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Midwife-Led Birth Centers Improve Outcomes

Midwife Making Home Visit To Expectant MotherWomen that receive care at midwife-led birth centers incur lower medical costs and are less likely to have Caesarean births than women that give birth at hospitals, according to new findings by the American Association of Birth Centers (AABC).

The rising number of Cesarean births in the United States (32 percent in 2010, according to the National Centers for Disease Control National Vital Statistics Report) has generated concern due to short- and long-term health implications for women, their newborns and future pregnancies. The AABC study, which included more than 15,500 women that received care in 79 midwife-led birth centers in 33 states from 2007 through 2010, found that less than 6 percent of the participants required a Caesarean birth, compared to nearly 24 percent similarly low-risk women cared for in a hospital setting.

Birth centers—homelike facilities functioning within the health care system—are based on a wellness model of pregnancy and birth personalized to individual needs. “They are uniquely positioned to provide healthy women and their newborns with maternity care, avoiding unnecessary Caesarean births,” advises AABC President-Elect Lesley Rathbun, a certified nurse midwife and family nurse practitioner. “Americans need to learn about the high-quality care that midwife-led birth centers offer.”

Source: American College of Nurse-Midwives

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