I am very excited to bring you another Birth Center Project feature. To learn about my project, click here.
The universe works in funny ways. I believe that the universe introduces and, at times, intertwines your life to the life of others at different points for different reasons. I believe these reasons are meaningful. Let me explain. Let us revisit the year 2012 when I was pregnant with Little Nugget. During this pregnancy, I made the decision to have my baby at a birth center (more of a backstory can be found in the intro of the Ventura Birth Center feature). In researching birth centers “close” to me, I found two at that time and they were both about an hour away. One was in Whittier and the other was in Ventura. I called and spoke to both midwives. Because of my unfamiliarity with Whittier (the foreign can be intimidating, plus I was pregnant with my first!), I decided to birth in Ventura (which I was familiar with).
I thought that the call I had made was going to be the only time my path would cross Simona’s—head mifwife at Natural Birth Center & Women’s Wellness, NBC&WW, the birth center in Whittier. To my surprise, it wasn’t. 2012 just wasn’t our time for our paths to intertwine.
Recently, when I reached out to NBC&WW in Los Angeles to see if I could feature them, I didn’t think about it being connected to the Whittier location. To my pleasant surprise, it was. Almost four years later, I met Simona, the midwife I had briefly spoken to during my first pregnancy.
Thank you Simona for opening your Los Angeles facility to me, and for sitting with me to learn about my project.
LNBN #1: Are you a state certified birth center? Are you a member of the AABC, American Association of Birth Centers?
Simona: Yes, we are members of the AABC and both of our centers are accredited birth centers through CABC, the Commission for the Accreditation of Birth Centers.
LNBN #2: How long has your birth center been in practice?
Simona: Natural Birth Center & Women’s Wellness started about 12 years ago in Whittier, CA. Later, we opened our Los Angeles location. It has been such a blessing to have been able to serve our community and women for so long. Midwifery care is so limited in our area and it truly is a beautiful thing to be able to serve so many mamas and families over the years.
LNBN #3: What is your birth center’s fee and what services does it include?
Simona: We have several different all-inclusive packages to fit each family’s individual needs. All of our packages include prenatal care, a birth at the location or suite of your choice, postpartum care, free classes, and our staff available to our clients 24 hours/7 days a week/ 365 days a year! We not only do birth center births, but we also do homebirths and natural hospital births. We are one of the only birth centers in all of southern California that has a midwife with hospital privileges. Prices vary depending on several factors like where a mother is looking to give birth so the best way to get an exact quote is to schedule a free orientation with a midwife or representative, so we may find out the mothers needs and wants and be able to calculate a price. We really strive to bring affordable health care to all families, so there are numerous discounts and payment plans available to help make each family’s dreams of a natural birth possible.
LNBN #4: Does your birth center participate in insurance plans?
Simona: We do work with and accept insurance plans. At both locations we work with all PPO, HMO, and EPO insurances.
LNBN #5: What community does your birth center service?
Simona: Where do we not service is the real question. Ha! With two locations, families come from all over southern California for our unique and personalized care. We service all of Los Angeles and Los Angeles County; Marina Del Ray, Santa Monica, Venice, El Segundo, Manhattan Beach, Hermosa, Silver lake, Echo Park, Beverly hills, Los Feliz, Hollywood, Culver City, Whittier, Hacienda, Fullerton, Anaheim, Pico Rivera, Cypress, Sherman Oaks, Burbank, Van Nuys, Encino, and the list goes on and on.
We’ve had families from as far as Big Bear and Palm Springs. Whether you’re looking to have a homebirth, birth center birth, or natural hospital birth; many families find distance is the least of their worries when investing in the best care and their dream birth. Where there is a will, there is a way!
LNBN #6: Where is the closest hospital?
Simona: Both of our birth centers are conveniently located near major hospitals. Our Los Angeles birth center is 0.4 miles (less than 1 mile!) from Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and our Whittier birth center is located exactly 207 ft (literally across the street) from Whittier Hospital Medical Center. The greatest things about our birth center location is we have privileges at Whittier Hospital Medical Center so in case of a transfer I go with you to the hospital and continue your care there as your primary provider! Meaning, I can deliver your baby at the hospital and care for your family in an alternative setting. Also, at Cedars-Sinai we have wonderful collaborating OB/GYNs we work with directly that honor our natural birth philosophy and respect our patients.
LNBN #7: What services are offered at your birth center?
Simona: We offer Breastfeeding Classes, Newborn care, Childbirth Preparation, and Hypnobirthing the Mongan Method. We also have an extensive list of referrals for other classes hosted outside our birth centers.
LNBN #8: Other than English, are there any other languages that the services are provided in?
