Our education team

Babymoon Inn’s team of educators are highly trained in both effective teaching methods and evidence-based guidelines for pregnancy, birth and postpartum.

About Us

Since our opening in 2010, Babymoon Inn’s expanding childbirth education program has grown to become the premier spot for independent childbirth education in Phoenix. We are proud to be home to the largest team of Lamaze-certified childbirth educators in the state of Arizona, offering a wide variety of class offerings in various settings. 

In addition to being certified by Lamaze – the gold standard in childbirth education – our team of educators have backgrounds that include advanced degrees in areas such as education, exercise physiology, and recreational therapy.

Diana Petersen M.Ed, LCCE

Diana Petersen M.Ed, LCCE

Director of Education

A little about me: I’m a Phoenix native and met my husband while we were both attending the University of Arizona. I have one son and one daughter, born naturally with the help of Babymoon Inn midwives. I have a Master’s degree in education, and prior to coming to work at Babymoon, I spent 10 years teaching everything from pre-K through 4th grade. In my spare time, I enjoy escape rooms, photography, and traveling.

Favorite subject to teach:  There are so many!  I honestly love talking about the role of pain in labor, and to help my students see it as necessary and purposeful and begin to disassociate their previous perceptions of pain as something negative. I see so many lightbulbs go off during class when we dive into why we feel the sensations of labor, and how they are ultimately helpful and nothing to fear.  Changing our mindset about pain is probably more important than learning comfort measures to try to manage it.

What people can expect in your classes: Lots of humor and lots of information! I genuinely love getting to work with expectant parents and watch the transition that occurs between weeks one and five of a class series. You can also expect balance in my classes – I genuinely believe there isn’t one right way to give birth or one right way to parent. I want my students (and birthing people in general) to have all of the information they need to make the decision that is right for their family.  

Aimee Nelson CRT, YTT 200, LCCE

Aimee Nelson CRT, YTT 200, LCCE

Childbirth Educator, Yoga Instructor

A little about me: I’m a Babymoon mama raising two second-generation Phoenix natives with the love of my life. Clayton and I met at ASU working on a research project together and we never looked back. I work part time as a Recreation Therapist at St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center in the Neurorehabilitation Unit assisting individuals who have suffered a brain or spinal cord injury to return to their passions. I completed my yoga teacher training in December of 2016 and have since been teaching to a variety of populations including adaptive and prenatal yoga.

Favorite subject to teach:  Even though the material can be heavy, I really do enjoy teaching the physiology of birth. I love seeing it *click* for some parents when we discuss not only the physical process of labor and birth, but the hormonal and emotional as well.  I also love the activity where we teach postpartum care. Using humor to cover the not so glamorous parts of birthing a baby disarms the class and creates a relaxed environment allowing each participant to learn and engage comfortably.

What people can expect in your classes: They are evidenced based! I try to use humor in my classes to lighten the mood around what can be considered a tense subject. You should take my class if you want to feel empowered about your birth.

 

 

Liana Kurka, MS, LCCE

Liana Kurka, MS, LCCE

Childbirth Educator

A little about me:  I was born and raised in Springfield, Illinois and was fortunate enough to live in the beautiful city of Chicago (go Cubs!) for a few years in my twenties.  I met my wonderful husband while we were both getting our master’s degrees at Illinois State University in 2010.  He got accepted at ASU to obtain his PhD, so we both moved to Arizona in 2012 and fell in love with the endless sunshine.  In 2016, my amazing son Dominik was born – the year the Cubs won the World Series!  We welcomed his brother Elijah in December 2018.

Favorite subject to teach: My favorite topic to teach is breastfeeding.  My personal journey led me to want to advocate for breastfeeding and the crucial support system that is so helpful throughout the journey. My favorite activity is at the end of the series when the group gets together to make their rice sock.  This is a fun time to be creative with different scents, but also a joyous time to just casually talk and laugh with the other participants as we get ready to end our last class together.

