Centering Pregnancy is MAHEC's preferred model of care during your pregnancy.
View the long version of our program overview here.
While traditional prenatal care is always an option at MAHEC Ob/Gyn Specialists, we also offer Centering Pregnancy,
an evidence-based model of group prenatal care recommended by the American College of Obstetricians and
Gynecologists based on studies that show group prenatal care can improve birth outcomes, patient education, social
support, and patient satisfaction - which you'll see in the testimonials below!
Centering Pregnancy reduces risks for preterm delivery, low birth weight, and cesarean section. Our group approach
gives families more time with dedicated providers to explore healthy pregnancy and parenting information in a
supportive environment with families at similar stages in their pregnancy journey.
We find families really enjoy the extra support they receive in our Centering Pregnancy groups, and we encourage you
to give this evidence-based approach a try. You can learn more about our preferred model of care in the videos and
Centering Pregnancy is a way for you to share learning and experiences with other pregnant women and to be involved
in your own care.
Centering Pregnancy includes a traditional health checkup with additional time and attention in a setting with other
expectant parents. You’ll have your one-on-one healthcare checkup with your provider. Then you will join other
women, who are due near the same time, for shared discussion of all things related to pregnancy, birth, the
postpartum period, and parenthood.
If you are interested in this model of care and would like more information, please email us at
Centering Pregnancy Benefits
Better Health Outcomes
Numerous studies have shown that Centering Moms have fewer preterm deliveries and overall healthier
"Give it a chance - you really will love it!"
Moms are actively engaged in their own healthcare.
"We covered things that I never would have thought to ask or discuss."
Centering moms are better prepared for labor, delivery, and the care of their infant. Centering moms
better understand what is normal during pregnancy, and what is cause for concern.
"Centering is more personal and so much more fun than waiting rooms!"
More Time With Your Providers
Moms in Centering spend 12 times more time with their providers than women in traditional care.
"I loved the ability to talk more extensively with the professionals we were given access to."
Support and Friendship
Women enjoy being with other women, and their support people, who are going through a similar
experience. This gives them an opportunity to share their knowledge and learn from one another and
the wisdom of the group. Centering parents create lasting friendships.
"I felt extra supported sharing the experience with other pregnant women and the wonderful MAHEC
Learning and FUN
The most common word used to describe Centering is FUN! In Centering, you are actively engaged and
involved in a discussion with your peers, rather than being lectured to or given a pamphlet.
Healthy, delicious snacks, interactive activities, and music are a part of every session.
"Best two hours of my day! I'm going to miss my group so much."
Our facilitators are committed to helping you have the best pregnancy possible in an empowering and supportive
community of Centering families. Your facilitators will be with you throughout your pregnancy journey and are
excited to support you as you grow your family. You'll have plenty of time to get to know each other in the coming
months, but you can learn a little more in our short introductions below.
Aimee Feste, CNM has been a nurse-midwife for 15 years now, and she still gets inspired and moved by women and families becoming mothers and parents. Amy has a lot of fun in her Centering groups and believes they are wonderful ways to connect women with each other and their inner mother strength as they move through the normal and transformative experiences of pregnancy and birth. Aimee has worked in a variety of settings including supporting births in a variety of settings and has also taught nursing at AB-Tech. Originally from Hendersonville, her favorite things are her two elementary age kids, family, sunshine, eating yummy food, reading a good book, and being outside with dear friends.
Laurie Jenkins, CNM, has many years of experience providing both low-risk and high-risk midwifery care to pregnant families as well as gynecologic care and family planning services. She loves working with families in Centering because she believes education and personal empowerment are the keys to having the healthiest possible pregnancy and birth. Laurie relocated to Weaverville several years ago, where she owns and runs a small dairy goat farm, after many years of midwifery practice in Philadelphia. Laurie is originally from North Carolina but grew up in Colorado and completed her nurse midwifery studies at Case Western Reserve in Cleveland, Ohio. She is happy to finally return home to North Carolina and our beautiful mountains.
