DC/NoVA Midwife and Doula Recs; "The Business of Being Born" Film

Updated on April 05, 2009
D.P. asks from Arlington, VA
8 answers

I looked under the "Midwives" subcategory and was surprised to see no entries -- could anyone recommend a midwife and/or doula in D.C. or Northern Virginia? Thanks in advance.

Also, I'm curious about whether anyone has seen the film Ricki Lake made, "The Business of Being Born."

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answers from Washington DC on

Marilee Pinkleton (http://www.tlcbirth.com) is my midwife and arguably the best midwife in the area! She's so fantastic and has some great apprentices/birth assistants---Wendy, Liz and Valerie (LOVE THEM!)! (Wendy and Valerie also teach Bradley!) They also provide doula support for the births they attend, so you wouldn't have to hire a separate one. If you did though, Lori Cooper is amazing! ###-###-#### This is normally her website, but something is wrong with it right now: http://www.transitionsbirthdoulas.com/

Midwives will meet with you before you even get pregnant so you can decide on who to hire. We interviewed three home birth midwives to get a good feel for the different styles and personalities of them--and we made a GREAT choice with Marilee!

If you wanted to go with a practice, I have heard great things about Birth Care (http://www.birthcare.org/) They do home and birth center births (I couldn't have used them since I'm a VBAC).

LOVE LOVE LOVE me some Business of Being Born! Should be mandatory viewing! :-)



answers from Washington DC on

Hi D.,

I'm using Marilee Pinkleton as my midwife. I really like her alot. She has an assistant who is also a doula. Her name is Wendy.

I saw "The Business of Being Born". It's a wonderful film and I think that it and the book "Ina May's Guide to Childbirth" should be required viewing/reading for all childbearing women. I definitely recommend it.

Marilee's website is www.tlcbirth.com

There's also a yahoo group called NoVaHomebirth. If you don't like Marilee, I'm sure the ladies on NoVaHomebirth could give you some other options.

If you're more comfortable in a hospital setting vs. homebirth, there's a practice in Alexandria called Physicians & Midwives. It's a collaborative practice that has a very low C-section rate. Their website is www.physiciansandmidwives.com

Good luck to you!

Kind regards,

Julia - This is a quote from the Physicians & Midwives website:
"Indeed, we find that our patients undergo cesarean section as much as 30 percent less than the average area woman, vaginal birth after cesarean success is 50 percent higher, and episiotomy and serious vaginal tear rates are substantially lower."

I'm not sure what the "area" c-section rate is but the state of VA has a c-section rate of approx. 26.8% (http://www.statemaster.com/graph/hea_cse_bir-health-c-sec....



answers from Washington DC on

Birthcare and Womens health is marvelous! I have had 2 going on 3 children with them. They are a group of 5 midwives. You can give birth at home or in their birth center. Their office is in Old Town on King Street. They also do well woman care. They fill up FAST so contact them early. Susan Dodge was my midwife for my 4th, she used to be with Birthcare but has branched out on her own. I lovd her! She comes to your home for all your appts and the birth. Her info: Phone: ###-###-#### Email: ____@____.com
I also know Erin Fulham with M.A.M.A.s is wonderful, she also used to be with Birthcare. I didn't have her at any of my births but had many appts with her. Her website is http://www.mamasmidwives.com. I loved "The Business of Being Born" worth watching! Cara Mulhahan who is one of the midwives featured in the documentary actually was my midwife for my 2nd when we lived in NYC ;) If you are thinking about what childbirth classes to take.. I highly recommend Bradley childbirth. You can find a list of instructors near you at www.bradleybirth.com. Good luck!



answers from Washington DC on

I would be interested in seeing the reference for the c-section stats for physicians and midwives. What do you mean by a low c-section rate?

Another option for hospital CNMs is Loudoun Community Midwives, CNMs who have privileges at Inova Loudoun Hospital, which has wireless monitoring, which allows moms to stay in the tubs for laboring (not birthing though). They have statistics on their c-section rate as well as other interventions on their website under News.


This practice of CNMs attend homebirths and birth center births.


Here is a list of the NOVA homebirth midwives.


J. C.



answers from Washington DC on

I highly recommend doula Sheila Rose Patton ###-###-####. She made sure I had the birth experience I wanted. I had a midwife and Sheila (my husband and another nurse was also present). I found it was the right combination for me.

Sheila's a Bradley instructor (although we did not take her course or any Bradley course), so she knows her stuff. She also had both her kids naturally - her daughter was just born at home.

I also saw the Ricki Lake film "the business of being born." Sheila lent it to me while I was pregnant. Very interesting -- and sad -- statement on our medical system.

I used Midwifery Care Associates for my delivery at Shady Grove Hospital in Maryland. I know you are looking in DC and VA, but thought I'd mention them anyway. They are affiliated with Simmonds & Simmonds. Great care! Sheila knows many of the local midwives and other doulas, so if she's not the right fit, I'm sure she can recommend someone for you. Best wishes.



answers from Washington DC on

I used Cathy Bailey as a doula. She is very experienced and was a calm and supportive presence during what was a very long labor and vaginal delivery without any pain meds whatsoever. I don't have her number at the tip of my fingers but could look it up if you are interested. She lives in VA. Her email is: ____@____.com

At 32 weeks I switched from an OB to Midwifery Care Associates in Bethesda. They recently moved and have an office in White Flint Mall in Rockville. I had a wonderful experience with them for the remaining weeks of my pregnancy and the birth. Chris was the midwife on call when I went into labor and she was EXCELLENT. I can't put into words how supportive and empowering the experience was for me. I highly recommend MCA and midwives in general. They used to have a birthing center that has now closed and deliver only at Shady Grove Hospital in north Rockville.

I had a friend who used the birthing center in Alexandria, VA and had a very positive experience there...

Good luck!



answers from Washington DC on

I've used Nurtured Beginnings, a practice of 3 doulas for each of my three births (www.nurtured-beginnings.com). I delivered each child at Fairfax Hospital and had great experiences each time. With my first, I did opt for an epidural. Immediately following it, there was a drop in the baby's heart rate and the nurse lectured me about a c-section. My doula and the nurse talked and quickly they got me into a position that put less stress on the baby. He was born vaginally within a few hours. She was a great help and a calming force.

With my second, the doula was there mainly just to fan me when I got hot. My daughter was born fast - just minutes after I got into the L&D room. The doula provided emotional support and helped me to see that I could do it (not that I had a choice!).

With my third, the doula actually got a chance to do some work with me! It was a middle-of-the-night delivery and she was there with me for the whole 3 hours of it. Contractions were hard, husband was walking the halls with our two kids so it was just Mary Beth and me working through each contraction with the ball and low-back pressure. I never could have done a natural birth without her! She helped me 'demand' to opt-out of a bed-pan and helped me to realize that the end was near and to hang in there.

You'd think a been-there-done-that-mother would not need a doula the second and third time, but they were a necessary part of my birth planning.



answers from Washington DC on

I'm a doula who lives in Burke, VA and works in NOVA and DC. I have some great midwife referrals, depending on your wishes for a homebirth or hospital birth, and would love to connect. Feel free to email me at ____@____.com.
I have absolutely seen the "BoBB" as it's called and I'm also excited about Ricki and Abby's upcoming book release for "Your Best Birth". Great insight into the current state of birthing in our county. If you are interested in seeing how beautiful birth can be I would HIGHLY recommend "Orgasmic Birth", I believe it is available on Netfix now but if not it's available for purchase online.
Hope this is helpful and would love to speak further!
K. Reynolds
Birth Doula and Childbirth Educator

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