So, you've decided that you want to open a birth center. You've found the perfect location in a wonderful Victorian house that you would like to remodel and turn into your dream of a birthing center. The first step you need to take is to look at your state regulations because these regulations will dictate what you can and cannot do.
The American Public Health Association has published guidelines for the writing of state regulations. (Download the APHA Guidelines for Licensing Birth Centers)
Presently, 82% of the states have some sort of regulations for birthing centers. Before you begin to ask any questions, get a copy of those regulations, and read them very carefully. Find out if there are any barriers that might complicate putting the birth center where you think you want to put it. Additionally, the regulations will cover things such as definitions, staffing, the facility, fire and building codes, and the services you can and cannot provide. For example, no states allow cesarean sections to be done in birthing centers. These regulations will also give you information about services that you must provide, policies, procedures, organization, quality assurance, and evaluation. These state regulations will serve as a guide and help you as you proceed in planning your birth center services.
82% of states have regulations for licensing birth centers.
"We really need to hear what they have to say. Whatever their concerns are - they should be our concerns. Whatever their educational needs are - that is where we need to start."
-Marion McCartney, CNM, BSN