birth center safety & quality

Nationwide Recognition

The safety and care quality of nationally accredited birth centers is well-documented. While research has been conducted on birth center safety and outcomes since the 1970’s, many major breakthroughs in nationwide recognition of birth centers have been more recent.

In 2006, the American Association of Birth Centers asked its accredited birth center members to collect data on outcomes for the second National Birth Center Study which was published in 2013. Geneva Woods Birth Center is proud to have been part of the study, along with 78 other accredited birthing centers across the country. Read about the findings of this study. Just recently in 2015 the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) formally integrated birth centers into their Uniform Levels of Care designations.

Obstetric Intervention Rates
The 2013 study demonstrates the safety of the midwifery-led birth center model of collaborative care as well as continued low obstetric intervention rates, similar to previous studies of birth center care. In this study that encompassed approximately 15,000 births nationwide at nationally accredited birth centers shows the risk of bad outcomes for low-risk women to be the same as those for the hospital. What this basically means, in plain English, is that nationally accredited birth centers can achieve the same level of safety for low-risk women and their babies as a hospital can, without the use of as many medical interventions, and with a much higher rate of satisfaction with their experience for the women and their families.

Neopuff Infant Resuscitation
Geneva Woods Birth Center has a Neopuff Infant Resuscitation machine. This is the same equipment found in most hospitals, which is used to help a newborn breathe. In addition to this safety feature, everyone on our staff is trained in cardiopulmonary resuscitation and neonatal resuscitation. We hold staff drills 4 times each year to practice our skills should they ever be needed. In addition to being prepared to assist a newborn with breathing, many prospective parents want to know how we handle emergencies like excessive maternal bleeding after childbirth. We have IV fluids and three different medicines to help control bleeding. We don’t use them routinely, but if bleeding is excessive they are available in our birth center. We take safety very seriously!

Our Cesarean Rates
Geneva Woods Birth Center has an overall cesarean section rate of 4%. This means that of all the women who started labor at the birth center, only 4% have ended up with C-sections. This is data collected over the 13+ years we have been open. The national C-section average is 32%, with the overall C-section rate at Providence being 34.9%, but 50% for first-time moms.

For clients choosing hospital birth (or developing risk factors before labor and becoming ineligible for the birth center), our cesarean rate has remained under 10%. Our midwives take care of clients with intermediate risk factors such as mild hypertension, [diet-controlled] gestational diabetes, bleeding disorders and on occasion twins, so the risk of cesarean is greater when women have other risks. Our cesarean rate matches up with what is predicted and expected for safe care according to many national organizations such as the World Health Organization (WHO). View the report. According to the WHO, a cesarean rate below 10% may indicate underutilization, and a rate over 15% indicates over-utilization.

image description