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With Woman was created in an effort to provide clinical opportunities for midwives and midwifery students, and to link midwives from diverse cultures and training with each other for the purpose of exchanging ideas, practices, and friendship. Our training and our beliefs are rooted in the neo-traditional practices (traditional skills blended with those that are evidence-based). We have worked in the midwifery field for nearly 30 years, watching as these time-honored ways have given way to Western medicine. In addition to high financial and social costs, and little improvement in outcomes, these methods ignore the value of traditional practices.

With Woman supports the work of independent Traditional Midwives (TMs), which is currently nullified by international organizations, governments and Western medicine. Our goal is to ensure the survival of ancient midwifery knowledge by making it accessible to students and promoting respect, acceptance of, and cooperation with TMs by groups and clients involved in health care. With Woman hopes to enrich midwifery practices and create more solidarity and exchange among midwives and cultures globally.

Additionally, With Woman promotes natural, humane birth through its work with maternity clinics around the world. Our organization encourages personal responsibility in the community for health, family, and community issues.


Dana K. Combest


Dana Combest, co-founder of With Woman, has been a practicing midwife since 1978; she is a Licensed Midwife in Washington State (since 2001) and a Certified Professional Midwife. Additionally, she is a Certified Childbirth Educator, Lactation Counselor, and Labor Assistant. Dana served as the Academic Director for Ancient Art Midwifery Institute from 1994 until 2005, and its Field Opportunities Coordinator since 2004. She teaches introductory classes in neo-traditional & modern midwifery skills around the US. Dana has worked in and/or accompanied students to maternity clinics in Jamaica, Senegal, and Honduras. Dana firmly believes that the future of midwifery lies in the knowledge and skills of the past blended with current evidence-based practices.

Lauren Schowe

Lauren Schowe, CPM, co-founder of With Woman and currently practicing homebirth midwifery in Colorado, has lived extensively in Ecuador and Argentina, assisting births in clinics, public hospitals and at home with indigenous midwives in the countryside. She is a trained social change organizer with experience organizing environmental and human rights campaigns, in both national and international settings, as well as a Waldorf class teacher and hospice volunteer. Lauren is a member of the CIMS (Coalition for Improving Maternity Services) International Committee, working on crafting the Global Motherbaby-Friendly Initiative, in addition to a facilitator for the Trust Birth Initiative, member of the California Association of Midwives and the Colorado Midwives Association, and student of Ancient Art Midwifery Institute. She has a special interest in combining traditional birth wisdom with modern day knowledge in her own practice and in supporting traditional midwives in theirs.



Asela Calhoun

Asela Calhoun holds a Masters Degree in Organizational Management, is a certified childbirth educator and doula, and has 20 years of practical experience with various aspects of perinatal education. In addition to teaching childbirth education and providing doula services at home, hospital, and birth centers, Asela has developed full curriculum for training leading to certification of birth assistants (doulas) in English and Spanish in the USA, Latin America, Mexico, and Puerto Rico. Asela has made several trips to train doulas in South America. Asela was born in Cuba and moved to the USA when she was 16. She is a recipient of the Red Cross Spirit in recognition of work performed with underserved population at Daniel Freeman Hospital in Inglewood, CA (1997).

Nati Steverlynck

Nati Steverlynck was born in Argentina and moved to Costa Rica in 1997, when she began midwifery training through apprenticeship in a homebirth practice. She has been a student of Ancient Art Midwifery Institute since 2000 and has done intensive clinical training in Texas while serving in the Hispanic population. Nati is a member of AMAN and Asociasión Mamasol, whose missions are to support birthing women and their families to find and create options for safe and gentle birth, and to introduce the midwifery model to Costa Rica. Having traveled throughout the Honduras, Nicaragua, Argentina and other Latin American countries, working in different settings, Nati realizes that women today are limited both in terms of available birthing options and in midwifery training and educational opportunities. She sees a need to put energy and resources into these two areas. Nati is also an artist, and colors come to life in her childbirth classes.

Carrie Blake

Carrie Blake, CPM, currently lives and practices in Idaho as an Idaho Licensed Midwife. Prior to that, Carrie was a Registered Midwife in Colorado. She has worked for limited periods of time in Senegal and Niger, is founder of the WW project, "Train Midwives Save Lives", and has traveled to several countries to hear the concerns of local midwives, what they want and need to improve their care, and to learn their practices and traditions so that we can share their knowledge with others. Carrie is pursuing her Masters of Public Health, focusing on public health issues in developing nations; she is intensely interested in using evidence based practice to come alongside traditional midwives for knowledge sharing and looking for culturally appropriate ways to reduce maternal and infant mortality.

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