New Websites, New Logos, New Look!

The following is an excerpt from our November e-newsletter. To sign up to receive our (low volume) newsletter, please click here.

Dear Friends of the Brooklyn Midwifery Group and Brooklyn Birthing Center,

Have you noticed our new look? Brooklyn Birthing Center has a brand new logo and an updated website! We also recently launched a new website for our provider group, Brooklyn Midwifery Group. Why the separate website? While our midwives are best known for providing prenatal care and attending deliveries at the birthing center, we wanted to highlight the fact that our midwives also offer routine gynecological care and family planning. Please visit the new Brooklyn Midwifery Group website for more information, including office hours and directions.

We are also very pleased to announce the birth of Brooklyn Lactation Group’s website! This site features detailed information about our breastfeeding support services, which are available to all new and expecting parents. The best part? We accept most insurance plans for lactation visits. Check out Brooklyn Lactation Group’s Resources page for information about insurance coverage under the ACA, legal protections for breastfeeding moms, educational hand-outs, recommended websites, and more!

Last but not least, we renovated and redecorated our birthing center! Brooklyn Birthing Center now boasts two large suites with private tubs, a cozy postpartum suite, a updated family room with a pull-out couch, and an redecorated classroom:



The original artwork adorning our walls was generously donated by the friends and family of the late Chris Twomey. Ms. Twomey’s mixed-media meditations on birth, babies, and motherhood are a perfect fit for BBC. We are honored to showcase Ms. Twomey’s work and help to preserve her legacy.


Another Happy BBC Birth Story!

We just love it when clients let us share their stories- though we recommend grabbing a box of tissues before reading any further. We can’t make it through this one without crying tears of joy for this mama and her beautiful family!

It’s been a week since I birthed my son, Isaac, at the BBC, and I wanted to let the staff know how much I appreciated the superlative care I received with them.

I did not begin my pregnancy in a great state. ​My son​ was developing beautifully and my husband and I were thrilled for the pregnancy, but I was visiting an OB whose highly interventionist practice made me uncomfortable, and whose administrative staff struggled to navigate the complicated ins and outs of the Affordable Care Act health insurance plans, adding a huge amount of stress to an already unsettled time.

I’d done some reading on midwifery in this country, and I knew I was interested in working and birthing with midwives. When I finally made the switch from the OB to the BBC, about 7 months on, I felt like I’d come home. ​Each friendly, reassuring prenatal visit felt tailored to me and to my needs (physical and emotional), and I felt like the midwives and administrative staff at the BBC were invested and interested in my care. (Side note: I have yet to have health insurance admin issues since switching to the BBC – what a relief! Well done, BBC) On the advice of the BBC staff, my husband and I enrolled in the excellent Childbirth Preparation, Breastfeeding and Newborn Care classes offered at the BBC, and we found this helpful, insightful information empowering as my son’s due date approached.

When I finally did go into labor, the excellent midwife Denine was easy to contact and very clear and reassuring over the phone. After I had labored at home for about 12 hours with my husband, sister, and doula, Denine advised me to come to the Center, and admitted me about an hour after our arrival, pending another centimeter’s dilation – to assist this, I needed to walk to the end of the block and back, and though I was convinced we’d only been gone 10 minutes, it actually took me 6 times that time…

Once they’d admitted me, Denine and birth assistant Angie were careful to keep an eye on me and make me feel safe, while essentially leaving me to continue laboring with my little birth team. I labored in the tub (hydrotherapy is amazing!!), over a birthing ball, on the toilet, standing, and probably other ways that I don’t remember. In addition to working with me, Denine and Angie worked beautifully with my team, suggesting ways my team could help me and reassuring my sister and husband.

When pushing time came, Denine and Angie jumped into action. They were focused, efficient and encouraging – I’d been laboring for nearly 20 hours and was getting very tired. They gave my son and me some oxygen toward the end, but thankfully, that was the only ‘intervention’ I needed. They never let me doubt that my body was up to this monumental task.

After what seemed like an eternity, I pushed out my son, with my doula and husband at my head, Denine eye to eye with me down front, and my sister and Angie supporting my legs. The moments after the birth were a blur; mostly I remember a howling, thrashing purple body on my chest and looking up and seeing my exhausted sister quietly crying in the corner. Just to add to the surreal intensity of the moment, a thunderstorm began outside.