Simona: Yes! Currently we have staff that speak Spanish, Romanian, Russian, and Armenian.
LNBN #9: Does your birth center provide well-woman services?
Simona: Of course! We provide all well-women services as well as homeopathy consultations, family planning consultations, pre-conception consultations, IUI’s intra-uterine inseminations, ICI’s intra-cervical inseminations, IUD insertions and removals, Depo Shots, Pap Smears, and more!
LNBN #10: What type of providers administer care at your birth center?
Simona: Currently, we have all certified nurse midwives (CNM). CNMs are a great option because they provide a fantastic safety net in case of emergencies or complications. Many CNMs are also nurse practitioners (NP) and can provide a wide range of services that allow us to care for you more extensively rather than transfer you to a hospital or another provider. It really puts families at ease to know CNMs believe in natural holistic care and the power of a woman’s body to function normally and organically just as it was made, but also have the knowledge and skill set to care for a women and baby if anything deviates from the norm.
LNBN #11: Do you work with student-midwives?
Simona: We do typically have 1 or 2 CNM/NP or Doctorate NP graduate student-midwives a year that are already Registered Nurses working at our local hospitals in a department that treats women or children. We only pick the most kind-hearted and skilled graduate nurses to work with us. The great thing about our graduate CNMs are they are already experienced nurses in and out of the hospital setting. Many of them have worked as doulas, midwife birth assistants, childbirth educators, lactation consultants, at birth centers and homebirths, in the NICU, and L&D before coming to us. If the families are comfortable, the student nurse midwives will join our primary midwives during the appointments and form bonds and loving relationships with our families before they give birth.
LNBN #12: Can you give me a short back story on your birth center? What inspired it?
Simona: After over 20 years working as a midwife and nurse in a hospital setting, I was able to fulfill my dream of offering women in the Los Angeles area and beyond the option of natural and safe out of hospital births. Since I first opened NBC&WW, hundreds of healthy and naturally birthed babies have been brought into this world. The birth center is an extension of my vision to provide women and their families the option of safe, natural, and empowered births.
It is important to know and understand a “Natural Birth” can happen anywhere. A natural birth experience isn’t reserved for those who solo birth in the forest unmedicated. A natural birth can happen wherever. Even in a hospital, even during a C-section. The natural birth experience I offer to my families is all about being empowered in whatever birth setting you choose. It is most important your voice is heard and your wishes and desires are met with a compassionate ear. My focus is on making sure your birth experience is about you and your family, how you envision it. Personalization and individualized care however you see it, is my priority. There is no greater love, than the love I have for the bond I share with each family I’ve gotten to connect with as a midwife.
LNBN #13: What is the birth center’s philosophy of care/mission statement?
Simona: Here at Natural Birth Center and Women’s Wellness, we believe that every woman has the innate wisdom, power and sensibility to birth her baby naturally. Birthing naturally empowers women and transforms families. Our midwives and birth team trust in your strengths and wisdom as a woman and soon to be mother to create your own transformational dream birth. Birth is the manifestation of love and is a time for rejoicing. Although countless births have occurred since the beginning of time, every birth is unique and is an incredibly powerful moment. I believe that the first precious moments can be achieved naturally, with minimal or no interference, safely.
I established my birth centers to provide empowering and personalized care. Our care is rooted in believing in the powers of the female body and avoiding the culture of birth fear. This foundation allows your birth to be achieved as nature intended: naturally and joyously.
LNBN #14: Is there anything you’d like to add about your birth center? Is there anything that sets you aside from other birth centers?
Simona: First, Natural Birth Center & Women’s Wellness has two accredited birth centers in Los Angeles County. You’ll find NBC&WW’s atmosphere resembles that of an upscale spa or luxury boutique hotel with the warmth and coziness of home. The staff, services, and care provided at NBC&WW is unparalleled. Our team works hard to ensure your wishes and desires for a natural birth are met. We understand that your pregnancy, labor, and delivery are about YOU, and want nothing more than to make sure you have the beautiful caring experience you’re seeking! Natural Birth Center is known for our top notch facility and staff that’s unmatched by others. We are here for you; every step of the way. Every woman here at NBC&WW works together to support and empower you as a mother and is there to guide you as your family grows. As we all know too well, it takes a village!
LNBN #15: What is your favorite area of the birth center and why?
Simona: My favorite areas are the birth suites. It’s like my personal sanctuary where miracles happen.
Thank you Simona!
Now, let me walk you through the birth center Big Nugget style…
Thank you so much for visiting with me! I hope you enjoyed and learned something new. If you have any comments, questions, or thoughts, I encourage you to share them with me.
Cheers to NBC&WW!