Meet The Queen of Crunch! ♔ IRL 55

Meet The Queen of Crunch! ♔ IRL 55

Get a behind-the-scenes peek at my natural childbirth education course! Plus, meet the Queen of Crunch, aka my friend and favorite local doula Maura Winker! It’s In Real Life episode 55!

Stuff mentioned in this episode

This episode is sponsored by MightyNest

MightyNest is a unique online store where you can research, get advice and buy natural, organic and non-toxic products – all in one place. Oh yeah, and 15% of every purchase there is donated back to a local school.

In honor of Earth Month, MightyNest wants to share some of that healthy goodness with Mama Natural viewers. One lucky mama will win CuZn water filters for their bath and shower, valued at $135! Enter via this widget right here.

We love MightyNest, have partnered with them for years, and have purchased tons of non-toxic kitchen products and quirky wood toys from their shop. They also sell:

And here’s something cool that’s happening at MightyNest – the Mighty Fix! Every month for only $10, they’ll send you a surprise little something something to naturally delight and inspire.


What is the IRL show?

IRL stands for In Real Life, and it’s our weekly video blog where we talk about the stuff of real life. You know, food, faith, family and fun. Tune in every week to see what the Mama Natural clan is up to. Click here to see past episodes.

How about YOU?

Did you take a childbirth education course before you had your baby? What did you like and dislike about it? Share with us in the comments below!

Again, if you’re pregnant and would like more info about my natural childbirth course, just click here 🙂

About the Author

Genevieve Howland is a childbirth educator and breastfeeding advocate. She is the bestselling author of The Mama Natural Week-by-Week Guide to Pregnancy and Childbirth and creator of the Mama Natural Birth Course. A mother of three, graduate of the University of Colorado, and YouTuber with over 75,000,000 views, she helps mothers and moms-to-be lead healthier and more natural lives.


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  1. I signed up for more information about this course last week. Today, I received an “invoice” in my email from a Mike Abel. It seemed really suspicious so I didn’t download it but I wanted to check maybe it was for this class? Is your natural birth course free?

    • Hmm… that’s weird. No, we haven’t sent one email to the people who wanted to learn more about class. Furthermore, we’ve never heard of a Mike Abel. Not from us! 🙂

  2. It is so good to hear all the talk about the biggest organ our bodies has, the skin. There is a unit for the shower that adds minerals and takes out the chlorine. It also ionized the water. Which abundant free electrons float in the shower stall which you get to inhale. Much better than inhaling the chorine gases from the chlorinated water. because water is God’s Refreshing Drink.

  3. This new course sounds awesome! I did the at home Hypnobabies course with my daughter it was amazing! I had a hospital water birth, It was intense but no pain! Woohoo! Will definately do water and hypnosis again. Genevive, I’ve also seen a video and comment where you talked about doing a video or ebook about how you taught your kiddos to set soothe and sleep through the night. I’m hoping that’s on the agenda for the near future would love to get your take on that! Keep up the good work and enjoy your week off!

    • Thanks for the feedback on the course, Tara. We are super excited!

      As for sleep, that’s not something we’ll tackle anytime soon, as it’s such a tricky subject, and it so depends on the child. I do know that some people have had luck with The Sleep Lady’s book and info. Just google her, and good luck! We know full well that lack-of-sleep makes parenting (and life!) so much more challenging…

  4. I took a Bradley Method class for my first pregnancy and decided to skip the class for my second. I wish I hadn’t! It’s a great way to be focused on the pregnancy and birth, the knowledge is invaluable, and my second labor was very different from my first–I could have used a refresher. Glad you are offering this course, it sounds like just what I need!

  5. Love the video of the kids running laps! Too precious:)

  6. I didn’t take a childbirthing education class, but I did read A LOT. Some of my reading included a Hypnobirthing manual, some of Spiritual Midwifery, and Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth. My midwife early on said I was pretty knowledgeable already and it didn’t sound like I needed to take a class. I don’t think I did either! 41w2d, water broke, 16 1/2 hour labor, no medication, hospital water birth, 8 lb. 6 oz. 22 inch long baby!