Denine stitched me up, Angie got my husband, baby Isaac and me comfortable, and my parents came in to meet their grand-baby – they’d arrived around the time I started pushing. Eventually, Angie swapped shifts with another birth assistant, Shalawn, and my little mini family settled down to sleep, with my parents sleeping in the family room next door. My husband slept some, and I tried, but mostly I just watched Isaac sleep.

I’m writing all of this down because I want to remember these details, and I am so grateful to have had a birth experience where I was able to be mentally present the whole time, even in a sort of surreal way. My son’s birth was intensely challenging and hugely rewarding, and I cannot fully express in words how grateful I am to the BBC for helping me have this incredible experience.

10 days later, Isaac is growing and feeding like a demon, with a deliciously weird little personality and a rocket-launcher metabolism. He is unimaginably perfect and my husband and I are wholly besotted with our little guy.

Thanks so much for all that you do. Y’all are getting a good Yelp shout-out from me!

Best regards and thanks from Barbara, John and Isaac


Why Birth Centers Matter: An Amazing Testimonial From a New Mom

Here at Brooklyn Birthing Center, we have been working with other advocates to improve legislation for freestanding birthing centers in New York state. For more information and action alerts, please see our most recent e-newsletter!

When we asked the experts- our fabulous mamas- to weigh in on why New York state needs more freestanding birthing centers, we received this AMAZING testimonial from a new mom. Thanks for sharing your story, Anne!

“To say that I am grateful for the birthing experience that I had at the Brooklyn Birthing Center does not adequately describe my feelings. When my husband and I found out we were expecting we immediately began searching for the kind of care provider and facility that would allow us to have the natural birth experience that we were looking for. We were not quite ready for a home birth but knew that we preferred to not be in a hospital setting. After some research, I was so excited to find the Brooklyn Birthing Center, and was, honestly, quite surprised that it was really the only option available. 

The prenatal care I received there was personal, thorough, and informative. I appreciated the midwives hands-on approach and the time they spent getting to know me and my wants and fears surrounding birth. By the time my third trimester rolled around, I felt very comfortable at the practice and with all staff members that I came in contact with. The atmosphere at the center felt safe and welcoming instead of sterile and cold, like some hospitals that we toured. 

On the day I went into labor I was in touch with the midwife on call throughout the day as I labored at home. When I arrived at the birth center it was a bit of a blur, I was coming into my 10th hour of labor and was really working hard. The midwife and birth assistants brought such a calm energy and their presence and knowledge made be feel at ease as I worked through my contractions. I won’t go into all the details of the birth but I will tell you that it was the most amazing and beautiful experience of my life. I was blessed to have an uncomplicated pregnancy and birth and I am so thankful that I was able to deliver in a setting that supported me and believed in me and the kind of birth experience that I wanted to have. 

My perfect baby boy was delivered in the water and given to me right away. We were able to stay skin to skin through most of the exam and while I delivered the placenta. My husband and I were able to stay together and sleep in the room with the newest member of our family. We were given time to just stare at this perfect baby that just came into our lives. 

So, yes, I am grateful for my experience at the Brooklyn Birthing Center. I am also very certain that I would not have had the same experience at a hospital. For this reason I hope that the birth center option becomes available to more women and partners who are interested in having a low intervention, safe, medical yet homey environment to bring babies into the world. Birth is a natural process and a birth center allows that process to happen on its own time, in its own way.

Thank you, BBC!” -Anne Klar



Spring Into Action for New York Birthing Centers!

The following is an excerpt from our most recent e-newsletter. To sign up for monthly e-mail updates, click here.

Dear Friends of the Brooklyn Midwifery Group and Brooklyn Birthing Center,

It looks like all those April (and May) showers are paying off- spring is in full bloom! We just hope the sun decides to peek out during this holiday weekend. We are also hoping you will take a moment to spring into action (see what we did there?) for birthing centers in New York!

A new piece of legislation called the Midwifery Birth Center Bill is on the table. This bill endeavors to support midwife-led birthing centers, but does not address the many unique legal obstacles to opening freestanding birthing facilities in New York state. We need to let the decision-makers know that we need a more comprehensive bill if we want birthing centers to flourish in New York! Please sign this petition, and follow the New York State Alliance for Birth Centers on Facebook and Twitter for updates! 


Introducing… New Office Locations, New Lactation Program!

