Alice Bailes

b. 1946

by JWA Staff
Our work to expand the Encyclopedia is ongoing. We are providing this brief biography for Alice Bailes until we are able to commission a full entry.

Midwife, writer, educator, and founder of BirthCare, Alice Bailes assisting in a birth.

Courtesy of Lloyd Wolf and Paula Wolfson.

Alice Bailes joined the resurgence of natural childbirth in America both as a midwife and as coeditor of The Handbook on Home Birth. Bailes read her first book on birth, Childbirth Without Fear, at age ten, when her baby sister was born. She took Lamaze classes before the birth of her own first child but was still forced to take post-partum sedatives and had her child taken away for the first 24 hours due to hospital policies. She became a Lamaze teacher in 1971 and began observing her students’ home births before becoming a certified midwife, going to nursing school at George Mason University and midwifery training at Georgetown. She practiced as a midwife at Family Birth for five years before co-creating BirthCare, a birth center and home birth service, with Marsha Jackson in 1987. In November 2012, she, Jackson, and BirthCare received The Strong Woman Award from the DC Affiliate of the American College of Nurse-Midwives. They also received the With Women for a Lifetime – Gold Commendation Award from the American College of Nurse-Midwives. Bailes continued practicing at BirthCare until retirement in January 2013. As of 2023, the center’s five midwives attend upwards of 250 births every year. 

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How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Alice Bailes." (Viewed on April 18, 2024) <http://jwa.org/encyclopedia/article/bailes-alice>.