Our Midwives

A Note From Our Clinical Director, Midwife Shari Stone-Ulrich

At Best Start, the midwives consider ourselves partners in your care and it is our intent to always provide every client the best care possible. Please contact me with any questions or concerns or just to say hi!

I want to connect with you and make sure you understand all aspects of your care. You can reach me by calling the office or email at: sstone-ulrich@beststartbirthcenter.com. Please note that due to privacy issues, I would like to speak to you over the phone or in person but please email me to set this up.

Shari Stone-Ulrich, MSN, CNM, Clinical Director

I was born and raised in Missouri and met my husband, Michael while attending nursing school at Mizzou. I have always been interested in wellness and prevention of disease, and have known I wanted to help women during labor and birth. The United States Air Force allowed me to start working in OB as a new graduate, so I commissioned back in 1986. We had 2 beautiful daughters, Caitlin born in 1988 and Kelsey in 1989, in northern California, in the days before epidurals! So I know natural childbirth is very doable. I was awarded a scholarship through the USAF to attend Georgetown University and received my Master’s in Midwifery in 1993. Our son, Nathan was born in 1998 in Illinois. I practiced Certified Nurse-Midwifery until my retirement from the USAF in 2007, having caught more than 1,000 babies in hospital. I always practiced physiologic, natural birth as much as possible, according to families’ wishes. I used to tell pilots that I had the best job in the military; of course they would disagree, but what a blessing to get paid for doing what I love! My family has lived all over the United States, but I always had the dream of working in a Freestanding Birth Center. I was thrilled to be offered a position at Best Start Birth Center in beautiful San Diego, and am very happy to be here! I look forward to meeting and getting to know all our birthing families!

Erina Angelucci, MSN, CNM

Being a San Diego native, I am very happy to be back! I was born and raised in La Jolla and always knew it was where I would want to settle. A few years back I was researching my ancestors and found I have midwives on both sides. As I started looking into midwifery I found a calling and decided to go to Emory to pursue a career in midwifery. While there, I had experience with natural and water births. I am thrilled to be at Best Start Birth Center and to meet all of you! Birth is a life changing and memorable time and I am honored every time I am invited to be a part of it. I am currently In addition to being a midwife, I enjoy knitting and spending time discovering San Diego. I am also in a program to become a Certified Herbalist in Women’s Health.

Joanna Bronkema, MS, NP, CNM

As a midwife, I help parents-to-be discover their own strength and internal knowledge so that they may achieve an empowering childbirth experience no matter where it leads them. I seek to provide the most evidence-based, holistic healthcare to women and LGBTI individuals in their conception, pregnancy, birth, and all stages of reproductive health. I began my career as en environmental biologist, but when I discovered the work that needed to be done to revive the rights of childbearing people, I became a doula and attended in homes, birth centers and hospitals throughout California and in rural Guatemala. I went back to school to receive training as Registered Nurse, Public Health Nurse, Certified Nurse Midwife, and Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner from the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). I love working with all moms: young families, LGBT couples, single moms, Spanish-speaking moms (you can have your appointments with me in Spanish or English). I use naturopathic principles to guide my interactions with all my clients. My birth philosophy is that women are strong and birth is a unique experience that can be embraced without fear.

Como partera hispano-hablante, ayudo a los futuros padres a descubrir su propia fuerza y el conocimiento interno que ellos pueden experimentar lo que es el poder de dar a luz no importando a donde los dirija. Yo busco proveer el cuidado hacía la mujer y la diversidad de géneros basado en la evidencia y en una manera holística durante la concepción, embarazo, nacimiento, y todas las etapas de la salud reproductiva. Empecé mi carera como bióloga ambiental. Pero cuando descubrí el trabajo que tenía que hacer para revivir los derechos de natalidad, me convertí en doula y atendía partos en casas, centros de nacimiento, y hospitales en California y en Guatemala. Después, regresé a la universidad a recibir mi entrenamiento como enfermera registrada, enfermera de la salud pública, enfermera profesional/practicante de la salud de la mujer y enfermera-partera certificada en la Universidad de California en San Francisco. Me encanta trabajar con todas las madres: familias jóvenes, la diversidad de orientaciones sexuales y géneros, madres solteras, madres de habla hispana (se puede tener sus citas conmigo en español o inglés). Uso principios naturopáticos para guiar mi interacción con mis clientes. Mi filosofía es que la mujer es fuerte y el partos es una experiencia única que se puede disfrutar sin miedo.