Teresa Lunsford, CMA, has been a certified medical assistant for five years and loves working with pregnant women. She became a Centering Pregnancy facilitator in 2017. Teresa feels like this work is her calling and is grateful to support families during this important times in their lives. As the mother of a 2-year-old boy, she has been on a similar journey and is learning something new every day, which makes her even more excited about meeting new mommies who are just starting their journey or those who are growing their family and have stories to tell.
Amanda Brickhouse Murphy, CNM, is often described by her patients as sweet and understanding. She sees herself as an advocate for women and families and finds joy in the relationships that develop in Centering. Creating fun in any moment is her favorite pastime. This could be extreme fun like cliff diving into the ocean or skydiving or slightly more subdued fun like competitive dance parties with her three children and husband.
You’d be hard pressed to find a person who has met Dolly once and did not immediately want to be her friend. She thrives in forming relationships and maintaining loyalty. Her patients line up to see her, and she treats each one with the same amount of affection and kindness. Dolly is the proud wife of an amazing man who is WNC’s mosquito expert and the proud momma of two boys. She loves traveling, cooking and eating, and she was a White House intern just prior to when Monica Lewinsky made that position infamous! She worked in the office of the VP and had the opportunity to work with Tipper Gore.
Stephanie Stone, CMA, has been with MAHEC Ob/Gyn Specialists for several years and decided to become a Centering Pregnancy facilitator because it sounded like so much fun. While she doesn’t have any children, being a Centering facilitator has given her a wonderful sense of family. She is grateful for all of the warm connections she has made in her Centering groups. Stephanie loves watching people become parents and couples become families.
It is impossible not to notice Joann’s presence in a room. She brings positive energy and spunk to any given encounter. Her main reason for working at MAHEC Ob/Gyn Specialists is the connection it allows her to feel to the women and babies she cares for. She loves adventure and facing challenges. In fact, she is the first to sign up for any warrior dash, kayaking endeavor or haunted trail that she can.
Dolly Pressley Byrd, CNM, PhDAssistant Medical Director
Evan Richardson, CNMCertified Nurse Midwife
A certified doula is a trained professional who provides continuous physical, emotional, and informational support
to a mother before, during, and after childbirth to support her in achieving the healthiest, most satisfying birth
and postpartum experience possible.
SistasCaring4Sistas doulas provide support before, during, and after labor and delivery to encourage healthy
outcomes for mothers and babies. Doula services are available to MAHEC patients regardless of their ability to pay.
Priority is given to mothers of color and those with the highest risk who could benefit most from doula services. As
we build community capacity, we hope to make our services available to all women who would like them.
Our program is located at MAHEC Ob/Gyn Specialists, but our doulas also work with MAHEC family medicine providers.
Doulas attend prenatal visits, when requested, visit clients in their homes, and attend births at the hospital.
Call us at 828-620-9828 or 828-216-2606 to learn how our doulas could support you or a friend or
Women who meet our screening criteria are paired with a doula who will be their primary support person throughout
the pregnancy. SistasCaring4Sistas doulas provide coverage for each other during births, so it is possible that
another doula will provide you with support from time to time. All of our doulas do their best to ensure your birth
goals are understood and honored by those providing your care.
Learn about SC4S' entire team of doulas on their website - click here
Cindy is a certified birth doula, a certified breastfeeding peer counselor, a Lamaze-trained childbirth educator, and a certified peer support specialist for mothers with substance use disorders. She endeavors to help women feel supported, heard, and valued during pregnancy, childbirth, and postpartum while giving them the freedom to make informed decisions about their care and their birth journey. Cindy is the proud mother of four children.
Wakina is a certified birth doula, a certified breastfeeding peer counselor, a Lamaze-trained childbirth educator, and a postpartum trained doula. She is responsible for mentoring and training new doulas. Wakina was inspired to become a doula after attending and assisting with the birth of her six grandchildren. She knows firsthand the happiness that new life can bring and wants to help mothers and their families enjoy a healthy birth experience.
