Nicole Heidbreder

Nicole Heidbreder works as a Labor & Delivery Nurse at George Washington University Hospital and Hospice Nurse in the Washington DC area and has been attending births as a doula for over 15 years here in DC, NYC, San Francisco, Sumatra, Bali, and Uganda.  Currently, she also facilitates independent birth doula workshops and trains nursing students as a Clinical Instructor with the Johns Hopkins University Birth Companions Program.  In addition to being a DONA International approved Birth doula trainer, she is also DONA trained birth and postpartum doula; a Lamaze and CEA trained Childbirth Educator; and a Lactation Counselor trained through Healthy Children.  She has taught hundreds of women over the past 10 years and truly believes that teaching  maternal child health is her life's calling. Additionally she teaches End of Life Doula Workshops for the International End of Life Doula Association. Through her work as a leader in the field of clinical nursing education Nicole was proudly inducted into the Sigma Theta Tau International Nursing Honors Society as a Leader in the field of Nursing and she sits on the George Washington University Hospital Ethics Committee.

Click here to further read a little bit more about Nicole’s past:

Since 2010, she has been working on a research project in America and Canada surveying Labor & Delivery Nurses, Labor Doulas, and Childbirth Educators - find out about it here: The Maternity Support Survey. Through this survey she co-published a chapter in this compendium on the important work Doulas are contributing to the field of Maternal Child Health: Doulas and Intimate Labour.

Nicole's other maternal/child health experience includes being a member of the New Leadership Council for the International Women's Health Coalition and from 2008 - 2011 Nicole was the Director of International Development for DONA International. In this position, she created and ran the International Fellowship initiative to promote the global expansion of community health workers/doulas. Additionally from 2009-2010 Nicole worked as the Special Events Coordinator for Choices in Childbirth. You can see Nicole featured in The Today Show on MSNBC HERE.

After first volunteering in Bali and Sumatra with the Bumi Sehat Health and Birth Center in 2005 where Nicole attended her first birth, she returned to Bali in 2008 for the purpose of executing a fundraising project she created for Bumi Sehat. With great joy and gratitude she was able to deliver to them 120 lbs of obstetric supplies and roughly $2,000USD worth of donations. You can also read more about the Bumi Sehat Health and Birth Center HERE as the founder, Ibu Robin Lim, was named the CNN Hero of the year in 2010. Nicole dedicates her career in Maternal Health to Ibu Robin for bringing her to her first magical birth and thus inspiring her on the path of learning the wise ways of women.

Prior to all of this, Nicole completed a Masters of Arts in Administration and Management from New York University and a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the University of Illinois where she was a Ford Foundation Scholar.

She has lived, studied, worked, volunteered, and traveled in over 45 countries around the world. What continues to inspire and amaze her is the resilience and intelligence of women she encounters, and how they gracefully face the highs and lows of life.

In physics, fusion is known as the process by which nuclei join in order to create energy. It is believed that this is what created us, the sun, and the stars. Like the birth of a star, sun, or distant corner of our universe, the birth of our children is no less a miracle. Indeed, it is an extraordinarily graceful miracle, presenting us with new joys and forever altering our lives. It is to this miracle that Nicole has dedicated her life.


Tina Pangelinan

Tina Pangelinan hails from the West Coast Bay Area and has been a part of the DC birth community for the past 8 years. After learning about the Family Health & Birth Center (FHBC) in a prenatal yoga class she became a patient and volunteered there just weeks after delivering at the northeast center. After the first year of breastfeeding peer counseling she sat for the IBCLC exam in 2010. Working at FHBC has been immensely rewarding in every way. Working together with certified nurse midwives in the community of underserved has been humbling as well as educating. Tina has taught the Centering Pregnancy Model for years at FHBC and is currently shadowing the childbirth assistants at birth center births. She is also taking classes toward a nursing program but not on a fast track because her most important work remains her 2 school age children at home. 

Teaching breastfeeding is a passion and a pleasure and I am so proud to work with this group of dedicated birth workers..

Marialuz Castro

Marialuz has been a doula for over ten years and considers herself privileged to witness the beauty of birth each and every time. She celebrates the uniqueness of each family she works with and is committed to creating an environment where that uniqueness flourishes to welcome baby. She discovered the unknown dimensions her own strength during the births of my children and is forever thankful to the midwives and doulas that created the safety and comfort for her and her family to have such empowering birth experiences. Marialuz is particularly committed to the emotional journeys of women during pregnancy.  She is dedicated to creating  safe space for women to embrace their voice, power and foremost their joy.  She is currently also a student of clinical mental health counseling. 


Sarah Paksima

Sarah Paksima has worked in the field of maternal health for twenty years. She has started three successful businesses, a non-profit, and enjoys helping new birth workers succeed. Sarah is a certified DONA doula, Lamaze educator and program director, and has an MPH and MBA from Johns Hopkins. She has worked in many places in the United States, in addition to India, Jordan, Oman and Kuwait, helping and supporting families. She is the current owner of DC Birth Doulas and serves on the committee for Advocacy and Research for Lamaze International. Sarah is the mother of five children, ranging from college to kindergarten, and loves hiking in creeks and on mountains, gardening, baking, and making music.


Ronit Zelivinski

Ronit Zelivinski is a student Midwife at the George Washington University. Ronit has worked as a doula, yoga teacher and infant massage instructor for seven years throughout the DMV. Her diverse background in various body and breath work modalities have enhanced her deep love and reverence for the human body and the power of connection at all ages. Ronit is passionate about providing holistic, non-judgmental, and evidence based care to facilitate optimal health, fertility and wellness throughout the lifespan. Upon completion of her Midwifery program, Ronit will also pursue a degree to become a Registered Herbalist so that she can holistically and traditionally take care of entire families from preconception through the child-rearing years. 

Ronit has spent the last seven years refining the prenatal education component of her Doula work and places a strong emphasis on ecstatic and orgasmic birth, traditional nutrition and spiritual healing. While these are her passions, she looks forward to helping you discover your own and showing you how you can infuse them in your Doula careers. Ronit believes that the essence of a birth worker role is not only to help couples have beautiful birth stories, but to support them as they transition into strong, healthy, and confident families. She looks forward to meeting you and learning together!

Lindsey Uhrig

Lindsey has supported hundreds of families in the DMV area as a full spectrum doula, prenatal yoga teacher, birth educator, former clinical health educator and newly minted energy worker. Lindsey fell in love with birth work as a young raging feminist looking for a way to take the patriarchy down. After a brief stint coordinating international development programs in newborn and maternal health she began to understand the power and effectiveness of community health initiatives and the ability of individuals to create change . Seeing doula work as the greatest effort in direct service community health, Lindsey dove in to her training with a little apprehension and a ton of passion. Since her training 4 years and 70 births ago, Lindsey has realized that birth and the treatment of laboring women is a clear platform for women's empowerment and a clear indicator of a society's opinions of women's rights. Lindsey is humbled to support women through some of the most intense moments of their lives.

Professionally, Lindsey is certified through Lamaze to teach birth education, in the process of certifying with DONA to continue to support women and certified to teach prenatal yoga. She serves pregnant families as a doula and all women as a healer and guide through private empowerment sessions. She gets to do fun things like help with doula trainings, guest lecture at community centers and universities and tell women they are indeed strong enough. Lindsey also serves as an acting member and lead trainer for the DC Doulas for Choice, a collective of women serving a nearby abortion clinic with support services. Lindsey's other interests include travel, bargain shopping and the pelvic floor.

Doula Workshop Role Play