Philosophy of Care
A woman’s health and medical care is a partnership between her and her health care provider. It is our responsibility to provide excellence in her care and education and sensitivity to her concerns and needs. Her health is also her own responsibility, we expect her to communicate with us and participate in decision-making. We acknowledge the value of both traditional and alternative forms of health promotion and treatment. We will listen to our clients, and treat them and their families with respect, dignity, and assurance of confidentiality. Pregnancy and birth are physiological processes that should be subject to as little intervention as possible. The process of birth belongs to the domain of normal human activity and requires medical assistance only when disturbances to normal patterns are present. We offer women choices in place of birth, choosing the appropriate level of expertise and technology. Certified nurse midwives (CNM), experts in normal childbearing, work independently and in collaboration with our consulting obstetricians. Together, we are dedicated to taking time to educate, advise, and support the childbearing family.
Client Satisfaction Rate
Hospital Transfers in Labor
Client Satisfaction Rate
Hospital Transfers in Labor
FNP, CNM Owner/Director
Lesley Rathbun is dual certified as a Family Nurse Practitioner and Certified Nurse Midwife. She is the owner and director of Charleston Birth Place. Ms. Rathbun graduated in 2004 from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio and has attended over 1,000 births in her career as a midwife. Prior to becoming a midwife she worked as a RN in all areas of women’s health including labor & delivery, neonatal intensive care, childbirth education, surgical assistant, outpatient OB/GYN clinic, and an Amish birth center. Ms. Rathbun is a member of American College of Nurse Midwives, The Midwife Alliance of North America, and is a 2 term past president of the American Association of Birth Centers. She is active in legislative efforts to increase access to midwife led birth centers for all families.
CNM, MSN, Staff Certified Nurse Midwife
Jennifer started her career as a labor and delivery nurse at MUSC in 2008, and joined the CBP family as a birth assistant the following year. Since then, she has worn many CBP hats as a student nurse midwife, patient, part-time office midwife, and full-time staff midwife. She loves supporting and educating CBP’s moms and families as they journey through pregnancy, birth, and parenting! Jennifer lives in Park Circle with her husband Kyle, daughter Annabelle, and son Theodore.
CNM, MSN Staff Midwife
Ashley Marshall’s journey to midwifery began with the births of her own children who were all born into the hands of midwives. Shortly after the birth of her first son in 1999 she began attending births as a doula. As her passion for woman-centered care grew, she became a nurse working in a free-standing birth center. In 2010, shortly before the birth of her 6th child, Ashley graduated from Frontier School of Midwifery & Family Nursing with a Master’s in Nursing and received her credentialing as a Certified Nurse-Midwife. Ashley has extensive experience caring for women throughout their lifespan, practicing in a range of settings including out-of hospital, hospital, and public health care settings. Being back in a birth center environment feels a lot like coming home and Ashley is honored to be a part of the Charleston Birth Place team providing full-scope midwifery care to women and their families.
CNM and IBCLC
Martha Krauss is a full time member of our midwife staff. Martha is thrilled to be at the Birth Place, providing midwifery care in its purist form to CBP clients. She has over 20 years of experience in women’s health, the majority as a CNM and IBCLC. It was during a maternity rotation in nursing school at Rutgers University that Martha realized as a CNM she would be able to provide midwifery care to her patients as an independent provider. After 2 years of required L&D experience (including a six -month travel assignment in Hawaii), Martha attended MUSC College of Nursing Graduate Program where she earned her master’s degree in Nurse-Midwifery. Since then, she has practiced here in the Lowcountry; at the Medical University as a part of their CNM practice, then a private practice that delivered babies at Trident and Summerville Medical Centers.
After the birth of her second child, Martha took some time off to raise her children. She then returned to women’s health as an IBCLC, educating and assisting new mothers with their breastfeeding efforts. She has made it her life’s work to care for and empower women, especially those who take an active role in promoting their own health. Martha and her family live on the Intracoastal Waterway and enjoy spending time on the water, swimming, fishing, boating and just relaxing!
MSN, CNM, WHNP-BC
I have been working with mothers and babies for more than a decade in many different capacities, which ultimately led to my working here at the Charleston Birth Place as a Certified Nurse Midwife/Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner.
It wasn’t until the last semester of midwifery school that I realized my passion for out-of-hospital births. I had the opportunity to spend my integration semester here at the Charleston Birth Place as a Student Nurse Midwife. I can’t even begin to summarize my amazing experience here and how my trust in birth was rejuvenated. What I can say is that after working in a hospital setting for all of my career up to that point, I knew I didn’t want to ever leave a place where women were supported, the care provided was evidenced based, and the natural process of birth without many interventions was the norm. I was heartbroken when my integration was over.
Thankfully, in the fall of 2014, I was asked to be CBPs newest midwife. To say I was thrilled was an understatement! I am truly honored and thankful every day for this amazing opportunity to be a part of CBPs community. I look forward to meeting you, supporting you and your family, and helping you achieve the birth you desire!
CNM, MSN Staff Midwife
Penelope “Penny” Bowman for the past 25 years in the Lowcountry has assisted thousands of families with their pregnancy and health care needs. Her journey to midwifery began as a child hearing stories from a grand aunt, “Mama Lee” of helping women in the community during their pregnancy and birth. My personal experience during pregnancy and birth with a CNM of my daughter was such a wonderful experience I knew becoming a nurse-midwife was what I wanted to do for a life career. The care, presence, and encouragement during my pregnancy and birth gave me such a sense of empowerment.
During my undergraduate years at Tuskegee University, I worked as an OB Tech allowing me the opportunity to work with mothers in labor, postpartum, and nursery. As an RN I worked labor and delivery at MUSC gaining the critical experience needed to work with low-risk and high-risk mothers. I later attended Charles Drew University of Medicine and Science where I received my Certification in Midwifery Education.
As a teenager, Ivy Parrish was able to witness a friend give birth. From this first witness of the miracle of birth, Ivy’s love for pregnancy, childbirth and growing families developed. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Charleston Southern University and began working at Trident Medical Center in postpartum and medical surgery. As a mother of three children, Ivy gained first-hand experience in pregnancy and birth. She has also served as a surrogate mother, giving the gift of life to a baby boy last fall.
It was after the birth of her first child that she recognized the beauty of breastfeeding. She acknowledges the connection that is made between the baby and mother is just as important as the nutritional value. Due to her commitment to the nutrition of breast milk, Ivy has continued to pump breast milk for the preemie milk bank. She has completed the WIC Breastfeeding Peer Counselor course so that she can be a support for breastfeeding mothers. Ivy has also studied placentas and encapsulates them for many moms in South Carolina.
With the birth of her third child, Ivy chose the Charleston Birth Place and fell in love with the support and comfort they offered her in a natural childbirth. Now she is able to offer that same comfort and support as a nurse at the center. She is passionate about working with midwives and families who see birth as a sacred experience, to be celebrated and honored.
Norva S. Andrews Decoteau
RN, BSc, LNM, CLNC
I have worked at Charleston Birth Place for more than seven years as a birth assistant and post-partum home visit nurse. I was born in Trinidad and Tobago, where I gained my formal education. I worked in general nursing and then become a licensed nurse midwife. In 2003, my family and I migrated to the USA. My well-rounded background, has given me the opportunity to work in various disciplines as a travel nurse. I am a wife, mother of three, and proud grandmother of one.
My midwifery training in the West Indies aligns with CBP’s vision of natural childbirth. I am passionate about caring for new mothers and being a resource to the family as they meet their newest member. CBP shares my vision of empowering women and families, thus I anticipate an enduring relationship as we continue to empower our clients.