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Birthing Center to Open Next Summer

by Dec. 23, 2014, 2:06 PM

Illustration of fetus

Nashville-area families seeking midwifery care outside the traditional hospital setting will have a new option beginning next summer: an outpatient birth center.

The birthing center is a collaboration between Maternity Centers of America and Vanderbilt University Medical Center to bring Baby+Co. to Nashville. Vanderbilt will provide the midwives, and Dr. Bennett Spetalnick, MD’91, associate professor of clinical obstetrics and gynecology, will serve as medical director.

Geared for low-risk pregnant women seeking delivery options with no anesthesia, the center will offer an array of services including prenatal, labor and birth care, as well as wellness services and educational classes.

“Roughly half the patients entering our existing midwifery practices don’t use anesthesia,” notes Margaret Buxton, MSN’98, instructor in clinical nursing and clinical manager of the new site. “A lot of women would love this option—to be in a more private, comfortable setting to give birth.”

Buxton describes the midwifery-led birthing center, which will be located near Vanderbilt, as a fully equipped medical facility with a spa-like setting that will feature five large birthing suites, a family room and kitchen, three examination rooms, a lab and other support areas. The center is a joint enterprise of the Vanderbilt Schools of Nursing and Medicine (Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology) and will serve as a potential training site for student learning.

“This model of care is a cost-effective choice,” says Buxton. “We also offer follow-up care for mom and baby within 12 to 24 hours after discharge from the birthing center.”

“It is important to the Nashville area to have this type of alternative birthing option for families, and it also adds to the nurse midwifery education program sites for our students,” says School of Nursing Dean Linda Norman, the Valere Potter Menefee Professor of Nursing. “It will serve to augment the faculty practice opportunities in addition to the VUSN West End Women’s Center.”

The site is expected to perform about 300 deliveries during its first year. The Medical Center will continue to provide in-hospital delivery with nurse midwives, general obstetricians, or maternal fetal medicine specialists in a collaborative-care model in addition to offering consultation, quality oversight and backup for the new center.