The Santa Barbara Birth Center midwives are licensed and certified women’s health care practitioners, trained to care for healthy women with low-risk pregnancies. We work in consultation and collaboration with obstetricians, neonatologists and pediatricians, and have a wonderful group of doulas and birth assistants to complete our team.
ANNA BUNTING, CNM
I was awakened to the world of Birth and Midwifery in the mid 70s after reading Spiritual Midwifery by Ina May Gaskin and Immaculate Deception by Suzanne Arms. I was so inspired by these strong and fearless women! The environment and timing were perfect in supporting the beginning of my journey as a midwife. I wanted to be a part of this growing movement for change in the lives of birthing women. I was fortunate to obtain an apprenticeship with a midwife that I worked with for two years before starting my own practice as what we called then a “lay” or direct entry midwife. After 10 years I completed Nursing School and attended UCSF to become a Certified Nurse Midwife . I returned to SB and have partnered with Alice since 1990. I feel both fortunate and honored to be a midwife in this community, to be working with families at such a sacred and important time in their lives, and to have the support of the wonderful midwives I work with.
ALICE LEVINE, CNM
I began my midwifery education in 1980 as a midwife’s apprentice at Isla Vista Medical Clinic Childbirth Services. Then received my RN at Santa Barbara City College in 1983 and midwifery licensure (CNM) from UCSF in 1989; I worked at both Goleta Valley Community Hospital and Cottage Hospital as an RN and as a CNM, and have, since 1989, been practicing as a homebirth midwife and as a practitioner for the low income women of the community with the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department. I have been married forever to the same wonderful man I went sailing with and we have two terrific sons, both born at home with my sister midwives. I continue to be awed every day by the miracle of pregnancy, birth, and the circle.
LAUREL PHILLIPS, LM
After many years of apprenticeship during which I was able to assist at hundreds of births, I attended the National Midwifery Institute and became a licensed midwife in March 2011. I have been working with SB Midwifery since 1996 and became a partner in 2011. I am also the founder and president of the Santa Barbara Birth Center. I worked for twelve years as a professional doula, attending planned hospital births in Santa Barbara, Ventura and LA. I have traveled throughout Europe and had the chance to meet with many midwives and observe births there. I was honored to serve as President of the Central Coast Doula Association from 2008-2009. I have three daughters, born at home in Santa Barbara. I was born here and have lived here my whole life. I love to paint, cook, garden, and hike. I am thrilled to get to participate intimately in the lives of so many families in my community through the births of their children. I am also grateful to work with such a stellar team of sister midwives. It is a profound honor, and I think we have the best job in the world.
JENNA HUMPHREYS, LM CPM
In 2007, I had a lightbulb moment that midwifery was my calling. I became a doula in early 2008, and several years later, launched into the National Midwifery Institute program. My first apprenticeship experiences were in NGO birth centers in Haiti and Uganda. I love the cross-cultural perspective of birth, and value the simplicity that those experiences offered me. I came back to Santa Barbara in the fall of 2012, and was immediately folded into the SB Birth Center and SB Midwifery team. I completed my official apprenticeship at the end of 2013, graduated NMI, and became a licensed midwife in early 2014. I experienced birth personally (and learned a ton!) in September of 2015 when my son, Jack, was born at home. He continues to be my teacher, and occasionally my assistant at appointments. We love stand-up paddle boarding when I’m not midwifing.
BETH LANG, CNM
I always had an interest in babies and the birthing process and witnessed my first birth while volunteering during my college years at UCSB at St. Vincent’s. I realized my calling for midwifery and began a graduate Certified Nurse-Midwifery program at Columbia University in 2004. I became passionate about out of hospital birth and as a student attended home births with the Amish in Lancaster, PA. I worked as a CNM at Bellevue Hospital in New York City until early 2015 with a practice that works with underserved woman. I found it deeply rewarding to be one of the few advocates our clients have in the healthcare system and to support them during a powerful, yet vulnerable time in their lives. Through my experiences with out of hospital births, as labor support for two of my sister’s home births, and after giving birth to both of my babies at home, I knew I had to return to the roots of why I became a midwife. And after ten wonderful years living in NYC, my husband and I had a strong desire to return to Santa Barbara where we had both graduated college. Thus, we said goodbye to the city life and returned to the beautiful beaches and supportive community of Santa Barbara. My husband, Darren, and our children, Hudson and Olivia, have embraced our new lifestyle. I joined the Santa Barbara Midwifery practice in January 2015 and feel truly at home.
Nikole Paulos, LM, CPM
Nikole’s calling to serve women, babies, and families was born from a passion to help make the world a more peaceful place. Through a lifelong journey studying nutrition, healing through food, herbalism, homeopathy, pre and perinatal psychology, craniosacral therapy, yoga and women’s spirituality, Nikole traveled a path with all roads leading to midwifery. Her foundational belief being that when we are in connection with ourselves, we are able to more fully connect with our baby and partner. It is from this place of connection that we accept the support, love, and blessings that life offers us. Nikole stared her career in 2000 as a doula and student midwife in Salt Lake City, Utah. After completing Direct Entry Midwifery School and an apprenticeship, sghe became a Certified Professional Midwife in 2003. After a move to Santa Barbara, California in 2004, she founded and served as President for The Central Coast Doula Association, and in 2009 became a California Licensed Midwife. During this time Nikole birthed two children at home, both were water births adding to her experience and knowledge in profound ways. In 2011, she had the privilege to start working with the Santa Barbara Midwifery team and helped open the doors of the Santa Barbara Birth Center where she serves women in conscious conception, pregnancy, labor, birth, and the transition into parenthood.
Alissa Herbert, LM
I began my love of birth while preparing to give birth to my daughter, Madelyne, in 2006. After my son, Miles, was born in 2008, I attended my first birth as a doula in the role that would nurture my journey into midwifery. I started attending home births with Santa Barbara Midwifery as a birth assistant in 2010 and decided to become a midwife myself in 2014. I recently graduated from National Midwifery Institute and became a licensed midwife in 2018 after being lucky enough to apprentice with these amazing mentors! I am passionate about serving women and their families by giving them knowledge, confidence, love and support as they make this beautiful journey into parenthood. I feel blessed to be a part of this event in the lives of so many families with this team of amazing women. When I’m not at births, my husband, Bill, the kids, and I love to go to the beach and ride our bikes. Every now and then I get to read a book or work on a sewing project.
This team of dynamic women have decades of doula experience amongst them. As a part of your birth team they help the midwives with most aspects of care & offer support to you during your birth.