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Birth Center Standards

National Standards for Birth Centers


AABC Standards for Birth Centers

The American Association of Birth Centers (AABC) sets national standards to provide a consistent and specific tool for measuring the quality of services provided to childbearing families in birth centers. Federal and state regulation, licensure, and national accreditation constitute branches of external evaluation of quality in birth centers. Licensing protects the public by monitoring compliance to codes, ordinances and a variety of regulations. Some states and municipalities are very specific and uniform in the level of requirements for safe operation, but others are nonspecific or vary in their requirements which may or may not be relevant to birth centers. The standards and attributes for national accreditation are uniformly applied in all localities, thereby eliminating state and local inconsistency. Meeting the standards of accreditation indicates to clients, states, health and liability insurance agencies, consulting providers, and hospitals that a birth center has met a high standard of evidence-based and widely recognized benchmarks for maternity care, neonatal care, business operations, and safety. A strong internal quality improvement program, in accordance with the standards, promotes success with external measurements of quality. Continuing accreditation demonstrates to consumers and other entities that best practices are being met and maintained by a birth center.

The Standards address the following: 

  • Philosophy and Scope of Service
  • Planning, Governance and Administration
  • Human Resources
  • Facility, Equipment and Supplies
  • The Health Record
  • Research
  • Quality Evaluation and Improvement

Download a digital version of the AABC Standards for Birth Centers for free, or order a printed copy from the AABC Store.

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