Choices in Childbirth Welcomes New Members to our Board of Directors!

April 9, 2014 by

Choices in Childbirth envisions a world where every mother and child has access to care that is safe, healthy, respectful, and deeply satisfying.  We are thrilled to announce two new board members to help us realize this vision!

It is with great pleasure that we welcome our newest Board Members,, Samantha Hillstrom and Dana Huber, to the Choices in Childbirth Board of Directors!  This is a critical moment for Choices in Childbirth and for the birth movement, at large, and we feel blessed to have such capable and passionate women helping guide this organization.

Samantha Hillstrom is a DONA International birth doula, cooperative childbirth educator (CEA/MNY), and a Communications Director for a department within a New York City medical school. She currently sits on the Board of Directors for the Childbirth Education Association of Metropolitan New York and is the founder of Lavender Labor and Birth Services. Samantha works with pregnant couples across the city and teaches evidence-based, family-centered childbirth education in Manhattan and Brooklyn. She started the only LGBTQ-specific childbirth education class aimed at providing a supportive and positive space for LGBTQ parents-to-be. Prior to her work in birth, she was an Associate Producer in primetime television at CNN. Samantha graduated from Marymount Manhattan College with a Bachelor of Arts in Communications, Cum Laude. 

samanthahillstromnyu2“It is an honor and privilege to be joining the Board of Directors for Choices in Childbirth, a groundbreaking organization for which I have the utmost respect. As a childbirth educator and birth doula, I am passionate about informing and educating people on their pregnancy and birth options. I am delighted to join such a talented and fearless team of individuals committed to improving the landscape of maternity care in New York City and across America.”


Dana Huber has spent her career working to elevate women’s health on state, national and global agendas. As a Senior Associate at Rabin Martin (a public health consulting firm), she currently collaborates with clients and partners to develop comprehensive programs to improve maternal health in the U.S. Before joining Rabin Martin, Dana supported the Gender, HIV/AIDS and Security program at the Social Science Research Council, where her work focused on the relationships between gender-based violence, health and human security.  Dana has a Bachelor of Arts in International Development Studies and Political Science from UCLA, a Masters in International Relations from the University of Chicago and a Masters of Public Health in Healthy Policy and Management from the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health.

danahuber“As a passionate advocate for reproductive rights, I am thrilled to join the accomplished and dedicated Board of Directors for Choices in Childbirth. Choice should be a fundamental tenet of all sexual and reproductive healthcare services; Choices in Childbirth provides education and safe space for conversation about these issues to help women and their partners make informed decisions about their own healthcare.”


The Choices in Childbirth staff and Board of Directors are extremely excited about the year ahead as we continue to work towards helping families make informed choices about how they give birth. Please join me in welcoming Samantha and Dana to the Choices in Childbirth Board of Directors!

Élan McAllister

Founder and Executive Director, Choices in Childbirth

Happy Healthy Child

March 27, 2014 by

HHC Fan Final

“I think a lot of young women today miss what a powerful thing birth is. It shapes you to your innermost core. However you go through birth, you are not the same as you were before. You are another self, so it’s really worth preparing for.”
– Ina May Gaskin (Happy Healthy Child)

If you are pregnant, hoping to become pregnant, or work in any capacity with parents-to-be, please check out Happy Healthy Child: A Holistic Approach, an exceptional new childbirth education DVD series.

This four-part series shares the wisdom, expertise and insights of more than 30 world-renowned OB/GYNs, midwives, pediatricians, scientists, psychologists, childbirth educators, sleep experts, lactation specialists and more. It provides the practical information and current scientific research you need in order to understand all of the options you have available during your pregnancy, birth and early parenting experience.

With skyrocketing cesarean section rates reaching between 30-50% in most major hospitals, infant and maternal mortality on the rise, and autism, obesity and other chronic health conditions reaching epidemic proportions in children, it is more important than ever that we understand that the way women care for themselves prenatally, the way babies enter this world and their earliest experiences have long-lasting implications on their happiness and health.

Unfortunately, today most expectant parents are not taking childbirth classes and many aren’t getting to the stack of books that they had planned to read. Sadly, many couples are entering this magical time in their lives feeling fearful and unprepared instead of confident, empowered and excited. And, many are not ending up with the experiences they had hoped for.

Happy Healthy Child shares the evidence-based research you need to help you make informed choices for yourself and your family. It will help you eliminate underlying anxieties, avoid unnecessary and unwanted interventions and feel prepared for this beautiful time in your life. You deserve to understand everything that is available to you! And, as one of the wonderful experts in this series says, “If you don’t know your options, you don’t have any.”

