About Midwives and the Care They Provide

Shari Stone UlrichA Note From Our Clinical Director,  midwife Shari Stone-Ulrich

We 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.



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!

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.


Brooke Ray, M.S., CNM

I’ve been a Certified Nurse-Midwife since 1999, attending over 1000 births in and out of the hospital. I graduated with a Masters of Science Degree in Midwifery from UCSF and I’m certified by the American College of Nurse Midwives. I’m a mother of three children; the first one born in the hospital, and the second and third born at home with midwives. I’m from Santa Barbara, California, where I first started studying midwifery as an apprentice to the Santa Barbara Midwives. I have several years of experience working as a full-time Certified Nurse-Midwife at the UCSD Birth Center. I speak Spanish fluently. I currently work “per diem” for Best Start Birth Center and attend homebirths. I also love dancing and teaching Birth Dancing classes for expectant mothers.


Sarah Khorram, M.S., CNM

I moved to San Diego from Michigan in 2004 because I wanted to work in a birth center. Coming from a high risk hospital setting, I was looking for an environment where birth is seen as a natural process, and woman are empowered to give birth the way they want and encouraged to be an active participant in their birth. I feel so fortunate to be a part of Best Start Birth Center, (since 2004). I am reminded every day of the strength that every woman possesses and feel honored that I can share the birth experience with so many families. Since I now have two little one’s of my own, I only work at Best Start part time. Hopefully we will cross paths but if I don’t get to meet you in person, I wish you well in your pregnancy and delivery!


Stephanie McNamara, MSN, WHNP, CNM

Stephanie has been a Certified Nurse Midwife and Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner since May of 2001, after completing her graduate studies in San Diego, CA. Stephanie had the joy of welcoming babies in New Mexico for 12 years before returning ‘Home’ to San Diego in December 2015. Stephanie believes that pregnancy is a state of health and well-being, a time to be celebrated in a woman’s life. Through education and empowerment, she promotes confidence in women to overcome fears surrounding the birth process. She practices holistic and individualized care, and enjoys making a personal connection with her patients and their families. Stephanie is blessed to be the mom of 3 beautiful children who keep her busy! She also enjoys yoga, running, and spending time with family and friends. MIDWIFERY, OB AND GYN SERVICES: • Pre-conceptual and fertility counseling • Disease diagnosis, treatment & prevention • Personalized care during pregnancy, labor, birth and postpartum • TOLAC / VBAC counseling and birth options • Breastfeeding education & support • Counseling on alternative health modalities • Birth control method counseling, initiation & maintenance • IUD and Nexplanon insertion & removal • General gynecologic care of women from their teens through adulthood • Diagnosis & management of abnormal pap tests, including Colposcopy and Cryotherapy