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M. Catherine Schaefer, CNM, ND, MN

  • Certified Nurse Midwife
  • Midwifery Birth Center – Gateway
Phone Number: (503) 855-1220

Catherine has spent her life helping others. She grew up under the tutelage of a very active community nurse - her mother, and spent her youth assisting in any way she could. As a teenager, she was drawn to alternative medicine and attended the National College of Naturopathic Medicine (NCNM - now NUNM) in Portland, Oregon after receiving her bachelor’s degree in science and anthropology. Catherine fell in love with midwifery after attending a home birth in 1979 and birthing her first child at home in 1980. She focused her studies at NCNM in midwifery, women’s health care and pediatrics. 

After 22 years attending births in homes and birth centers and catching more than 1,000 babies, Catherine returned to school in 2000 to broaden her scope of midwifery. She attended OHSU for her bachelor’s degree in nursing and her master’s in nurse midwifery. While the hospital experience of birthing taught her much, Catherine has never swayed in her belief that natural birth in an out-of-hospital setting provides the greatest possibility for optimal birth experiences, which is what drew her to the Midwifery Birth Center. She has a deep passion for assisting couples to begin and continue their lives together as parents and in helping them understand how to raise great people.

“Birth usually unfolds in a natural rhythm unique to each woman, but can occasionally present unexpected surprises when intervention is needed and appropriate. My experience and training as both a nurse-midwife and naturopathic physician allows me to be prepared for those situations. At the same time, my perspective is always balanced by my trust in the birth process and understanding that whatever is needed can be greeted with respect and awe.”

Catherine has four children, all now grown and off exploring the world. She feels blessed to have been able to birth them all at home. She lives with her husband, three dogs and many animals on a farm where her husband is responsible for a small private school. When she is not catching babies, Catherine enjoys being with her family, digging in her flower garden and working with her hands. 

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