Pregnancy & Childbirth in SF

General Info/Advice

  • Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth - great guide to pregnancy and childbirth from the "mother of midwifery"

  • The Natural Pregnancy Book by Aviva Romm - a great guide written by an MD, so you get the best of Western allopathic medicine and more holistic/hippie approaches

  • Wise Woman Herbal for the Childbearing Year by Susun Weed - dives in deeper about what herbs, etc. are appropriate during and after pregnancy

Pregnancy Advice

Lizzie found the following things to be helpful during pregnancy:

  • Ginger tea & peppermint tea

  • Magnesium supplementation

  • "Sea band" Nausea relief bracelets (helped with morning sickness, sold at Target, Amazon)

  • Acupuncture / Chinese herbs (helped with morning sickness/energy, see below for specific recommendations)

  • Massage (see below)

Homebirthing/Birth Center Midwives

In the US, most women give birth in hospitals, but for low-risk pregnancies, home births have similar or better outcomes. If you want to explore this in SF, here are some resources:

  • Bay Area Homebirth Collective - organize regular meetups; if you're considering a homebirth, it's useful to meet other folks who have done it

  • Kara Engelbrecht - our midwife, she's awesome!

  • The Root Midwives - Kara's partners, also awesome, including Nile Nash (daughter of Graham Nash!), a certified nurse who taught our childbirth class,

  • Sue Baelen - our backup/assisting midwife, a wonderful person who knows a lot about herbs and natural remedies:

  • SF Birthing Center - if you want a bit of a homebirth experience but don't want to actually be at home, this center just opened in lower Pac Heights/Inner Richmond:

  • Insurance - insurance plans vary widely in how much they'll cover's frustrating because for most births, homebirths have better medical outcomes and cost less, so insurance plans should be all over it! Nevertheless, most of the SF midwives work with Maggie Otero at who is pretty good at figuring out what your insurance might cover. Note that if you end up transferring to a hospital, it's likely your insurance won't cover the full cost of the midwife (since they didn't "deliver" the baby, even if they handled all of prenatal/labor care), so be prepared for that contingency.

Childbirth Classes


A birth coach/counsellor, doulas are increasingly popular for both hospital and home births...they have been shown to lead to better outcomes for both the mother and baby. Unfortunately, the doula we used is now retired, but we've heard good things about the following:


  • Amanda Moler - specializes in fertility/pregnancy acupuncture at Anchor Acupuncture:

    • do some of her former colleagues at SF Acupuncture Group:

  • Christine Chung - does a wide range of acupuncture, including fertility/pregnancy, including a more "gentle" Japanese style of needling:

  • Kate Maxey - also specializes in reproductive health/pregnancy at The Root (associated with our midwife, see above), highly recommended by homebirthing moms:

  • ...but even generic community acupuncture (one is near our house at has been helpful


  • Prenatal Massage: Kari Marble - Lizzie did several massages that were great,

  • General Massage: Julia Johnson - doesn't specialize in just prenatal but did a really good job with Lizzie, 415-860-5036, yelp page

  • Mayan Abdominal Therapy: Jacqueline Dubord - Lizzie used this to help relieve third trimester discomfort and uterine irritability,

...Lizzie also wrote a post about traveling in the 3rd trimester and our home birth story