  7. I am very newly pregnant with my first here in Chicago and only just moved here a few months ago. Having been a Mama Natural fan for years, I wonder if the community could recommend any birth centers here or midwifery practices. Would a doula be able to make such recommendations? If so, would it make sense to talk to a doula so soon to help me find a practice that will be open to allowing me to proceed throughout pregnancy and birth with minimal interventions? I need to find a place to make my first appointment – that is covered by my insurance – and I am totally overwhelmed! Ideas?

    • Hi Heather. Yes, a doula would definitely be able to give you some local recommendations. I’m most familiar with the west Chicago birth community. So West Suburban midwives in Oak Park, West Suburban hospital in Oak Park, and so on. I do know there’s a new birth center in Berwyn, IL. Feel free to reach out to Maura via her website at

      • Thank you so much for the recommendations! That gives me great direction, and I will definitely contact Maura!

    • Hi Heather –
      I’m in the city of chicago and did a ton of research for before becoming pregnant on options for low/no-intervention pregnancy and birth in the area. Once I got pregnant, I did 4 consults and chose West Suburban Midwives in Oak Park. I’m 22 weeks and so happy with them. There’s 4 midwives in their practice and they’re all so warm and wonderful. As midwives do, they focus on education and allow you to decide what tests/procedures are right for you. They birth in West Suburban hospital and they’re one of a few places who do water birth in the area. I also did consults with Swedish Covenant Midwives (in the city, hospital birth), Gentle Birth Care (city & suburbs home birth), and the midwife group at PCC in Berwyn. They’re affiliated with the only free standing birth center in Illinois. In my experience, practices will do free, new patient consults so you can get familiar with their practice and philosophies and pick somewhere that’s right for you. My midwife was also able to give me a comprehensive list of doulas and childbirth classes they recommend in the area. If you’re interested in water birth, I’ve heard (unconfirmed) that St. Mary’s is the only place that does water birth in the city.

  8. Love Maura! She’s one of the reasons I finally made the switch to West Sub (I was questioning my intuition at the time). One of my only labor regrets is that I didn’t hire her as a doula!

    I think the class is a great idea. I will say I loved the ritual of going to my Bradley class, even though it was across town and took a lot of time. I think a shortened class will be great for people with limited time (e.g., those considering natural for their second child or those who aren’t able to make a trip across town once a week), or as a refresher.

  9. I’m sad that I won’t get a new irl show next week, but I totally understand. Good for you taking a break!

  10. What a great idea! This would have come in handy with my first, as we were too broke and too far away for classes back then. I have four natural births under my belt now, so I feel as though I have a handle on the whole process (and I tend to have pretty easy deliveries thus far). But I will share on my midwife’s FB page! She’s all about some birthing classes.

  11. I took various courses provided by my birth center (ran by midwives) and attended a “Fearless birthing” discussion with a doula. I think it’s very important to prepare! But also to believe in your capabilities to do what woman have done since our existence, and surround yourself with experienced woman who believe the same! 🙂

    I’ll def be checking out your course more! Looks awesome!

  12. I loved my birth ed course, it was awesome. It was ran by 3 doulas at our only out of hospital birth center in NYC. Brooklyn Birthing Center <3

  13. So happy to hear you are doing this. I’m training to be a doula and live in a pretty remote area. I will definitely refer new-mommy’s-to-be to you! Do you plan on having an affiliate program? 🙂

    • We will at some point! First step is to roll it out in June, take the initial group of students through the course, refine it, run it again, and then open it up to affiliates in the Fall sometime. Stay tuned and best wishes on your doula training!

  14. So stoaked mama!!! We have needed a quality natural childbirth class online for forever!! I searched and searched when I was pregnant!! Thank you! Can’t wait to pass it on to my Doula clients 🙂 yay!

