You could take an old-school hospital birthing class or a classic Lamaze class. You could try the Bradley Method, Hypno-birthing, or Birthing from Within. You could also just watch a bunch of videos online. We know there are lots of ways you can prepare to have a baby, but we think you should learn with us! Here's more about our story, our core values, and our team. Maybe we'll be a good fit!
We're a group of pretty smart and extremely thoughtful parents, doulas, and birth educators providing practical wisdom and guidance to you: (soon-to-be) pretty smart and extremely thoughtful families. Our work is inspired and informed by experts such as Midwives, Obstetricians, Pelvic Health Specialists, Psychiatrists, and Lactation Counselors, but we do not "center" the voices of these experts on our platform. Birthsmarter is unique in being deeply rooted in education theory and mindful pedagogy. We know that education is more than the transfer of knowledge from one person to another. We are here to model critical, creative, and compassionate thinking; to help you develop a framework for interpreting "experts." If you don't already know, you will soon learn how two different "experts" on the same subject often disagree with each other. What do you do when your doula and OB disagree? Your pediatrician and your lactation consultant offer contradictory advice? While we know a whole lot, and will always share our best thinking – touting our, or other's "expertise" is antithetical to our goal.
When our founder, Ashley Brichter, gave birth for the first time in 2014 she had experience with hundreds of families as a doula and birth educator. She already knew everything traditional birth classes were teaching. She felt like she'd done everything right. Then, real life happened (here's her birth story) and she realized something was missing. Ashley went back to the drawing board and questioned everything she learned becoming a doula, a childbirth educator, and a parent herself. Birthsmarter is the result.
In a world where it is difficult to keep sight of what is most important Birth Smarter aims to call your attention back to what is valuable. Do you notice that expectant parents spend more time choosing a stroller than they do a midwife or obstetrician? More time arranging their nursery than arranging comprehensive support for after the birth. As a business we have the power to convince you that pregnancy, birth, and the postnatal period are worth investing in. If we don’t, women and families suffer and you miss the opportunity to build an intentional foundation for your family; the foundation on which we’d like our society to rest.
Birth Smarter lives in the space where biology meets society, wisdom meets data, and empathy meets activism. We believe that transparency is the key to birth, babies, and business, that it is always worth investing in parents, and that together, we can change the world. Our unique birth and parenting classes offer expecting parents and their support team the information and practice that will enable them to think critically and improvise during high stakes moments. Our continuing education workshops empower health and wellness professionals to become trusted pillars of their perinatal community. We’re shaping the future, one birth at a time.
Our Core Values
We ❤️ good science.
You’re probably looking for Evidence-Based prenatal classes. We get that. While there is value in spending time and money soul-searching and pregnancy brings up all the feelings, we want to think our way through things too. Do we teach evidence-based classes at Birth Smarter? Sort of. Actually, definitely yes. We just have some beef with the term and want to raise the bar. You can read more about that on our blog, but basically we do not believe the parenting pendulum should swing ad nauseam based on the latest study. GOOD SCIENCE places current research in the context of evolution, biology, and history. We balance the latest findings with critical thinking and common sense in order to make recommendations about how to get you and your family off to the best start. While there is no “right way” to do any of this, we maintain a plumb line based on our best thinking to help you make decisions.
We teach to move you forward.
The way we see it: you’re sitting on A Pregnant Opportunity. When done well, preparing for birth and parenting invites you to try on habits that can positively affect your personal growth and development. All of our classes plant seeds to get you a healthier body, balanced mind, and resilient relationship.
We care that you learn.
Between drivers ed and professional development seminars, we’ve been trained to cautiously approach obligatory learning. Here’s the thing: with all this birth stuff your actions can greatly influence your outcomes. In order to make informed decisions when it matters, we need you able to retain and recall critical information. So we present curated information alongside the HOW and the WHY, and we do it without PowerPoint. Also, we really value your time. It’s not worth it for us if class is super boring either.
We model best practice.
Today, childbirth, parenting and for-profit businesses are inextricably linked. We believe a future exists where success in business does not come at the expense of human labor or environmental protection. We are proud to advocate for small and large social, political, and economic changes that will improve the lives of families and protect the future of our planet but we know that the best way forward is to practice what we preach. As a business we are dedicated to treating employees with respect and dignity, paying for, and valuing time. We are working to build a culture of mutual respect and participation between and among employees.
Ashley Brichter, Founder
is a certified cooperative childbirth educator, birth and postpartum doula, and lactation counselor. She is the founder of Birth Smarter, which provides relevant and inclusive education for expectant parents live in NYC and virtually across the world. With over a decade of experience supporting new parents, Ashley provides one-on-one support, group classes, lectures, and distance learning for the perinatal population and the professionals who serve them. After the birth of her first child in 2014, Ashley became driven to understand birth physiology on a deeper level. Better for it, she coined the 3-Actions of Physiological Birth, the core of Birth Smarter’s curriculum. Her fresh perspective on pregnancy, childbirth, and parenting is now sought after by individuals, brands, and media outlets.
Ashley sits on the board of CEA/MNY and ProNatal Fitness.
Caprice Abowitt, Lead Educator
Caprice is a certified yoga instructor, birth doula, childbirth educator and certified breastfeeding counselor. A classically trained dancer, Caprice fell in love with yoga after sustaining a back injury and now specializes in kids yoga, pre- and postnatal, and yoga for the pelvic floor. She is a senior teacher at the Prenatal Yoga Center, where she co-leads teacher training in New York City and along the East Coast in addition to directing Mentorship and Continuing Education Programs. She is based in Brooklyn, NY where she lives with her husband and son.
Elizabeth Perez, Lead Educator
Elizabeth is a birth and postpartum doula, Certified Lactation Counselor, prenatal yoga teacher, and baby wearing educator. She has additional training in Spinning Babies, Herbs and Rebozo Work and currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Childbirth Education Association of Metropolitan New York. Elizabeth is a native Spanish speaker and is committed to supporting queer and families in need. She currently lives in Brooklyn with her man and baby boy wonder.
Liz Bueno, Childbirth Educator
Liz is a birth doula and midwife assistant who is currently attending Colorado State University School of Nursing pursuing a second bachelor’s degree in nursing. She is certified in Spinning Babies®, trained in Hypnobirthing techniques and completed the Midwifery Assistant training at Ina May Gaskin's The Farm in Tennessee in 2015. She was born in Colombia, raised in Queens, NY and now lives in Colorado with her partner, their daughter and two crazy dogs.
Beth Hardy, Childbirth Educator
Beth Hardy is a birth doula, postpartum doula and board-certified music therapist. Whether helping clients find their power and voice during labor, supporting new families as they navigate the uncharted waters of parenthood, or writing one-of-a-kind Womb Songs for expectant parents, Beth is passionate about all things birth. Beth identifies as queer and specializes in working with LGBTQIA+ families. She is the mom of two kids and lives in Salt Lake City, UT.