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Freestanding Birth Centers

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Freestanding Birth Centers

SKU# 9780826125897

Innovation, Evidence, Optimal Outcomes


  • Linda Cole DNP, RN, CNM
  • Melissa Avery PhD, RN, CNM, FACNM, FAAN
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Written for graduate students and professionals in the fields of midwifery, women's health, and public health, this book explores the freestanding birth center model in the United States from its conception by pioneering midwives and others in the early 1970s through the present day. Compared to the hospital-based birth model, the freestanding birth center offers a better documented, healthier, more cost-effective, and more humane way to care for women and newborns, consistent with the goals of health care legislation. This rapidly expanding model of care has many positive implications for high-quality, individualized care and birth outcomes across the United States.

Written by U.S. leaders in midwifery, Freestanding Birth Centers: Innovation, Evidence, Optimal Outcomes offers a comprehensive guide to the evolving role of birth centers, clinical and cost outcomes, regulatory and legal issues, provider and accreditation issues, and the future of the birth center model. Woven throughout the text are descriptions of "exemplar" birth centers, representing diverse geographical, business, and service models. These cases illustrate the possibilities for expansion and replication of this model of care.

Key Features

  • Provides a thorough history of the birth center movement from its inception through future expansion of the model
  • Serves as an essential resource with up-to-date evidence on clinical and cost outcomes
  • Includes case studies linking the unique service focus of individual birth centers to the associated sections of the book
  • Provides practical and comprehensive coverage of all issues involved in implementing and operating a U.S. birth center

Product Details 

  • Publication Date May 11, 2017
  • Page Count 366
  • Product Form Paperback / softback
  • ISBN 13 9780826125897
  • EISBN 9780826125927

About The Author(s) 

p>Linda J. Cole, DNP, CNM, received her bachelor of science in nursing at the University of Colorado in 1985, her master of science in nursing at the Medical University of South Carolina in 1994, and her doctorate in nursing practice at Frontier Nursing University, Hyden, Kentucky, in 2012. Dr. Cole has spent most of her professional life in full-scope practice at a freestanding birth center, Lisa Ross Birth and Women's Center in Knoxville, Tennessee. Dr. Cole joined Frontier Nursing University in 2012 as an assistant professor in the Department of Midwifery and Women's Health. She served as president of the American Association of Birth Centers (AABC) from 2009 to 2013. She continues to volunteer at the national level with the AABC Foundation. Her professional interests are focused on the birth center model of care and the triple aim of cost, quality, and patient satisfaction.

Melissa D. Avery, PhD, CNM, FACNM, FAAN, received her bachelor of science in nursing at Northern Illinois University, her master of science in nursing at the University of Kentucky, and her PhD at the University of Minnesota. She is a professor in the School of Nursing, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota, and directs the nurse-midwifery education program there. Dr. Avery has 25 years full-scope midwifery practice experience. Her current research involves examining prenatal care practices to enhance maternal confidence for physiologic labor and birth. Dr. Avery has been a pioneer in distance education and is currently partnering with colleagues to develop interprofessional learning opportunities for midwifery students and OB/GYN residents. She is a member of the Academy of Distinguished Teachers at the University of Minnesota and is a past president of the American College of Nurse-Midwives (ACNM).

Table of Contents 



Foreword by Ruth Watson Lubic, CNM, EdD, FACNM, FAAN, and Kitty Ernst, CNM, MPH, FACNM



SECTION I. The History and Development of the Freestanding Birth Center Model

1. Organizing for Change: History, Pioneers, and the Formation of a National Organization

Kathryn M. Schrag and Kate E. Bauer

2. Meeting the Need for Innovation in Maternity Care

Diana R. Jolles and Paula Pelletier-Butler

3. The Contemporary Birth Center as Part of an Integrated Care Model

Linda J. Cole

SECTION II. Birth Center Outcomes: The Triple Aim

4. Clinical Outcomes in Birth Centers

Julia C. Phillippi and Kathleen Danhausen

5. A Profile of Birth Center Use in the United States and the Potential Demand for Birth Center Use in the Future

Eugene R. Declercq and Erika R. Cheng

6. Cost Outcomes and Finances of Freestanding Birth Centers

Victoria G. Woo and Neel T. Shah

SECTION III. Political and Regulatory Landscape

7. Care Providers in Freestanding Birth Centers

Autumn Versace Vergo and Kaye Kanne

8. Reaching for Excellence: Birth Center Standards and Accreditation

Susan Rutledge Stapleton and Rosemary Senjem

9. Birth Center Regulation in the United States

Jill Alliman

SECTION IV. Envisioning the Future of the Freestanding Birth Center

10. Enhanced Care Services and Health Homes

Alisha H. Wilkes and Jill Alliman

11. The Role of Birth Centers in Promoting Physiologic Birth

Melissa D. Avery

12. Preparing the Workforce

Barbara A. Anderson, Linda J. Cole, and Jesse S. Bushman

13. Launching a Birth Center

Cynthia Flynn and Brianna Honea Bennett

Appendix: Birth Centers in the Global Arena

Kathryn M. Schrag