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What To Expect When You Are Expecting In San Diego

How to choose the local team and setting that will support you during birth
San Diego County Midwives featuring a couple with their newborn baby
Courtesy of San Diego County Midwives

I’ve been drawn to birth for as long as I can remember. At 9 years old, I witnessed the births of my sister and my cousin. Years later, I learned that my great-grandmother had been a midwife all over northern New Mexico. In my early 30s, I experienced recurrent pregnancy loss, sparking a personal quest to understand my own health and fertility. With each new discovery, I grew increasingly frustrated by the lack of education surrounding female bodies in our society.

As I delved deeper, I learned about the disparities in maternal health in our country and their disproportionate impact on Black and brown communities. This ignited a desire within me to make a difference. During the summer of 2020, when most of the world was in their sourdough bread–baking era, I was training as a birth and postpartum doula. A doula provides non-medical support—physical, educational, and informational—before, during, and after childbirth.

Through my work as a doula, I started to learn about the dynamic and thriving birthwork community San Diego offers. I have supported birth across the county in hospitals, in peoples’ homes, and in birth centers.

When I decided to embark on my own pregnancy journey once again, I had a far deeper understanding of the options and choices available, and I was able to assemble the birthwork team I desired and needed. Fertility testing informed my naturopathic pregnancy preparation. 

Once pregnant, I established co-care with a home-birth licensed, certified professional midwife and a hospital OB-GYN. I also sought additional support from acupuncturists, massage therapists, chiropractors, pelvic floor physical therapists, lactation consultants, and herbalists. 

My hope for every birthing person in San Diego is that they feel empowered to get the care they need and choose. The following is a guide to help you begin exploring alternatives to hospitals and who can be involved so you can build your own unique birthwork team.

San Diego County Midwives featuring a husband and wife
Courtesy of San Diego County Midwives

Your Birth Team in San Diego: OB-GYNs, LMs/CPMs & CNMs 

Here is a breakdown of some key terms and distinctions in maternity care:

Obstetrician and Gynecologist (OB-GYN)

OB-GYNs are medical doctors who specialize in the care of women during pregnancy and childbirth. They also specialize in issues related to women’s health, including hormone problems, contraception, infertility, and menopause, and in the diagnosis and treatment of diseases in the female reproductive organs. 


Midwives seek to deliver individualized medical care that educates and empowers the birth-giver. Midwives monitor the physical, psychological, and social well-being of the birth-giver throughout the childbearing cycle. They provide continuous hands-on assistance during labor and delivery while minimizing medical interventions. 

They are also able to identify when obstetrical attention is needed. In addition to birth care, midwifery care can include comprehensive female body healthcare, including wellness, fertility, and sexual healthcare. 

San Diego Birthing Center A Family Affair featuring a midwife talking with a pregnant woman about to give birth
Courtesy of A Family Affair Birthing Center

Types of Midwives

There are two main types of midwives:

Licensed Midwives (LM)/Certified Professional Midwives (CPM)

Licensed by the California Medical Board and certified by the North American Registry of Midwives, these midwives are specifically trained to practice in homes or birthing centers.

Certified Nurse-Midwives (CNM)

Licensed by the California Board of Registered Nursing and certified by the American College of Nurse Midwives, these midwives are registered nurses with a master’s-level education in midwifery care. CNMs practice in various settings, including hospitals, clinics, offices, birth centers, and homes.

San Diego Birthing Center A Family Affair featuring a pregnant woman doing yoga outside
Courtesy of A Family Affair Birthing Center

Where to Give Birth in San Diego

San Diego-Based Home Birth Midwives

San Diego’s rich midwifery legacy stems from its history as a training ground for midwives. The city once hosted an accredited midwifery school, attracting aspiring midwives who often stayed after graduation. This created a lineage of mentorship and experience, with some midwives now delivering the babies of babies they once helped into the world. 

The local home birth community is characterized by small practices that prioritize personalized care and lasting relationships. Midwives specialize in low-risk pregnancies, emphasizing informed decision-making through education and open communication. Their services extend beyond birth, encompassing prenatal, postpartum, newborn, and reproductive health care, as well as preconception and family-building support.

The cost of home birth midwifery care typically ranges from $6,000 to $8,500, with various payment and insurance options available.

While there isn’t a centralized directory of all home birth midwives in San Diego, the list below provides a good starting point. Explore each midwife’s website to find one who best aligns with your needs and values.

San Diego birthing center from San Diego County Midwives
Courtesy of San Diego County Midwives

San Diego Birth Centers 

San Diego County is served by four independent birth centers, each with its own unique offerings and support services. These centers, founded and operated by midwives, provide a personalized approach to birth. The average cost ranges from $7,000 to $12,000, with payment options including cash and, in some cases, insurance coverage.

Acorn Community Birth & Wellness Center

  • Cristi Lewis, Director 
  • 123 East Alvarado Street, Fallbrook | 760-645-3447 | [email protected]
  • Insurance & Payment: Medi-Cal, cash pay, payment plan, PPO reimbursement options 
  • LGBTQ-affirming and -centered care available 
  • Website:

San Diego Community Birth Center

  • Nikki Helms, Principal Midwife 
  • 2801 4th Avenue, Bankers Hill | 619-269-6969 
  • Insurance & Payment: In-network provider for Aetna and Cigna, PPO reimbursement options, self-designed payment plan options, sliding scale availability 
  • LGBTQ-affirming and -centered care available
  • Website:

Tourmaline Birth & Wellness Collective

  • 4545 Fanuel Street, Pacific Beach | (858) 900-2004
  • Insurance & Payment: Cash pay and payment options
  • LGBTQ-affirming care available 
  • Website:

A Family Affair Midwifery & Birth Center

  • Tamara Hobbs, Founder 
  • 15644 Pomerado Road, Unit 306, Poway | 858-304-7100
  • Insurance & Payment: Cash pay, PPO reimbursement options, payment plan and package options 
  • LGBTQ-affirming care available 
  • Website:

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