The following is an excerpt from our e-newsletter. To sign up for monthly e-mail updates, click here.

Dear Friends of the Brooklyn Midwifery Group and Brooklyn Birthing Center,

We have some very exciting news to share with you! Starting April 1st, the Brooklyn Midwifery Group will be partnering with Joanne Middleton, CNM, Ph.D. Joanne is longtime champion of family-centered birth options, and has attended over 3,000 births during her 40 years as a midwife! We are thrilled to be working with her. 

As a result of this new partnership, our clients can now schedule office visits with Joanne in Park Slope or WilliamsburgJoanne will also be attending deliveries and seeing clients at our office on Ocean Avenue. This collaboration will make midwifery care and birthing center deliveries even more accessible to families throughout Brooklyn and beyond. 

For more information about locations, hours, and appointments, please see our website.

We are also very pleased to introduce our new Director of Lactation Services, Adina Lerer, RN-BSN, IBCLC. Adina will be spearheading our new Lactation Program, which will soon include expanded prenatal breastfeeding education, postpartum lactation home visits, and a breastfeeding warm line! Adina is now available to meet with pregnant and breastfeeding clients by appointment- please call our office to schedule a consultation. 

Last but not least, we will be hosting our next La Leche League meeting on Monday, May 5th, from 7-8 PM. This is a great opportunity for new and expecting parents to socialize, support one another, and learn more about breastfeeding, postpartum health, and baby care. No need to register in advance- just drop in, and bring your friends!


New ACOG and SMFM Statement Challenges Overuse of Cesarean Deliveries

Yesterday, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine issued a joint obstetric care consensus statement entitled, Safe Prevention of the Primary Cesarean Delivery. This groundbreaking statement has the potential to change how childbirth is managed in the United States- and prevent many unnecessary cesarean sections and other interventions.

Significantly, new recommendations include avoiding induction before 41 weeks (unless there is a medical indication); allowing for a longer latent stage and a longer second stage of labor; the use of amnioinfusion for variable fetal heart rate decelerations; and the use of instrument-assisted vaginal deliveries instead of cesareans when possible. The statement also notes that continuous labor support, including support provided by doulas, is one of the most effective ways to decrease the cesarean rate. In a nutshell, this ACOG and SMFM statement lends support to the midwifery model of care and the importance of allied birth workers and educators.

You can read the full statement here. A Science and Sensibility post by Judith Lothian, PhD, RN, LCCE, FACCE, summarizes many of the statement’s highlights in lay terms. 



Brooklyn Midwifery Group Welcomes 3 New Midwives!

In order to meet the growing demand for midwifery care, we have added three more midwives to our team! Please help us welcome Christiane McCloskey, CM, Katherine Roeltgen, CNM, and Denine Polen, CNM, FNP. These three fantastic midwives bring an incredible wealth of experience to our practice, and we are thrilled to have them on board. Check out our Staff page to learn more about our midwives and staff members!

For more information and updates, please check out our February e-newsletter. You can subscribe to our monthly e-newsletter here.


2013 in Review- plus, La Leche League Meetings!

The following is an excerpt from our December newsletter. To view the full newsletter, click here. To sign up for our monthly e-newsletter, click here.

2013 has been a pivotal year for Brooklyn Birthing Center! We dramatically expanded our birthing center and our staff, began offering on-site counseling and prenatal classes, joined the nationwide Strong Start Initiative, made strides toward becoming a designated Baby-Friendly Facility, and made headlines when we welcomed our 1,000th baby! We want to express our gratitude to all our clients- we achieved these milestones because of your support!

And now for some more exciting news: we will be hosting a monthly La Leche League meeting beginning in January! This is a great opportunity for new and expecting parents to socialize, support one another, and learn more about breastfeeding, postpartum health, and baby care.

The first La Leche Meeting at Brooklyn Birthing Center will be held on Monday, January 27th, from 7 PM – 8 PM. The meeting is free and open to women interested in breastfeeding, partners, and babies! LLL meetings at BBC will be facilitated by Jennifer Leopold, IBCLC, LMSW, and La Leche League Leader with La Leche League of Marine Park  / Madison.

Jennifer is also available for private consultations- click here for more information, and check out our calendar for future La Leche League meeting dates!  



1,000th Baby Born at Brooklyn Birthing Center!