What people can expect in your classes:  The world of childbirth and parenthood can feel overwhelming at times; my ability to relate and connect to the parents helps ease that feeling and turn it into excitement.  In my classes, I feel each participant brings something unique and special to the table.  I value their questions, feedback and enthusiasm, even if it is to simply crack a smile at my corny jokes.  Childbirth is such a wondrous journey.  I strive for each individual to leave feeling more confident and to know they have a support team through their classmates and me.

Nicole Mercado LCCE

Nicole Mercado LCCE

Childbirth Educator

A little about me:  I am a wife, mother, and passionate childbirth educator. My husband and I have three daughters (all born at Babymoon Inn) and have thoroughly enjoyed the wild ride it has been so far. My husband’s name is Carlos, and fitting for an Arizona native, he is a HVAC Technician for a local A/C Company.As a family we enjoy Arizona Cardinals football, hanging out on the back patio, and frequent trips to Barnes & Noble. My family and I reside in the South Mountain area, where my husband was born and raised, and we have large families from both sides here in the Valley.  Needless to say, we are rooted in Phoenix, and everyday is filled with lots of laughs.

Favorite subject to teach:  My favorite topic to teach is breastfeeding.  I love to see the reaction of both moms and dads when they learn something new about breastfeeding.  My favorite activity in class, is the breastfeeding activity where each student pulls a random item from our breastfeeding box, and discusses with the class how it relates to the benefits of breastfeeding. 

What people can expect in your classes:  Parents say they enjoy my classes because I bring humor, realness, as well as evidenced-based information.  I want my students to not only feel confident in their ability to give birth, but also know that parenthood will be messy, frustrating, funny, amazing, and worth it!  One of the things that I find that people are surprised to learn when they take my class series is that even though it is located at a birth center, we welcome all birth choices.  However their birth occurs, they should feel confident that they actively participated in this life changing process.  

Anna Rognstad

Childbirth Educator

 A little about me: I am married to my wonderful and supportive husband of over 7 years, Samuel, and we have three boys and one little girl. I was born and raised in Phoenix, Arizona. I am also a Babymoon Inn trained doula. My favorite things to do besides educating and supporting pregnant women and their families are spending time outdoors with my family and trying new restaurants.

Favorite subject to teach:  My favorite topics to teach are the stages of labor as well as the importance of movement in labor and how to manage pain.  My favorite activity in our class series is the balloon/ping pong ball activity. It is so fun! Every one always laughs during it, and it is such a great visual of what happens to the cervix during labor.

What people can expect in your classes:  I know firsthand how important informative, evidence-based childbirth education classes are. After having three very different birth experiences, I learned how powerful it is to know your options throughout labor/delivery and postpartum. I believe that every single pregnant person should take a class that not only informs them of what to expect, but also helps them leave the class confident in the knowledge of what their bodies are capable of. I truly desire for everyone that I teach to have an empowering birth experience where they felt confident, safe, and respected.

 

Our educators share what information people are surprised to learn in their classes:

Most people know very little about postpartum care, sometimes even experienced mothers! I think that people are surprised to learn how long recovery actually takes and what to expect postpartum.” – Anna R.

Our educators share what information people are surprised to learn in their classes:

“Even though our classes are located at a birth center, we welcome all birth choices.  We have plenty of hospital couples that attend our series.  The goal of my class is to educate my students on what their choices are, and the benefits of minimal intervention in childbirth.  However, if a birth plan doesn’t go as planned, or if baby needs a little extra assistance entering the world, my students will be prepared for these possible detours.”  – Nicole M.

Our educators share what information people are surprised to learn in their classes:

“People are often surprised to learn about the role hormones play in labor, and how the environment and external influences can impact labor progress.  We certainly can’t control everything in labor, but there are some things we can control, and those things can either negatively or positively impact labor.” – Diana P.

Want to teach at Babymoon Inn?

We are currently seeking childbirth educators for our Tucson location. If you are passionate about teaching, pregnancy, birth, and evidence-based care, we want to hear from you!  Please submit a letter of interest through the contact form.  We look forward to hearing from you!

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