About Us

Meet our dedicated team of birth professionals.

Meet the Team

The Nurturing Root, established in 2011, offers birth and postpartum doula support, childbirth education, and placenta encapsulation services throughout Baltimore and the surrounding counties. 
Carmen Calvo

Carmen Calvo

Founder
Carmen Calvo founded The Nurturing Root in November 2011. Having struggled with postpartum fatigue and anxiety after the birth of her first child, Carmen was eager to find a natural way to avoid these feelings again when she became pregnant with her second baby. Carmen began studying the benefits of placentophagy, and had her placenta encapsulated. Carmen was so passionate about placentophagy that she dedicated herself to training as a placenta encapsulation specialist. Eager to share the placenta’s restorative powers with other parents, and inspired by the image a placenta created when printed, she started The Nurturing Root, and has been happily offering her services ever since. 

What started as a way for Carmen to have a healthier birth and postpartum evolved into a passionate and rewarding career and business that has supported over 1,000 families throughout Baltimore and the surrounding area.
Kristie Graybill sitting on her stoop in Baltimore City

Kristie Graybill

Placenta Encapsulator, Childbirth Educator, Blogger
Originally from Louisiana, Kristie now considers the East Coast her home and has spent the last 9 years in a Baltimore City classroom teaching Language Arts to 5th graders. After personally experiencing the benefits of placenta encapsulation as a Nurturing Root client, she became interested in helping other people attain these same postpartum benefits. Kristie has trained under Carmen Calvo and as placenta encapsulation specialist through Placenta Benefits. She also holds an OSHA blood borne & pathogens certification and a food handlers certificate.

Kristie believes birth to be one of the most empowering and supernatural experiences that you can ever take part in. She is passionate about connecting with parents, both new and experienced, and helping them through this wonderfully rewarding and challenging time after birth.

Kristie currently lives in Baltimore with her husband and three daughters.
Amanda Kitchen, placenta encapsulator in Baltimore, MD

Amanda Kitchen

Placenta Encapsulator
Amanda Kitchen became an encapsulator for the Nurturing Root after she experienced a home birth with her second son. She began researching natural birth and home birth during her pregnancies and felt amazement, empowerment, and awe in the beauty of birth. During this time, she realized her passion to help others achieve that same knowledge and understanding of what their bodies were created to do. She intends to pursue doula certification to further her own education and to be able to assist women along their journey in a deeper way.

Amanda loves the outdoors and enjoys sharing that love with her husband and two boys. She has an affinity for the Adirondacks where she spent time as a counselor at a camp for girls and participated in an outdoor leadership program. There is a deep connection found between us and nature symbolized in the placenta’s design. She believes there are considerable mental and physical benefits to be gained from the outdoors.

Amanda lives in Baltimore with her husband and two sons.
Hannah Morgan, placenta encapsulator in Baltimore

Hannah Morgan

Placenta Encapsulator
Hannah Morgan has been with The Nurturing Root since 2016. She is a Certified Professional Midwife and attends births with a busy Maryland-based midwifery practice. She believes birth is a beautiful and natural event, and enjoys helping parents feel empowered to make their own decisions during their pregnancies and births.

Hannah became interested in becoming a birth worker after spending two years in Togo, West Africa, working as a Peace Corps volunteer. There, she witnessed many unassisted births and led infant and prenatal care groups with the women in her village. 

Hannah lives in Baltimore with her two kittens, Placenta and Polenta.
Tova Brody and her daughter

Tova Brody

Birth Doula
Tova Brody is a certified birth assistant, student midwife, and doula. After experiencing the beauty of midwifery care and having an incredible birth with her first child in 2011, she wanted to give back to the birth community. She became an enthusiastic birth activist and still currently volunteers with Maryland Families for Safe Birth, an organization that works to improve the maternal healthcare system for Maryland Families. She also started being asked to attends friends’ births to help assist them during the laboring process and she quickly realized that birthwork was her calling. She firmly believes in empowering women and families and is passionate about ensuring they feel supported during every step of their pregnancy, labor, birth and postpartum journeys.