Featured experts include:
∗ Christiane Northrup, MD, internationally recognized authority in women’s health, a board certified OB/GYN and New York Times bestselling author.
∗ Ina May Gaskin, widely known as “the mother of authentic midwifery” and a practicing midwife for over 40 years.
∗ Bruce Lipton, PhD, stem cell biologist recognized as one of the leading voices in new biology and epigenetics.
∗ Bob Sears, MD, board-certified pediatrician and co-author of six books in the highly acclaimed Sears Parenting Library.

And many more…

Topics covered in the series include:
∗ Optimally caring for your baby within your womb (nutrition, stress management, beneficial modalities to support a healthy pregnancy)
∗ The best ways to prepare for your labor and birth
∗ Building your birth team (midwives, ob/gyns, doulas)
∗ Overcoming the intensity of labor
∗ Common interventions and how to avoid the unnecessary ones
∗ Taking care of your new baby (bonding, breastfeeding, infant sleep, etc.)

You will learn fascinating information such as:
∗ The #1 thing you can do during your pregnancy to improve your developing baby’s future intelligence
∗ What most women are encouraged to do in labor that triples their chances of having a cesarean section
∗ A scientifically proven way to decrease the length of your labor by 25%
∗ A widely touted parenting practice that science has proven can be damaging to your baby

Happy Healthy Child is a beautifully made series that I highly recommend to EVERYONE who is interested in humankind. Every pregnant woman and those who love her need to watch this amazingly beautiful and informative series!
– Dr. Christiane Northrup (MD, FACOG)

Knowledge is power and this unique series provides an unparalleled line up of experts and depth of topics covered. The hard work of researching and compiling the most crucial information has been done for you. And most importantly, in a time when parents are constantly encouraged to look to others for what is right for themselves and their families, the experts in this series share their expertise while reminding expectant couples to always listen to their most powerful parenting tool – their own intuition!

PURCHASE HERE and for this week only, Choices in Childbirth supporters will receive a 25% discount off the $89.95 price by using the Promo Code: CiC. Please don’t miss out AND 50% of the profits from your purchase will go to supporting CiC!

“This series is spectacular!” – Jeanne Ohm (Editor, Pathways to Family Wellness)

I have seen educational DVDs for four times the price which are not even half as good as this! As a childbirth educator, labor doula, prenatal yoga instructor, lactation specialist and La Leche League Leader, I am thrilled with this series! It is everything I want my clients to see, and saves me so much time and effort. Instead of providing documents, links and spending hours on instruction, couples can now hear it all from the best doctors, midwives and specialists in the field.
– Romy Rapoport (Childbirth Educator/Doula)

Frankly, since I’d already given birth twice by the time I watched the series, I didn’t think I’d want to sit through it all, but I was riveted! This DVD childbirth education course is FULL of good information for those who are seeking a low-intervention birth. Getting the birth we want is never a guaranteed thing but we can totally stack the odds in our favor.
– Heather Dessigner (Writer/researcher; Mommypotamus blog)

Happy Healthy Child is a fabulous resource. You would have to read more than 30 books and attend many workshops for this kind of content. This series is great for parents who do not have access to holistic childbirth classes. It is also a good way to involve your spouse without expecting them to do tons of reading. This would make a perfect baby shower gift. – Dr. Jill Craig (Chiropractor)

This video series is absolutely amazing!!! I am a holistic pediatrician and from a medical standpoint, it provides us with a wonderful array of practitioners and is so informative….no other video series compares! I would recommend this to all my patients.
– Diana Lopusny (Pediatrician)

Just wanted to drop you a quick note to say that we are LOVING these DVDs – they are life changing for first-time would-be parents like us. Not only have we completely changed our birth plan but it has been wonderful to see my husband (who won’t read any books on the subject) completely engrossed and unbelievably supportive of giving our little one the most natural, peaceful entry into this world possible. I cannot recommend the DVDs enough and I’m telling all my friends and anyone who will listen to buy them.
– Aneta R. (Mom-to-be)

To learn more about the series and to receive three FREE video chapter excerpts directly from the series, please visit

NYC Maternity Care Access – What was your experience with childbirth?

March 25, 2014 by

Choices in Childbirth is evaluating how women’s needs are being met in their maternity care.  We are currently developing a report on access to doula care that can serve as a resource for families, health care providers, and advocates, and will be following this up by investigating women’s access to the midwifery model of care. We are asking both moms and doulas to share their experiences and voices with us.

Help us tell the story of what maternity care is really like for women across New York City!

Please fill out our online survey to share your experience and help improve care and options for all women across the City.

The survey will take about 20 minutes. If you need to take a break, you can complete the survey later as long as you use the same computer and browser.

Thank you in advance for your time and effort towards improving maternity care for all moms and babies in NYC!

~ Your Friends at Choices In Childbirth


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