Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic

On March 12, 2020 Nurture made the difficult decision to cancel  the 2020 Birth & Baby Fair. Due to the uncertainty presented by the coronavirus pandemic, we are not planning to reschedule the event at this time.

The coronavirus pandemic represents a unique challenge for our community. We are being encouraged to stay home if we are sick, to work remotely, and to practice social distancing. This may be impossible for those of us without access to adequate income, resources, and social capital. We are troubled by the news that Asian-Americans are being targeted during this crisis. We encourage all of our partners and stakeholders to advocate for policies that promote the long term health of our communities, including universal health care coverage, paid family leave, and a living wage. Closer to home: practice good hygiene, the best nutrition you can muster, regular rest and renewal, and forgive yourself regularly when you fall down. If you have time, check in on new parents and elderly neighbors, who may have need of more support during the coronavirus outbreak. Practice small acts of kindness daily – we are all going to need it in the days ahead. 

Thank you so much for your support and patience as we work through these challenging times. 

With deep appreciation,

Leslie Lytle, Executive Director
Shakeya Lewis, Social Media Manager
Cait Minnick, Birth & Baby Event Chair
Amirah Chaplin, Birth & Baby Fair Assistant
Sky Price, Volunteer Coordinator
Mikayla Dixon, VCU Intern
April Fraser, President
Malikah Karim, Treasurer
Melicent Miller, Board Member
Cheyenne Varner, Board Member 

The Birth & Baby Fair Story

“Even in the best of situations, where babies are healthy and moms are healthy, there are still so many obstacles that one has to overcome. Having      a . . . go-to place with information, consultative services and mentorship is so important for developing and growing healthy families.”

~ Christine Isaacs, MD | Director, General Obstetrics and Gynecology Division, VCU Health

Since the beginning, one of Nurture’s goals was to serve as a hub connecting childbearing families to the resources they need to help them thrive. Local folks regularly reach out to us seeking help in finding pregnancy and early parenting related services. Through conversations and surveys with community stakeholders, a recurrent theme emerged of a “disconnect” between service providers and pregnant and postpartum parents: many new parents weren’t aware of existing programs, or were overwhelmed by the choices and different platforms available on the internet. As one of our survey respondents put it: there is a need for something that’s organized. There is so much info and nothing leads to direct information. You have to research a lot.”

So Nurture began seeking ways to bring growing families together with the organizations and businesses that serve them. In 2016 we launched the first Nurture RVA Birth and Baby Fair at Maggie Walker High School. We quickly outgrew that space and the following year moved to the Science Museum of Virginia. This annual FREE event enables the public to directly interact with multiple providers, including local hospital systems, midwifery, doula, and pediatric practices, and other organizations that support expecting and postpartum families. The 2020 Nurture RVA Birth & Baby Fair will expand to include 50 exhibitors, a Speaker Series in the Barbara Thalhimer Theater featuring local pregnancy, birth and parenting experts, and family-friendly activities on the Science Museum Lawn. We anticipate over 1000 visitors.

But parents need access to resources more often than just one day a year. Part of Nurture’s strategic plan is to raise the necessary funds for a searchable, filterable perinatal resource directory that connects Richmond area families and providers the other 364 days of the year. To learn more about our proposed directory, ask a Nurture board member at the:

Nurture RVA Birth and Baby Fair
April 11, 2020 | 10 am – 3 pm
Science Museum of Virginia

Praise for the Birth & Baby Fair:

This is my 3rd year at the Birth and Baby Fair and I learn something every year. Did you know poor dental health can lead to preterm labor?

Kate H. |Richmond, VA

I found my doula there! 

Kierra J. | Petersburg, VA

The amount of information and resources available to parents is amazing.

Kelsey A. | Henrico, VA

I had no idea how many options there are for my wife to deliver.
Now we can shop around for the perfect fit!

Andrew M. | Richmond, VA

 Platinum Sponsors


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Our FREE demos are well attended and so much fun! This year the Demos are geared toward young children.  Your kids can play while you learn about the birth and postpartum landscape in RVA.


Please check back for a schedule as we confirm our Demos. 

This year the Birth & Baby Fair will spill out on to the Science Museum of Virginia Lawn! Weather permitting you can bring your children to meet Richmond Ambulance Authority Paramedics and check out the ambulance from 10:00 to Noon. Chat with local firefighters and explore a Fire Truck from Noon to 2 pm and grab a treat from King of Pops !