She is currently enrolled at the National College of Midwifery and is working with two local midwifery practices, studying to become a Certified Professional Midwife. In addition to that, she educates families on natural parenting topics including pregnancy, birth, breastfeeding, babywearing, and cloth diapering. She also runs a Baltimore breastmilk bank.
Her hobbies include playing music, practicing yoga, reading books, fostering cats, and spending time with her family. She resides in Baltimore with her husband, four daughters and various kitty cats.
Anne Fraim, Baltimore birth doula

Anne Fraim

Birth Doula
Anne Fraim received her birth doula training through DONA International. As a birth doula, she knows that birth is an experience that parents will remember all of their life. Her role is to assist a woman and her birth partner in carrying out their birth plan. To achieve this, she will provide continuous emotional support, physical comfort, and non-clinical advice throughout your labor and delivery.

Anne has worked as a physical therapist assistant for 35 years. She has a vast knowledge of comfort measures such as massage, movement, and positional changes. In her years of clinical practice, she has enjoyed working with a diverse clientele. Her calm and objective demeanor are a great asset and comfort to her birth clients.

Anne is committed to helping couples create great birth memories!
Eileen Ackerman, Postpartum doula in Baltimore

Eileen Ackerman

Birth & Postpartum Doula, Childbirth Educator
Eileen Ackerman is a DONA International trained postpartum doula. She is excited to help nurture you and your new baby in this important fourth trimester of childbirth ! Recognizing the need and importance of having extra support during this crucial time through her own personal experience as well as many friends and family, Eileen is dedicated to helping foster the most important part of new parenting - bonding and getting to know your new precious baby ! Supporting a new family and helping to ease some of the worry and anxiety of adding a child into the family is a passion for Eileen and she looks forward to getting to know your unique family and helping make this as stress- free as possible.

Eileen comes with a lot of experience having seven children - 4 birth and 3 adopted and one beautiful grand baby. For the last several years she has been taking care of foster babies right from the hospital for about 6 weeks until they are ready to be placed into their forever families. This has been such a privilege and a joy to take care of these babies and to help their new adopted parents transition into becoming a family !

Meg Ruzicka

Birth & Postpartum Doula, Belly Binding
Meg, a birth and postpartum doula, strives to guide families through the vulnerability that takes place from pregnancy to postpartum. Meg is a mother and partner to my sweet little family in Harford County, MD.  She is passionate about nature, and loves all things that help her show empathy. Meg loves to connect with families in ways that promote trust and comfort when they are together. Building the relationship by using active listening, validating feelings, evidence-based support, and helping the families build their community are so important to her, as a doula. Using mindful techniques to promote relaxation, and an open mind can be so huge when in labor. The stillness of the mind and what it can do for the body are so important when it comes to laboring and birthing your baby. Connection is a huge part of all of these phases and the more that you can connect with yourself, your partner, your doula, your care provider, your BIRTH TEAM; the more stress free and flexible you will be. 

Postpartum is a time to be so gentle with yourself--mentally and physically. Meg loves to nurture her postpartum clients by bringing them flowers, listening to their birth story, setting up a snack box right next to their resting area so they do not have to get up much. It really is the little things. You just gave birth to a beautiful gift and now is the time to rest and hydrate; to eat warming foods and worry not about the house or the world.  Meg loves to be there with clients, supporting them with newborn care, offering assurance, and information. It's an abundant thing when your needs are met and you feel great, too.
Maria Barlow, postpartum doula in Baltimore

Maria Barlow

Postpartum Doula
Maria has been a nurse on the mother/baby unit of a local hospital for 2 years and enjoys working with new babies and their parents. Her experience as a dance instructor for children ages 3-14 has given Maria the skills to help families manage busy households with many siblings. While working in the hospital setting, it became clear to Maria that families needed so much more support after going home with their baby. She felt inspired to become a postpartum doula to be able to more intimately support growing families in their transition with their newborn. Maria looks forward to serving Baltimore families.
Heather Pladna is a blogger for The Nurturing Root in Baltimore, MD

Heather Pladna

Blogger
Heather Pladna is a former mental health therapist who is now a stay-at-home mom to 6 amazing children. She became interested in all things birth, babies, and breastfeeding back in
2008 when pregnant with her first baby. Heather is passionate about encouraging soon-to-be and new parents, knowing first-hand how vital support is through this parenting journey.

Heather lives in the Baltimore-area with her husband, 2 sons, and 4 daughters.
Your Birth and Postpartum Are Going to be Amazing

Our Services

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Doula Support
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Childbirth Education
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Placenta Encapsulation
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