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New midwifery-led birthing center to debut next summer

Oct. 30, 2014, 10:24 AM

Families seeking midwifery care outside of the traditional hospital setting will have a new option beginning next summer — an outpatient birth center.

The birthing center is a collaboration between Maternity Centers of America and Vanderbilt University Medical Center to bring the Baby + Co. to Nashville. Vanderbilt will provide the midwives, and Bennett Spetalnick, M.D., associate professor of Clinical Obstetrics and Gynecology, will serve as medical director.

Geared for low-risk pregnant women seeking delivery options with no anesthesia, the center will offer an array of services including prenatal, labor and birth care, as well as wellness services and educational classes.

“Roughly half the patients entering our existing midwifery practices don’t use anesthesia,” said Margaret Buxton, CNM, clinical manager of the new site. “There are a lot of women who would love this option to be in a more private, comfortable setting to give birth.

“This is an exciting opportunity for Nashville families to receive maternity care that supports a family-centered model.”

Buxton described the center, which will be located near Vanderbilt, as a fully equipped medical facility with a spa-like setting that will feature five, large birthing suites, a family room and kitchen, three examination  rooms, a lab and other support areas.

One of the hallmarks of birthing centers is the early discharge rate and safe outcomes, Buxton said.

“This model of care is a cost effective choice. And we also offer follow-up care for mom and baby within 12-24 hours after discharge from the birthing center.

“We screen our patients at every prenatal visit for complications. If a mother has any chronic medical condition, she would not be a candidate for delivering at the birthing center,” said Buxton. “We carefully select low-risk patients who are willing to embrace our model of care. We want to make sure the center is a good fit for the entire family.”

The midwifery-led birthing center is a joint enterprise between the Schools of Nursing and Medicine (Department of OB-Gyn) at Vanderbilt and will serve as a potential training site for student learning.

“It is important to the Nashville area to have this type of alternative birthing option for families, and it also adds to the nurse midwifery education program sites for our students,” said Linda Norman, DSN, R.N., Valere Potter Menefee Professor of Nursing and dean of the School of Nursing.

“It will serve to augment the faculty practice opportunities in addition to the VUSN West End Women’s Center.”

The Medical Center will continue to provide in-hospital delivery with nurse midwives, general obstetricians or maternal fetal medicine specialists in a collaborative care model in addition to offering consultation, quality oversight and backup for the new center, said Howard Jones, M.D., Betty and Lonnie S. Burnett Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology and chair of the department.

“We are excited about this new option for women in Middle Tennessee,” Jones said. “The new birth center extends the range of possibilities for obstetric patients who can now choose nurse midwifery care in a non-hospital setting.”

The Vanderbilt site expects to perform about 300 deliveries in the first year.

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