Frequently Asked Questions
1. What is a birth center?
A birth center is a home-like place where midwives provide prenatal, birth, and postpartum care. Research shows birth centers are safe choice for low risk pregnancy; and that people who have birth center care have good birth results and good birth experiences at lower costs. Birth centers are freestanding and not in hospitals. Read more about birth centers here.
2. What is a midwife?
A midwife is a health provider trained to provide safe, nurturing, hands on care to families before, during and after birth. Midwives can be certified nurse midwives (CNMs), certified professional midwives (CPMs), or licensed midwives (LMs).
The midwifery model of care honors pregnancy and birth as normal life events, and uses medical intervention for potential health problems. Midwives work to build trust and partner with birthing persons and families to provide personal care based on the best research. Midwifery care supports people in making smart health care decisions, considers the culture of families and communities, and helps create good birth experiences. Learn more about the spirit of midwifery care
3. Are birth centers safe?
Research shows that 80% of people giving birth in the United States could safely give birth in a birth center. In many countries with better birth outcomes than the United States birth center care is a part of the health system.
4. Does health insurance cover birth center care?
Most major health insurers cover birth center care. In a national survey of birth centers, these insurers included companies such as: Aetna/US Healthcare, Blue Cross/Blue Shield, TriCare, and Humana to name a few.
5. Does Medicaid cover birth center care?
In states that license or recognize freestanding birth centers, Medicaid is required to cover birth center care.
6. Will there be certified nurse midwives (CNMs) or licensed midwives (LMs) practicing in the birth center? What’s the difference?
Both certified nurse midwives (CNMs) and licensed midwives (LMs) will provide care in the birth center. Both CNMs and LMs train in accredited midwifery programs. The difference is CNMs are trained in both nursing and midwifery. To read more about midwives see Midwives Alliance of North America and American College of Nurse Midwives.
7. Are there other birth centers in Detroit or in Michigan?
There are more than 345 freestanding birth centers in the United States. There are six in Michigan:Family tree Midwifery , Gentle harbor midwifery, Modern Day Midwifery Nine Short Months, Simply Born and Transitions women's wellness. Birth Detroit will be the first freestanding birth center in Detroit. Read more about birth centers here.
8. Why a birth center in Detroit?
Birth center care improves birth outcomes, increases satisfaction – and, if it is culturally responsive, can make a life or death difference for people of color by reducing disparities in care. There are over 345 birth centers in the United States, six in Michigan, and zero in Detroit. Detroiters deserve the option of birth center care. See The Case for a Birth Center in Detroit.
9. Why a birth center now?
In fall 2018, a new government report recommended birth center care. The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (CMMI), a branch of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), recommends freestanding birth centers to help improve birth outcomes. The report shows that preterm birth, low-birth weight and cesarean section rates are all lower in freestanding birth centers.
Directly from the report,“Women who received prenatal care in Strong Start Birth Centers had better birth outcomes and lower costs relative to similar Medicaid beneficiaries not enrolled in Strong Start. In particular, rates of preterm birth, low birthweight, and cesarean section were lower among Birth Center participants, and costs were more than $2,000 lower per mother-infant pair during birth and the following year. These promising Birth Center results may be useful to state Medicaid programs seeking to improve the health outcomes of their covered populations.”
10. Do birth centers work with hospitals and other healthcare providers?
Freestanding birth centers are partners in integrated health care systems. Birth Detroit will provide community-based prenatal and postpartum care with the option of a birth center birth, as well as well-woman care. By providing easy access, culturally-responsive care to birthing persons and families, Birth Detroit aims to help improve overall outcomes and be a valuable partner in Detroit’s maternal child health system.
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