Nikita is a certified birth doula, a certified breastfeeding peer counselor, a Lamaze-trained childbirth educator, and is currently earning her certification as a lactation consultant. She seeks to eliminate health disparities by educating and supporting women in her community. Nikita moved to the Asheville area in 2009 and has been assisting moms during the birthing process since 2016. She is a single parent and the busy mother of a teenager.
SistasCaring4Sistas was founded in November 2016 by Nikita Smart, Wakina Norris, Sade Muskatem, and Cindy McMillan -
all active members of the Mothering Asheville movement. At that time, babies born to women of color in Buncombe
County were three times more likely to die in the first year of life than white babies.
After earning their certification in 2016, SistasCaring4Sistas began providing doula services through MAHEC to
support mothers at any point during their pregnancy from their first prenatal visit through labor and postpartum at
home. Since then, each doula has pursued additional training in childbirth education, breastfeeding support,
postpartum (after-birth care), and peer support for women who have mental health and/or substance use challenges.
To date, SistasCaring4Sistas has supported more than 100 women through pregnancy, labor, delivery, and postpartum;
and we welcome new clients every month.
SistasCaring4Sistas is just that: sistas who co-create safe spaces and assist sistas in empowering themselves by
creating positive birth experiences and outcomes that promote healthy families and community connections.
SistasCaring4Sistas will eradicate disparities in maternal and infant mortality by providing education and doula
services before, during, and after pregnancy for families who face adverse maternal health outcomes. We will build
sustainable community capacity and form lasting connections with our clients through open lines of communication and
About Mothering Asheville
Mothering Asheville is a collaborative community-centered health movement focused on eliminating inequities in
infant mortality in Buncombe County. An ever-growing movement, community partners include SistasCaring4Sistas,
MAHEC, Buncombe County's Nurse
Family Partnership, YWCA Asheville,
Asheville-Buncombe Institute for Parity Achievement (ABIPA), and Pisgah Legal Services.
Maternal-fetal medicine (MFM) specialists are high-risk pregnancy experts who oversee complicated pregnancies. MFM
physicians work collaboratively with other clinical specialists including certified nurse midwives, nurse
practitioners, physician's assistants, and general obstetrician-gynecologists; to keep expectant moms safe and
healthy prior to, during and shortly after pregnancy. Our specialists offer prenatal ultrasounds and related
screening and diagnostic tests, develop interdisciplinary care plans. administer treatments and perform surgeries
depending on the type and severity of complications.
Patients are referred to one of our MFM specialists if she and/or her baby are prone to serious health risks during
pregnancy or following delivery. These women meet with our MFM physicians for a consultation, an ultrasound exam or
perhaps both. Since there are many different types of appointments available, our staff will work with your
healthcare provider to ensure that you are scheduled for the appropriate type of care.
Jeremy and Bonnie with their identical twin girls from the same amniotic sac—an uncommon and
high risk type of twin that can result in the loss of both babies.
“We just had a lot to process because we wanted to get excited about the pregnancy, but there was a also a
lot of fear.” — Bonnie
Why might I be referred to an MFM specialist?
There are several reasons why you would need to consult with an MFM physician during your pregnancy. You may be
referred to us if:
You have a preexisting medical condition or one that has developed during pregnancy (e.g. diabetes, high blood
pressure, kidney disease, hypertension, autoimmune disorder, thrombophilia, etc.)
You have a history of complications during pregnancy or delivery (e.g. incompetent cervix, preterm labor,
preterm birth, preeclampsia, alloimmunization, premature rupture of the membranes, etc.)
You have a history of pregnancy losses
You are expecting more than one baby (twins, triplets, quadruplets, etc.)