Today a team of hard-working midwives delivered the 1,000th baby born at Brooklyn Birthing Center, the only freestanding birthing center in the New York metro area. The 7-pound, 13.5-ounce baby girl, Lillian Bramblett, was born to proud parents Kaitlyn and TJ at 1:19 PM.

Located in the Midwood neighborhood, Brooklyn Birthing Center (BBC) is staffed by the Brooklyn Midwifery Group, a small team of experienced Certified Nurse-Midwives. The midwives have full privileges at Maimonides Medical Center and are able to attend deliveries in a hospital setting; however, most low-risk clients opt to deliver in the home-like birthing suites at Brooklyn Birthing Center. 

Baby Lillian was delivered by Aki Shishido, CNM, with the help of Andrea Diamond, CNM; Maggie Torrance, Birth Assistant and Clinical Manager; and Linda Gaglioti, also a Certified Nurse-Midwife and Brooklyn Birthing Center’s Director of Midwifery. Ms. Gaglioti said, “It was such an honor to take part in this important milestone. We look forward to serving many more women and families for years to come.”

According to Fran Schwartz, CEO, Brooklyn Birthing Center’s clientele has grown dramatically in recent years. “More and more families are researching their options and choosing natural deliveries at a birth center when the moms are healthy and low-risk,” she observed, “Our clients play an active role in their health care— they want to feel empowered by their birth experiences.”

For healthy, low-risk mothers, there are many advantages to delivering at BBC. Friends and family members are welcome in BBC’s roomy birthing suites. Expectant mothers are free to eat, drink, walk, and labor in a variety of positions— many choose to alleviate labor pains by soaking in BBC’s birthing pool. Clients receive highly individualized care, and newborns always remain with their mothers— preferably skin-to-skin on the mother’s chest, to facilitate breastfeeding and bonding.

In addition to caring for pregnant women and attending deliveries, the Brooklyn Midwifery Group offers well-woman visits and family planning. The group also partners with social workers, lactation consultants, and a home visit nurse in order to provide holistic prenatal and postpartum care.

Brooklyn Birthing Center is a participant in the Strong Start Initiative, a nation-wide program to prevent preterm births. BBC is also working toward becoming a Baby-Friendly Facility, a designation that ensures the highest standard of breastfeeding support. BBC hosts a variety of classes for expecting parents, and plans to begin hosting La Leche League meetings later this fall.  


Beautiful Testimonial from a New Mom!

The following is an excerpt of a beautiful testimonial written by a new mother who delivered at BBC in April. We are so proud of our newest Staff Midwife, Gail Raymon, for inspiring this lovely letter! This is exactly the kind of story that makes us all feel so fortunate to work at Brooklyn Birthing Center!

Just one week ago, I was in such excruciating pain during 17 hours of active labor that I thought I would never meet my daughter. I feared I would never see the face of the stirring, kicking presence inside of me. I was afraid the only noise I would ever hear her make was the sound of her racing heart on the Doppler: a stampede of horses reassuring me that she was okay. This uncertainty- this fear- would have enveloped me were it not for my wonderful midwife, Gail. She helped me chase away the dark thoughts and usher in hope and reassurance. When it seemed I had hit bottom and couldn’t continue, she held my hand, looked into my eyes and said with a gentle smile, ‘Today is your daughter’s birthday.’ 

The quiet strength that Gail carries with her is exactly what I needed to get my through the birth of my first child… During labor, Gail was stern with me when I needed firm directives and soothing and maternal when I needed to be reminded that everything would be okay. She instantly learned the names of my “birthing team” (my husband, mom and sister) and continued to check in with them to make sure they were taking care of themselves as well as letting them know the ways they could best assist me… 

Although I couldn’t express it while I was in labor, I needed to be reminded of my own strength. I needed to be acknowledged for the hard work I had already done. Gail breathed power and self-confidence into me. My husband, mom and sister followed suit. As the minutes before my baby was born felt like pain-searing hour upon hour, Gail reassured me that I was more than capable of bringing my daughter into this world. She was right (of course). Despite my worst fears, [my daughter] was born at 7:14 pm on April 14th, 2013 at 6 lbs 14 oz. As I held her to my chest for the first time, studied her precious face and listening to the sound of her steady breathing, I remember looking up through tear-filled eyes and telling Gail how glad I was that she was the one who had guided me through it all. She took my hand and swallowed back some tears of her own as she replied, “It was my absolute honor.”