Nikki Helms, LM, CPM, CLEC
Nikki is the proud mother of two girls 10 and 16 years old. She's a Licensed Midwife, Monitrice and Perinatal educator.
Nikki's career in birth work started when a dear friend asked if Nikki would be her doula in 2003. After serving several families in the Bay Area, she got pregnant with her first child in 2004, and relocated to be closer to family in San Diego that next year and was warmly welcomed into the birth community in San Diego.
Since the start of midwifery school in 2014, she has had the need to start a birth center that serves every body: LGBTQIA+ family builders, marginalized BIPOC, immigrants and asylum seekers, educating along the way.
After a successful, ongoing GoFundMe effort, Nikki is the principal midwife behind San Diego Community Birth Center, currently working tirelessly to ensure the birth center and its nonprofit foundation are well situated to serve the San Diego community.
Every pregnancy and birth is a miracle and as a Licensed Midwife, Nikki is honored to be able to contribute experience, genuine love and culturally competent care to families in San Diego.
Jarrah Foster, IBCLC
In 2016, Jarrah left the corporate business world to focus on a career in maternal health, after watching many family and friends struggle with breastfeeding, Jarrah completed her International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) education. Jarrah has also completed certification in pregnancy health coaching with the Dr. Sears Wellness Institute, a babywearing educator through the Center for Babywearing Studies, and training for trauma counseling with the Organic Intelligence organization.
Nikki helped deliver Jarrah's daughter during the COVID-19 outbreak. Simply put, Jarrah understands that Breastfeeding/Chestfeeding is very challenging with or without a pandemic. Often the biggest hurdle to overcome when it comes to breastfeeding success is getting support, which has been limited for so many families. Support may look like help with latch and positioning, clinical assessment of baby for oral function, or management of common lactation issues.
Jarrah will meet with you and listen to your desires and goals, troubleshoot issues and provide you with information to make informed decisions, and come up with a plan that works for you. Jarrah's wish is for all families to have the support they need to feed their babies and enjoy the breastfeeding/chestfeeding journey.
Shani Cooper, DACM, LAc, CLEC
Shani Cooper is a Doctor of Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine.
Shani has created an Integrative Medical Practice that focuses on natural chronic pain management, digestion issues and Full Spectrum Birth Work from preconception to postpartum and beyond. Shani is passionate about people being able to fully live in their bodies and live their best lives. She's taken this passion to China to study with teachers of her mentors, and bring the highest quality medicinal botanicals to her patients.
Dr. Cooper has created integrative programs to address postpartum and gynecological health with
the proper balance of science, botanical and traditional medicine, to encourage and work towards the World Health Organization's definition of health: "a complete state of physical, mental, and social well-being, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity". Shani is also incorporating cutting edge therapies to treat chronic pain, digestive issues and autoimmune diseases.
Dr. Cooper is licensed in California and practices out of her clinic in La Mesa as well as joining the team at San Diego Community Birth Center. I am super focused on Traditional Chinese Medicine gynecology and birthwork and working to reduce maternal and infant mortality rates in my community, particular for birthing people of color.
Disha Mistri, MSN, NP
Disha Mistri is a dual board certified Adult Gerontology and Women's Health Nurse Practitioner.
She is originally from Boston, Massachusetts, where she completed her Master's of Science in Nursing at the highly esteemed MGH Institute of Health Professions. Before starting her NP journey, Disha was a middle school science teacher in Miami, Florida. This is where she learned the skills needed to be a clinical educator for a broad spectrum of learning needs and styles.
Disha moved to San Diego in 2015 to work at Planned Parenthood as a flex-clinician, working at various locations throughout San Diego, Riverside, Palm Springs, and Coachella providing essential sexual and reproductive health services.
After Planned Parenthood, she accepted a role as clinical manager and the first NP at Hanabusa IVF in Sorrento Valley, San Diego. While at Hanabusa IVF, Disha worked closely with the doctors to help establish protocols and provide a high level of service to women struggling with severe issues of infertility including Diminished Ovarian Reserve (DOR), Premature Ovarian Failure (POF), PolyCystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), and other conditions.
Disha is an LGBTQIA+ advocate and passionate about clear patient education through direct patient care. She struggled with fertility issues herself for many years. She now shares 2 beautiful daughters with her wife and wishes to help other folks along their fertility journeys.
Leslie McFarlane, Administrative Support and Childbirth Educator
Like many, Leslie's journey to birth work and birth justice began with her first pregnancy six years ago. It became very clear that there were huge gaps in her healthcare experience being a Black mother and woman of color. Two years after her pregnancy, she began a Perinatal Education program with the Midwest Maternal Institute and obtained Doula Certification, Birth Educator Certification and Lactation Support Certification. Soon after, she joined the Chicago Volunteer Doulas with the goal of working directly with POC and adolescent pregnancy, while fighting to reduce the Black infant and maternal mortality rate in the US.
She is currently a birth center administrator and childbirth educator, supporting families at the San Diego Community Birth Center. With excitement and new year blessings, she is also working towards a clinical birth assistant role. Leslie believes in a person's innate ability to birth naturally. In her classes, Leslie hopes to make you feel confident in your ability to birth and create a balanced scale for you to rest your worries.
Leslie moved to San Diego in 2020 and shares three joyful children with her husband. She delivered two of her babies with Nikki and often has her littlest in the office. She considers herself a birth nerd and you may find her at a bookstore, sipping a latte...until the baby starts crying.