And get your car seat safety checks performed by Virginia Department of Health all day! 

 Richmond Ambulance Authority: 10:00 am to Noon

Fire Truck from Richmond Fire Department: Noon to 2:00 pm

   Car Seat Safety Checks performed by VDH: 10 am -3:00 pm

Please check back as we grow our Lawn attractions!

Parenting Starts Before Birth: Prenatal Bonding and Your Baby                                   10:30am

Kate White


This talk will give examples, tools, and skills to start parenting before the baby is born. Prenatal bonding studies show that babies have experiences in utero. They can understand language and human connection before the birth. Parents can learn more about preparing for parenting after birth, clear their own traumas and fears, and connect with themselves, baby and partner. It will be part lecture part experiential.

Kate's Bio

Kate White is an award-winning prenatal and perinatal educator and an advanced bodyworker. She is trained in somatic therapies, prenatal and perinatal health, lactation, brain development, infant mental health, and has specialized in mother-baby day care using somatic prevention and trauma healing approaches for nearly 20 years. Kate is a mother of two children, holds a BA and MA in Communication, a Registered Craniosacral Therapist in the Biodynamic Craniosacral method and a Somatic Experiencing® Practitioner. Her work combines somatic therapy, birth preparation, recovery from difficult birth, trauma resolution and brain development to help give families with babies and small children the best possible start. She is the Founding Director of Education for the Association for Prenatal and Perinatal Psychology and Health, where she administered an online program for professionals, and Director of Online Education for Our Birth Journey. Kate runs a private practice and offers her own seminars and training through the Center for Prenatal and Perinatal Program.

Boobs and Bongs: Blunt talk about cannabis use in pregnancy and breastfeeding         11:30am

Dr. Tricia Hardt Smith


‘Marijuana is great for nausea, right?’ A cloud of mystery surrounds marijuana, a popular drug that is becoming more available in the United States. In 2015, greater than 10% of pregnant women reported using marijuana in the past year, and about 5% of pregnant woman report use within the past month. Does it have a place in pregnancy and breastfeeding? Does it pass through to the fetus or nursing infant? What effects does cannabis have on the developing brain? Come and have all your burning questions answered!

Tricia's Bio

Dr. Tricia Hardt Smith is a faculty member in the Biology Department of the Virginia Commonwealth University and loves drugs! She is the creator and instructor of the ‘Biology of Drugs,’ a course which has received rave student reviews since its inception in 2014. In addition, she is the director of the Molecular Capstone Laboratory course and teaches Cellular and Molecular Biology. Dr. Smith’s previous research focused primarily on drugs of abuse and has included the electrophysiological effects of morphine on enteric neurons and the effects of protein interactions on the cannabinoid (CB1) receptor.

Breastfeeding in Communities of Color: Bridging the Gaps                                               12:30pm

Shakeya Lewis


A panel discussion facilitated by Shakeya Lewis, CLC, with guests Tasha Dixon, an African-American mother, Virginia Chu, an Asian-American mother, Daryl Fraser, an African-American father, and Crystal Wells, an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant of color. Panelists will explore the disconnect between communities of color and health care institutions and health professionals who serve them, and ways to close these gaps.

Shakeya's Bio

Shakeya Lewis became a Certified Lactation Counselor in 2018, and has been a breastfeeding advocate since 2012 when her first child was born. The mother of two children, Shakeya is the Resident CLC and Social Media Manager at Nurture, where she hosts the Facebook Live Series, Breastfeeding Real Talk.

The Empty Nursery: Love and Loss in Pregnancy                                                                          1:30pm

Heather McLees-Frazier  


Pregnancy loss is common in our society: estimates are that as many as half of pregnancies end in miscarriage, and 1/160 in stillbirth. Yet the taboo around discussion of pregnancy loss means that very few people are prepared when it happens to them.

This presentation will cover the logistics and emotions of loss at all stages of pregnancy, including difficult topics like what to do with the remains of a miscarriage, whether and how to discuss the loss, grief for the missing baby, and pregnancy after loss. Time will be given for participants to connect with others who have experienced similar losses. The presenter will facilitate a Q&A and will be available for individual questions afterwards

Heather's Bio

Heather McLees-Frazier is a birth and bereavement doula with eight years’ experience. The mother of four living children, Heather has experienced early miscarriage, stillbirth, and pregnancy after loss. She is currently completing a Bachelor’s of Nursing with the goal of entering midwifery school in 2022.

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