  15. We took a Bradley class and I truly loved it, but it was an hour away!! Actually, so was our midwife, so we were driving a LOT in those days. The second time around, I plan to do things a little differently. Your class might be just thing for a refresher! I’m curious to check it out when it comes out. 🙂

  16. I’m so excited for these videos! I’m due at the end of July with our first baby, and I’m soaking up all the research I can get. I just think it’s the coolest thing ever! I also have a feeling my husband will enjoy a video series more than an in-person class. So, that’s cool 🙂

  17. Hey Genevieve,

    I am due in 6 days and this will be my second birth but 1st (God-willing) natural birth. Curious if you have any suggestions that will help (obviously it is short notice) me with such short notice. I have read the books you suggested in one of your video/blogs and have my EOs ready, but I am still feeling that I am unprepared for what is to come. I have a history of anxiety, and I am afraid that will get to me during labor. Any help would be appreciated. I was unable to take Bradley classes as I am in an area of WI that none were offered. Thanks!

    • Do you have a doula? They’re worth their weight in GOLD. Crazy as it sounds, it’s not too late. Hop on or ask friends and get a doula over to your place TONIGHT. Seriously.

      Of course, every birth is a mystery, but take comfort in the fact that many second births are faster and easier than the first. Here are posts about my second birth:

      Finally, if you are a daughter of the King, and it sounds like you are, pick up this Childbirth In The Glory album on MP3.

      Best wishes to you!

      • I’m with you mama. I was induced and had an induction the first go around, but if I’m blessed with a second child I want to do it naturally. The problem is in the area I live midwives and Doulas are almost nonexistent. I’m afraid that I won’t be able to do it when it comes that time.

        • Caitlin,

          Your last sentence really touched me, and I want to share something with you. I have a lifelong fear and anxiety about needles. When I was pregnant, I knew I didn’t want a hospital birth (for numerous reasons) but I wondered how in the world was I going to deliver a baby when I can’t even stand needles?

          Turns out, it was the best thing that ever happened to me. Seriously. We couldn’t afford a doula or to attend any birthing classes. We had a midwife and her assistant and I gave birth at home.

          The resource that best helped me is watching births over and over and over. I read several books as well, but there is really no substitute for being visually viscerally prepared and comfortable with the process. Youtube was a great resource, both people posting (!) and you can find a British documentary called The Midwives (not to be confused with the teledrama series “Call the Midwife.”) (After reading/watching the resources below, The Midwives taught me what not to do, which was valuable information.) Everyone is different, but after you see births for the umpteenth time, you kind of get the hang of what to expect, and it doesn’t become so scary.

          The other resource I would highly recommend is a book called Active Birth by Janet Balaskas. You don’t have to read every section, but certainly about the three stages of labor and what to expect, how it feels, etc. IT is worth its weight in gold. Instead of being scared by what was happening to my body, I recognized the three stages. I recognized that the baby was coming before the midwife arrived and slowed down my labor using a position I learned in that book. If it wasn’t for that book, I might have delivered before the midwife arrived. (She arrived at 5 am. My daughter was born 5:39 am.)

          I also found it helpful to learn about hospital birthing procedures so you know what to expect and what to accept. Documentaries like “The Business of Being Born” were helpful (You can view it for free here:

          It is really unfortunate that there are so few midwives in the US compared to other countries, where the majority of births are attended by… midwives. If you are in labor in the middle of a forest and there is a midwife in one corner and an ob-gyn in another, run, do not walk, to the midwife. That’s what I learned after watching, reading, researching. But it is of course up to you.


          • I will have to check that book out if I ever have another baby. My past two labors, I didn’t realize I was in labor until transition. My third son was born at home, but not on purpose. I was on the phone with the midwife and he “fell” into the birth canal, and I caught him standing up. Although we were supposed to go to a birthing center, so I’m not sure if this position is one you can do in the car. lol. But it would be useful information, as we’d like to do a home birth next time if we have another baby.

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