You have had previously, or are expecting currently, a baby with a structural or genetic difference
If you exhibit any of the above at-risk conditions, you will meet with an MFM physician to review your medical,
previous pregnancy and family history. Any current or expected complications during your pregnancy will be discussed
and a physical exam will be performed, if necessary. Our specialists will be happy to discuss any potential maternal
and fetal risks with you in detail and make recommendations for tests and/or treatments to improve the likelihood of
a successful pregnancy.
What can an ultrasound reveal about the health of my pregnancy?
Depending on the reason for your visit, you may have an ultrasound performed as part of your initial appointment with
one of our MFM specialists. Ultrasound is an important diagnostic tool that can help evaluate fetal health.
Ultrasound is used to:
Document the number of babies in the uterus
Measure the size of the baby to predict the due date
Observe the baby's growth rate by making many measurements over time
Check the location of the placenta and its attachment to the umbilical cord
Determine whether or not there is an appropriate amount of amniotic fluid around the baby
Evaluate fetal organ systems and well-being
Determine the position of the baby to see if it is in the normal, head-down position in time for labor
Monitor the baby during specialized procedures, such as amniocentesis (sampling of the amniotic fluid with a
needle for genetic and other testing)
Why might I consider participating in genetic counseling?
Genetic counseling is available for women who are currently pregnant or considering having a child in the future.
MAHEC partners with the Mission Fullerton
Genetics Center to provide the highest quality care for our at-risk patients. You may meet with a
genetic counselor if:
You will be 35 years of age or older at the time of delivery
Your ultrasound results reveal a known or suspected structural birth difference
You receive an abnormal prenatal or genetic screening test result (e.g. First Trimester Screen, Quad screen,
cell free fetal DNA screen, cystic fibrosis screen, etc.)
You have an illness that may be associated with an increased risk for structural birth differences (e.g.
diabetes, PKU, etc.)
You are taking medication that may be associated with an increased risk for structural birth differences (e.g.
seizures, autoimmune disease, etc.)
You have been exposed to something that may be associated with an increased risk for structural birth
differences (e.g. drug/alcohol use, chemicals, certain infections, etc.)
You have a family history of genetic conditions, chromosome or structural birth differences (e.g. cystic
fibrosis, sickle cell disease, open neural tube, etc.)
Substance use during pregnancy
are pregnant and struggling with a substance use disorder (drug/alcohol addiction), please visit MAHEC's Project CARA to learn more about treatment options, specialty obstetric services, medication assisted treatment, counseling and other community resources.
Maternal-Fetal Medicine Team
Our dedicated staff is made up of the only board-certified MFM physicians in the region aided by two exceptional
nurse practitioners with special expertise in high-risk obstetrics. This team specializes in providing care for
women who are ’at risk’ and considering pregnancy or those who are already pregnant and ’high-risk’ or complicated
for a variety of reasons. We see patients who are undergoing diagnostic or therapeutic procedures such as
comprehensive ultrasound, chorionic villus sampling, and genetic amniocentesis. We also consult on patients with
medical and surgical disorders coincident with or prior to pregnancy including heart disease, chronic hypertension,
diabetes and other endocrine disorders, kidney and gastrointestinal diseases, and infectious diseases. Otherwise
healthy women who may require these services are those whose pregnancies are at markedly increased risk for adverse
outcomes such as those with abnormal serum screens, multiple gestations, recurrent preterm labor, premature rupture
of membranes, or growth abnormalities of the fetus.
Dr. Lisa Carroll is a Maternal-Fetal Medicine Specialist. She joined the MAHEC Maternal-Fetal Medicine division in 2020 after completing Medical School at the University of North Carolina, Ob/Gyn Residency at Boston Medical Center, and MFM Fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. Throughout her training and career, Dr. Carroll’s clinical and research interests have been guided by her commitment to social justice and equity for marginalized populations.
