Meet Our Founder
Karen Laing is a mother, lactation consultant, midwife and educator and the founder and president of Birthways. She was trained at Duke Integrative Medicine as an Integrative Health Coach, and is a Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction instructor. As a clinician and educator, her attention to the emotional wellbeing of families permeates her work.
She has published and lectured on the subject of postpartum doulas and their role in prevention and treatment of perinatal mood disorders. As a Board Member of the National Association of Postpartum Care Services, she worked to establish the first national standards for postpartum doula certification. She has developed unique models of care for breastfeeding support and perinatal mood disorder care that is founded on a collaborative approach between clinicians and home-based doulas.
Karen has trained and mentored hundreds of doulas and providers and worked with thousands of families in her career. Through the unique perspective of providing and teaching a home-based model of care, she has had the opportunity to support families with insight into the joys, fears, and challenges of early parenting. By sharing evidence-based information and explaining the underlying biology of parental and infant behavior with a compassionate and empowering style, Karen helps families learn to trust themselves and their infants. Her training and her personal commitment to mindful caregiving allows both her clients and students to be supported with compassion, non-judgment, and curiosity.
Karen lectures and teaches regularly at Birthways and to the community, including:
- Rush Prudential Health Plans – Preconception and Pregnancy Wellness
- American Medical Association- Parenting Series for the Workplace Wellness Program
- March of Dimes- Presented on the Topic of Postpartum Doulas
- American Psychological Association- Poster Session Postpartum Doulas and Perinatal Mood Disorders
- Babyserv- Served as a Childbirth Expert
- Rainbow Families/Family Equality-
- Led “Not Yet Parents” workshops and groups
- Prolonged Conception and Infertility, Body Image and LBT Identity in Pregnancy
- Midwest Maternal Institute- Professor
When she’s not supporting families and their doulas at Birthways or supporting individuals through her work as a coach and meditation instructor, Karen is writing, gardening, cooking for family and friends, and cultivating her daily meditation practice. She lives in Wisconsin and is nourished by the trails, lakes and wooded places both in her community and throughout the Midwest in particular. She has Welsh Springer Spaniels that are usually underfoot and hasn’t outgrown her girlhood love for horses. Parenting her daughter, born in 2003, will always be the most important journey she’s been brave enough to take.