Rosanne Gephart, CNM, NP, IBCLC

I have over 4 decades of experience working with mothers and babies in hospitals, birth centers, and homes. I directed one of the first centers in the USA to be designated “Baby Friendly” by the World Health Organization. I serve in leadership and teaching positions in numerous state and national organizations that serve to promote the excellent care of midwives, birth centers and lactation professionals. I currently work as a midwife, lactation consultant and business consultant for numerous centers and have founded and direct, Better Beginnings a non-profit, dedicated to helping families get off to a good start www.betterbeginningsforbabies.org


Nancy Baird, LM CPM

I am a California Licensed Midwife and Certified Professional Midwife. I earned my degree in Midwifery and worked as a community midwife in London, England before moving back to San Diego. I have had the opportunity to work in home births, birthing centers and hospitals. I believe in a holistic approach to midwifery care. My approach to midwifery is to provide evidence-based, woman-centered care that empowers women and their families to make informed decisions about their pregnancies and births. It is an honor to serve the families that choose Best Start.

A Letter From the Best Start Birth Center Midwives

We want to take a moment to help you get acquainted with our services and give you an opportunity to become familiar with our philosophy and style of care. We are excited that you are exploring the option to give birth with us. Choosing an out-of-hospital birth center is exciting, and carries with it an extra set of responsibilities for you, to ensure the greatest possible birth experience.

We see ourselves as your partners, working together to create the most safe and satisfying birth for you and your baby. Best Start is dedicated to maintaining a calm and nurturing environment, where you have choices to birth as you desire. The Center is nationally accredited by the Commission for the Accreditation of Birth Centers and licensed by the State of California. Our midwives are nationally certified by the American Midwifery Board and licensed by the State of California. During birth, you will be attended by a Certified Nurse Midwife, in addition to a Birth Assistant, all of whom are either Registered Nurses or Licensed Midwives. We agree to maintain our certification and licensure, as well as to stay current in all aspects of midwifery care, in order to provide you with the highest quality of care. We provide comprehensive care throughout the pregnancy and into labor, birth and the postpartum period. We will collaborate with physicians and hospitals, as necessary, to ensure you the most appropriate care that is suited to your individual need.

In return, we expect you to be open and honest about your health history and any health issues that you may currently have, or have had in the past. The safety of out-of-hospital birth is based on the premise that you are a healthy woman, and are having a normal pregnancy. The foundation of our relationship with you depends upon trust and open communication. We want you to actively participate in your care and ask questions if there is ever a lack of understanding.

We know that many earlier life experiences that you have already had, may have an impact on you during pregnancy and birth. For this reason, we have a wonderful counselor on staff, available to assist you with any personal issues, in order to prevent them from impacting you during the labor and birth.

We also believe that a safe and satisfying birth experience depends on your knowledge, understanding and preparation for the birth process. We do not utilize pain medication or anesthesia in the birth center. For this reason, we require that you participate in childbirth education classes if this is your first baby, and strongly recommend them if it is a subsequent baby. Best Start works hard to provide a variety of diverse resources for your education during the pregnancy, and to ensure that there are varied days and times available for class offerings. It is your responsibility to make sure that you have completed classes by 36 weeks of pregnancy.

We believe that pregnancy and birth are a major initiation “rite of passage” for women. Therefore we see labor and birth not only as a physical process, but also a mental, emotional and spiritual journey as well. We desire to help you navigate the changes that will occur over the coming months, as you transition through birth into motherhood. Additionally, we provide a group prenatal experience, if you desire, where you can meet and share with other pregnant women throughout your pregnancy.

Birth is a personal and individually unique experience. We are here to provide you information, education, and to assist you to make the best decisions as your pregnancy, labor and birth unfold. We honor the opportunity to provide our care and service to you. We look forward to facilitating a most safe and satisfying birth experience for you, your baby and your family!

Welcome to Best Start Birth Center!