Dr. Carroll specializes in providing care for women who are ‘at risk’ and considering pregnancy, or those who are experiencing ‘high-risk’ or complicated pregnancies for a variety of reasons. Dr. Carroll sees patients who are undergoing diagnostic or therapeutic procedures such as comprehensive ultrasound, chorionic villus sampling and genetic amniocentesis. She also consults with patients who have medical and surgical disorders coincident with or prior to pregnancy, which includes heart disease, chronic hypertension, diabetes/other endocrinologic disorders, kidney/gastrointestinal diseases and infectious diseases. Otherwise healthy women who may require these services are those whose pregnancies are at markedly increased risk for adverse outcomes, such as those with abnormal serum screens, multiple gestations, recurrent preterm labor, premature rupture of membranes or growth abnormalities of the fetus. Dr. Carroll considers it a great privilege to walk with women through questions and complications that arise in pregnancy in effort to achieve the healthiest possible outcomes for women and their growing families.
Dr. Carol Coulson is a Maternal-Fetal Medicine specialist. She specializes in providing care for women who are ’at risk’ and considering pregnancy or those who are already pregnant and ’high-risk’ or complicated for a variety of reasons. Dr. Coulson sees patients who are undergoing diagnostic or therapeutic procedures such as comprehensive ultrasound, chorionic villus sampling, and genetic amniocentesis. She also consults on patients with medical and surgical disorders coincident with or prior to pregnancy including heart disease, chronic hypertension, diabetes and other endocrinologic disorders, kidney and gastrointestinal diseases, and infectious diseases. Otherwise healthy women who may require these services are those whose pregnancies are at markedly increased risk for adverse outcomes such as those with abnormal serum screens, multiple gestations, recurrent preterm labor, premature rupture of membranes, or growth abnormalities of the fetus.
Dr. Kathryn Davidson is a maternal-fetal medicine specialist. She joined the MAHEC Maternal-Fetal Medicine division in 2014 after completing medical school, residency and fellowship at the University Of Florida. Although she grew up on the Space Coast of Florida, she previously called North Carolina home while attending undergrad at Wake Forest University. She is passionate about helping families grow by optimizing the health of each pregnancy.
Dr. Davidson specializes in providing care for women who are ’at risk’ and considering pregnancy, or those who are experiencing ’high-risk’ or complicated pregnancies for a variety of reasons. Dr. Davidson sees patients who are undergoing diagnostic or therapeutic procedures such as comprehensive ultrasound, chorionic villus sampling and genetic amniocentesis. She also consults with patients who have medical and surgical disorders coincident with or prior to pregnancy, which includes heart disease, chronic hypertension, diabetes/other endocrinologic disorders, kidney/gastrointestinal diseases and infectious diseases. Otherwise healthy women who may require these services are those whose pregnancies are at markedly increased risk for adverse outcomes, such as those with abnormal serum screens, multiple gestations, recurrent preterm labor, premature rupture of membranes or growth abnormalities of the fetus.
Program Director, Maternal-Fetal Medicine Fellowship
Dr. Lisa Foglia joined MAHEC Ob/Gyn Specialists in September 2022. She recently retired from the US Army after over 24 years of service. She completed her Residency and MFM Fellowship at Madigan Army Medical Center. She was most recently the Designated Institutional Official at Womack Army Medical Center at Ft. Bragg, NC. She enjoys teaching residents and fellows and was the OB/Gyn Residency Program Director at Madigan for seven years. She has special interests in medical education, health equity and simulation. She is also active in ACOG, and currently serves as the Chair of the Armed Forces District.
Outside of work, she enjoys hanging out with her dog Sophie, yoga and enjoying all the culinary delights that Asheville has to offer.
Heather Miracle is a Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner, which means that she can diagnosis and treat women throughout their pregnancies and throughout their lifespan―from adolescence to old age. Many women choose to have a nurse practitioner as their primary provider for things like Pap smears, breast exams, and other routine gynecologic services, as well as prenatal care. Heather has a special interest in pregnant patients who have diabetes. She is originally from eastern Pennsylvania and has lived in the Midwest, but has happily settled in Asheville with her family where they enjoy an active outdoor life in the mountains.