July 23, 2015

New freestanding birthing center to make debut Aug. 1

A freestanding birthing center, owned by Raleigh-based Baby+Company and staffed by certified nurse-midwives from the Vanderbilt University School of Nursing (VUSN), opens on West End Avenue on Aug. 1.

The new Baby+Company facility on West End Avenue is designed to enhance the birthing environment for patients and families. (photo by Joe Howell)

A freestanding birthing center, owned by Raleigh-based Baby+Company and staffed by certified nurse-midwives from the Vanderbilt University School of Nursing (VUSN), opens on West End Avenue on Aug. 1.

The Baby+Company facility, operated in collaboration with Vanderbilt University Medical Center, is the only freestanding birth center in Nashville. Clinical services available at Baby+Company include pre-natal, labor and delivery, postpartum, and newborn care, as well as annual exams, pre-conception and birth control. More than 90 patients have already signed up for prenatal care prior to the center’s opening.

Baby+Company offers a unique birth experience, combining highly personalized clinical care with the benefits of partnership with Vanderbilt’s long history of excellence in women’s services.

“Our relationship with trusted medical institutions such as Vanderbilt is a core part of our model. We are thrilled to collaborate on the shared goal of high-quality maternity care and pleased to also offer our clients seamless access to services at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, when needed,” said Cara Osborne, MSN CNM ScD, founder and chief clinical officer for Baby+Company. “Together, we are working to improve clinical outcomes for women and babies by offering a wide range of support for families as they enter a new stage of life.”

The center is designed to enhance the birthing environment, with comfortable birthing suites and deep soaking tubs, family rooms, a fully fitted kitchen and a living room area for families. Clinical care is supplemented by a complete wellness and educational program open to all new and expectant families, including childbirth and newborn care education, nutritional counseling, pre- and post-natal yoga and new mother groups. The center will also offer community events focused on women, pregnancy and young families.

“We are delighted to be in this venture with Baby+Company. Through this relationship we are able to meet the needs and preferences of certain families in an innovative fashion that fits well within the continuum of services we offer the women and children of this region,” said C. Wright Pinson, MBA, M.D., deputy vice chancellor for Health Affairs and CEO of the Vanderbilt Health System.

VUSN has one of the largest nurse midwifery education programs in the country. In addition, both the School of Nursing and the School of Medicine have large clinical practices with patients delivering at Vanderbilt University Hospital. Osborne graduated from the Vanderbilt School of Nursing with a MSN in Nurse-Midwifery in 2001 and received an M.S. and Sc.D. in maternal and child health from Harvard School of Public Health.

Margaret Buxton, CNM DNP, clinical director of the Nashville Baby + Company, also holds her midwifery degree from VUSN and is a member of the faculty. Joining Buxton at Baby+Company are Vanderbilt nurse-midwives Lauren Drees and Taneesha Reynolds. The birth center will be staffed by at most five nurse-midwives, delivering 400 to 500 babies a year. “Research shows that birth centers don’t really feel like birth centers when you get above 500 births a year. You lose the intimacy,” Buxton said.

All midwives at the Nashville location are VUSN faculty members, and the medical director is Richard Lotshaw, M.D., professor of Clinical Obstetrics and Gynecology at VUMC. Under the agreement, if the patient needs medication or complications arise, she will be transferred to Vanderbilt University Hospital.

“Eighty percent of pregnancies are normal health events, and the birth center offers a participatory model of care where we get to know our patients over time,” Buxton said, adding that in 2012-2013 the VUSN nurse-midwives delivered between 1,200 and 1,400 babies at VUH, half of whom received an epidural.

“So half of the women who delivered at the hospital had unmedicated births. These are exactly the women who are looking for a low intervention approach to birth that we can offer at Baby+Company.”

The cost of a Baby+Company birth is about half of the cost of a hospital birth. The fee includes the birth, all prenatal care, prenatal education and a postpartum home visit. The specific out-of-pocket cost for patients will depend on the specifics of their health care plan.

“As women are becoming increasingly interested in out-of-hospital birth, Vanderbilt Health looks forward to supporting Baby+Company to open the birthing center to serve the women and families in downtown Nashville,” said Linda Norman, DSN, R.N., Valere Potter Menefee Professor of Nursing and dean of Vanderbilt University School of Nursing. “We look forward to participating in this very innovative, high-quality, patient- and family-centered birthing option for women. The Vanderbilt University School of Nursing nurse-midwifery faculty practice is well-known for delivering evidence-based care through a relational health care model.”

Howard Jones, M.D., Betty and Lonnie S. Burnett Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology and chair of the department, said Baby+Company will be an excellent addition to the birthing experience options for women in Middle Tennessee.

“Many women with uncomplicated pregnancy may prefer to have their prenatal care and birth experience in a family-friendly low tech environment of the birth center with Vanderbilt-affiliated certified nurse midwives in attendance and yet with the full backup of Vanderbilt Hospital’s facilities and obstetrical team just a few blocks away should they be needed. We are excited to have this new facility open in Nashville,” Jones said.

Baby+Company’s center is located at 3212 West End Ave. in Nashville. The center is hosting an open house on Aug. 1 between noon and 4 p.m.

For more information, visit nashville.babyandcompany.com or email info@babyandcompany.com.