Childbirth Instructors


Karen Laing, IBCLC

Karen Laing is a mother, lactation consultant, midwife, and educator and Integrative Health Coach as well as the founder and president of Birthways. As a clinician and educator, her attention to the emotional wellbeing of families permeates her work.

Karen offers “Maybe baby” consultation for individuals or couples contemplating parenting, pre-conception or early pregnancy maternity coaching and consultation, and private childbirth preparation for clients who are experiencing fear, anxiety or have past trauma impacting their experience of pregnancy or childbirth.

Karen leads Mindful Parenting Retreats, lectures on topics related to wellness in the childbearing year and beyond, and offers private online consultation and education options. She has published and lectured on the subject of postpartum doulas and their role in prevention and treatment of perinatal mood disorders and has a blog, The Thriving Place, where she shares resources and interviews national experts on integrative wellness, mindfulness, parenting, women’s health and more. As a Board Member of the National Association of Postpartum Care Services, she worked to establish the first national standards for postpartum doula certification and 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. 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.


Mary Sommers

Mary Sommers, CPM, MPS

Mary has developed the Celebrate Birth model and brings to her class many years of experience and wisdom from witnessing more than 1000 deliveries during the past thirty years.

She cofounded Chicago community Midwives, a not-for-profit homebirth service. She has worked as a birth assistant, doula and lactation consultant for various private practices in the Chicago and Madison area. She has been worked in Community health directing 3 community health centers nurse-midwifery services and maternal child programs. While she worked at a community health center on Chicago's south side, the program was awarded as a model program by UNICEF's Safe Motherhood Initiative. She was a World Health Organization fellow in 1994, studying maternal health and breastfeeding programs in Holland and England. She is a member of the International Advisory Board for CASA, the first professional midwifery program in Mexico and currently is the Maternal Child Health Programs and Clinical Birth Center Director for the first free-standing birth center in Illinois.  She is also the proud mother of five beautiful children all born at home.


megan trinter

Megan Trinter, CD, CPM

Megan is a very knowledgeable and experienced educator, doula, and midwife who is very versed in the Chicago area hospital and homebirth options. 

She graduated from Pennsylvania State University with a B.S., in Human Development and Family Studies with a concentration in Children, Youth & Family Services.  Megan became a labor support and postpartum Birthways doula in 2003, where she went on to support hundreds of families and mentored and supported other doula providers as a Care Coordinator.   She has completed her Midwifery Degree from Midwest Maternal Child Institute and is a CPM who assists with home birth practices in the area.  Megan teaches group & private classes and refresher courses for families who have prior experience giving birth.  Clients appreciate her humor and clear teaching style. Megan has four fabulous children; three born at home and one in a hospital setting.


Brit Brackins

Brit Brackins (Garling), CD (DONA)

Brit is part of the Birthways’ labor support team and a childbirth educator.

During her time at Indiana University, while completing her Bachelors in Applied Sciences, Brit was focusing her studies and career towards women's health and perinatal studies. She interned at Bloomington Area Birthing Services as a Childbirth Education Assistant and also volunteered at a domestic violence program. She joined Birthways with several years of experience as a community-based doula with a non-profit organization for young mothers and possesses extensive experience with a range of low to high risk mothers. Brit utilized her skills as a perinatal educator, doula and lactation home visitor in her work with young mothers. She has received extensive training through the Ounce of Prevention, and annually attends the March of Dimes Perinatal Conference. Brit is a Certified Lactation Counselor and also certified as an Infant Massage Instructor.


Megan Cummins-instructor

Megan Cummins

Megan Cummins is a Senior Postpartum Doula and Educator with more than 14 years of experience supporting families in the childbearing year. 

Megan obtained her doula training from Gail Tully, a doula trainer and the founder of Spinning Babies. From there Megan went on to become a labor support doula, postpartum doula, prenatal yoga instructor, and perinatal educator. Megan has continued her learning to be a comprehensive resource and support for expectant and new families. With her background in teaching group classes on breastfeeding, childbirth education, and infant care, Megan continues to provide her valuable knowledge and mindful approach to new and expectant families as a Private Educator at Birthways. She enjoys spending time with and preparing couples for their journey to parenthood. She has been involved in organizations such as International Cesarean Awareness Network, perinatal mood support groups, La Leche League and Lifeways, an education resource for infant caregivers. Her expertise includes supporting families with prior perinatal loss and those experiencing or at risk for perinatal mood disorders. In addition to her labor support and postpartum doula expertise, she is also a Certified Nursing Assistant, a certified Shiatsu therapist with prenatal and postpartum emphasis, and a Prenatal Kundalini Yoga Instructor. She is also a perinatal educator and has completed the Birthing from Within Level I training with Pam England.