism. Thank you so much for helping to give our family a beautiful beginning!
Naraya, Elio, & Oa
I want to thank you againfor all the help with bringing Kiahna into the world. You have been a blessing in my life!
From the moment I met you I knew my birth experience would be perfect. I instantly had a trust and bond with you. Everything you have done for me and Keith was amazing. I am so lucky to have found you. What a different experience I would have had at the hospital, right? You gave me the most beautiful birth story and I wouldn’t have done it any other way! I can’t wait for the second now.