Archive for the ‘Choices’ Category

Choosing a Care Provider Education Class

November 26, 2013

Choices in Childbirth hosted our free monthly workshop this past Thursday (11/21/13) at the 14th Street Y; this month’s topic was Choosing a Care Provider.  As the CiC intern with no plan of baby in my near future, I have thought little of what my potential care provider will look like. Yet as the room filled up with expectant women and their partners, it became clear that this is a topic on a lot people’s minds.  Tanya, a member of our education and program committee, and a student midwife and child educator herself,facilitated the discussion and introduced couples that struggled to find their right fit.  As the stories accumulated, this idea of choosing the right care provider felt a lot like Goldie Locks and the Three Bears: you have to test all the beds until you come to the one that makes you feel comfortable and safe. 

Each couple shared their stories of starting with an obstetrician, midwife, doctor, hospital, birthing center, etc. and feeling as though they weren’t part of “the team”: they weren’t being included in the decision making process, despite feeling like they knew and trusted their bodies.  They also described the shame and embarrassment that their former providers caused.  For instance, all three women were told they had gained too much weight in a short span of time, and how this would negatively impact their pregnancy, labor, and baby.

Another common theme throughout their stories was their feeling disconnected from their provider. Their provider took no time to get to know them and thus learn what they wanted from their birthing experience.

All the women ended their stories with this pearl of wisdom: keep looking until you find the provider whose values align with yours. If you go into your birth experience with someone who doesn’t have the same vision, then it will likely be bad. But if you’re able to find the person who you feel understands what you want, then it will be good. That, and get a doula.

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Unveiling Nassau University Medical Center’s New Birthing Center

October 14, 2013

How many hospitals do you know of that offer waterbirth or fully support the midwifery model of care?  How many L&D departments are run by a chairman convinced that mother-friendly care is the gold standard that all hospitals should strive to provide to birthing women? While the answer should be “many” if not “all, “ImageImageImage the opposite is the norm.

As an Ecstatic Birth advocate and Choices In Childbirth (CiC) board member, I am often asked “Where can I have the best birth experience?” The majority of women aren’t comfortable with the answer “home.”  Yet the alternatives, birthing centers or mother-friendly hospital programs are sorely lacking.

This week, I  had the pleasure of accompanying CIC’s Executive Director Elan McAllister to a community outreach forum at Nassau University Medical Center where they are unveiling a new birthing center this fall. We were thrilled to discover that NUMC is is a bright light of hope in an otherwise dark landscape of birthing options on Long Island.

The forum began by acknowledging each and every midwife present with a rose in honor of Midwifery Week. This touching gesture set the stage for an uplifting panel of presenters where we learned that NUMC has successfully been integrating midwives and mother-friendly care into their labor and delivery program for years. We witnessed an incredible air of collaboration and mutual respect between the doctors and the midwives that work at NUMC.

In an era where it feels challenging to find consistent mother-friendly care in a hospital setting, NUMC provides a great model for how it can and does work. Their outcome statistics fully back the program up. They boast the lowest c-section rate on Long Island by far- (at 28.1% in 2011, they were the only hospital in the county with a rate below 42%).

Elan was invited to share CIC’s work, a large part of which involves advocacy to make sure that women have access to a full range of evidence-based best practices when choosing where and how to birth.  The last decade has been heartbreaking in the NY area as many programs that delivered mother-friendly options to women have closed down- despite the fact that all the evidence shows that such models deliver better outcomes for moms, babies, AND our health care system. CIC is currently undergoing a huge initiative known as the NYC Report to better illuminate the birth landscape and pave the way for better options; NUMC’s program is a prime example of what works.


Sheila Kamara Hay is a writer, Ecstatic Birth advocate, CIC board member and super-mama to three little ones. She can be found writing about pleasure and childbirth at

Happy Mother’s Day!! PLUS What’s Going on at Choices in Childbirth

May 10, 2013

This Mother’s Day, Choices in Childbirth would like to celebrate all of the moms out there as well as the amazing community of Mother-Friendly care providers who have supported them. Wishing you all beautiful birth memories this weekend!

Here’s what’s happening in the birth world and at Choices in Childbirth!!

Preparing for PostpartumThursday, May 16, 2013, 6:15-8:30pm, FREE, 14th Street Y (344 E. 14th St, bet. 1st & 2nd aves) 

The period following the birth of your baby will likely be something of a love fest as you get to know your child. It can also be a time when new families sometimes feel overwhelmed and isolated as we get our bearings as parents and figure out how to care for a newborn, our relationship, and ourselves.
We hope you will join Choices in Childbirth for an evening of stories from new and experienced parents who recently made a variety of choices during the period of time following the births of their babies.  Additionally, bring your questions for New York City postpartum doula, Julia Mannes, and Valerie Lynn, author of the The Mommy Plan, Restoring Your Post-Pregnancy Body Naturally, Using Women’s Traditional Wisdom.  Suggested Donation: $10-$20 RSVP Here!

Miss the Business of Being Born: Classroom Edition Screening at NYU? It’s not too late! We filmed the event & now you can watch it whenever you want!

Panelists on April 25th (photo credit Alice Garik)
On Thursday, April 25th, Choices in Childbirth partnered with NYU’s Nurse-Midwifery program to screen The Business of Being Born: Classroom Edition! Following the film, Professor Gene Declercq presented his incredible new data for Birth by the Numbers and there was a panel discussion with
  • Professor Gene Declercq, Boston University School of Public Health
  • Abby Epstein, Director of The Business of Being Born
  • Patricia Burkhardt, CM, DrPH
  • Elan McAllister, Founder & Executive Director of Choices in Childbirth
  • Dr. Jacques Moritz, OBGYN
If you are interested in watching the film, you can purchase it at, and if you’re interested in watching the presentation and panel discussion, please e-mail Julia at

Just Released! Listening to Mothers III: Pregnancy and Birth

See what 2400 moms had to say about their pregnancy and birth experiences. Brought to you by Childbirth Connection. Click here to read!

Alice Garik: Childbirth Photographer

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Alice Garik’s dedication to the empowerment of women guides her childbirth photography. A professional photographer, her calm and respectful presence will give you photographs to cherish of your birth and newborn. Her focused attention will allow your partner to be with you and in the experience, not reaching for the camera. Alice offers packages that include a maternity session with childbirth and newborn photographs.

FREE – Flatten Your Post-Baby Tummy Classes - Turn Flab to Fab in 8 Weeks! 

MRPT Physical Therapy is offering free classes to showcase an exciting new series of post-baby exercises for new moms. The class will be taught 1 time per week for 8 weeks at MRPT conveniently located 1 block from Grand Central. Participants must be willing to commit to attending all 8 classes and should be a few years postpartum or less.

Our new series of classes start on Tuesday, June 4 at 11am
Please e-mail or call (212) 661-2933 if you are interested.

Special Mother’s Day Offer:

Final days to purchase the award winning documentary film about legendary midwife, Ina May Gaskin, just in time for Mother’s Day! The Choices in Childbirth community can purchase the DVD or download the film online with a 15% discount off the retail price!
Use the code BIRTHSTORYCIC for 15% OFF! Go to to download or order your DVD.

Need More Guides?

The 2013 National and NYC Metro Guide to a Healthy Birth are available online to order! These Guides are free to the public. If you would like copies of this resource to be sent to your home, office, or community center, we ask that you please pay for the cost of shipping. Click here to order the new guides. 
National and NYC Metro Guides are available.


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