Vanderbilt Birth Center provides safe, personalized care experience combined with education and supportJun. 7, 2021, 3:31 PM
When Rachel Anderson relocated from New York City to Nashville at 28 weeks pregnant, she realized the move could be an opportunity to find a care provider with a holistic birthing approach — an increasingly popular option in New York City, but with limited availability.
On a visit to Nashville a few weeks before their move, Anderson and her husband were recommended the Vanderbilt Birth Center, formerly known as Baby+Co, by their Uber driver. After doing extensive research, Anderson decided to transfer her care to the birth center.
“I transferred late in my pregnancy, which can be a really stressful thing to do,” Anderson said. “But Vanderbilt Birth Center made it really easy to slide right in and start my appointments and birthing classes.”
At the birth center, patients create entirely personalized birthing experiences alongside certified nurse midwives (CNMs) and OB-GYNs. This combination was important to Anderson, who was drawn in by the birth center’s comprehensive approach to care and wellness but was also comforted by the medical team’s wide range of experience.
But Anderson was not always drawn to a natural birth. She says becoming a yoga instructor and teaching pre-natal classes helped her understand that she did not have to be afraid of the experience. “I realized I had the tools to give birth without a lot of extra medical intervention, and I could be empowered by it,” she said.
“It’s not about ‘natural’ versus medicated,” Anderson continued. “It was more about the environment and overall feel of the center.” She appreciated that the birthing suites had large beds, soaking tubs and medical supplies discretely kept out of sight from patients.
Anderson gave birth to her first child, a son, at the center in January 2018. When she became pregnant with her second child, she knew she wanted to return for another birth center experience. But when Anderson’s water broke at 32 weeks, eight weeks before full-term, she was transferred to a hospital for delivery and subsequent NICU care for her newborn daughter.
Now that the birth center is part of the Vanderbilt Health system, clients who develop conditions that may compromise their health, or the health of their child, will have streamlined access and continuity of care with experienced Vanderbilt OB-GYNs and Maternal Fetal Medicine specialists.
Anderson was disappointed that her second birth did not go as planned, but Richard Thigpen, MD, co-director of Vanderbilt Birth Center, assured her she would be able to return to the birth center for baby number three — something Anderson was already planning for.
“The Vanderbilt Birth Center provides a safe, personalized care experience that is rich in education and support,” Thigpen said. “The birth center is ideal for low-risk clients, but if any risk factors develop, the CNMs and I work together to care for their needs. I provide onsite prenatal care and support hospital-based birth for our high-risk clients.”
Despite the change in her birth plan, Anderson felt confident knowing that the CNM team and Thigpen were by her side. “In both of my birth experiences, I felt the same cohesion of care,” Anderson said. “I had to have a more traditional hospital birth the second time out of necessity, but I still had my midwives and doctors looking out for me.”
After her second birth, Anderson returned to the Vanderbilt Birth Center for her postpartum care. She is currently pregnant with her third child, with plans to give birth at the center again in June — knowing that its dedicated team of clinicians will be there for her every step of the way, just like last time.
“This is the finale,” Anderson said, laughing. “There will be no more babies for me, but I’ll always be connected to the birth center through the incredible staff and the new friends I’ve made at birthing classes along the way. We’re all tied together from our experiences at the Vanderbilt Birth Center.”