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News & Press: AABC News

Check out the literature review of Maternal Outcomes in Birth Centers!

Monday, January 18, 2016   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Kelly Shaw

For Immediate Release: 


Kate Bauer

American Association of Birth Centers

(215) 234-8068



New Birth Center Literature Review of Maternal Outcomes published in Journal of Midwifery and Women’s Health

Maternal Outcomes in Birth Centers:  An integrative review of the literature by Jill Alliman and Julia Phillippi has been published online in advance of the January-February issue of the Journal of Midwifery and Women’s Health titled “Maternal Outcomes in Birth Centers: An Integrative Review of the Literature.”  This comprehensive review includes studies of maternal outcomes in birth centers published in peer reviewed journals in English since 1980 and includes both quantitative and qualitative studies from the United States and other developed countries.


A total of 23 quantitative and 9 qualitative publications are included in the review with over 84,300 births included.  Outcomes for women receiving birth center care were positive. Spontaneous vaginal birth rates and perineal integrity were higher for women beginning care in a birth center compared to women in hospital care. Rates of cesarean birth were also lower for women planning birth center care. Transfer rates are difficult to compare across studies because of variation in definitions and timing of transfers, but transfers during pregnancy ranged from 13% to 27.2%. Transfer rates from birth centers during labor ranged from 11.6% to 16.5% in the studies published from 2011 to 2013.  Women having their first baby have higher rates of transfer than women who had previously given birth.  Few severe maternal outcomes and no maternal deaths were reported in any of the reviewed studies. Qualitative studies found that women were satisfied with care they received from birth centers.


This is the first integrated review of birth center care, encompassing both clinical outcomes and qualitative studies of women’s experiences with birth center care.  The review underlines the safety of birth center birth for low risk healthy mothers. 


High value outcomes and satisfaction with health care are the focus of many public and private stakeholders at this time.  This review should prove useful in communicating the value of birth center outcomes to those interested in reforming maternity care.  Health plans and public policy makers should consider the birth center model as a way to offer high value care to more women. 


The article can be accessed from the Journal of Midwifery and Women’s Health




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