Established in 2008
Licensed by DHEC since 2008
Commission for Accreditation of Birth Centers accreditation in good standing since 2008
Number of midwives: 5
Consulting OB: James Martin MD
Consulting Pediatrician: Colleen Boylston MD
Total births: More Than 2,000
Certified Nurse-Midwives (CNMs) are licensed advanced practice nurses with specialized training in women’s reproductive health. CNMs are trained to help women be as healthy as they can be in pregnancy, birth, and the postpartum period, and to diagnose and manage obstetrical problems, in collaboration with physicians. They are also trained to provide primary care for women of all ages, to support breastfeeding, and to care for newborns in their first weeks of life.
Decades of research show that midwifery care, coordinated with physician care for those who need it, is associated with better health outcomes than physician care alone. That’s because midwives have the time and the training to focus on wellness, prevention, and education throughout pregnancy, and provide one-on-one care during labor and birth. Midwives also have the skills and training to manage common problems that arise in pregnancy and birth, and collaborate with physicians and other providers to provide the full spectrum of care – whether that is an epidural for pain relief or a cesarean for a complicated labor.
Throughout the world, maternity care systems are built on the premise that “all women need a midwife, and some women need a doctor, too.” We also believe that at Charleston Birth Place, which is why we provide midwifery care to all clients and work closely with our physician colleagues to ensure that each family gets the right care at the right time with the right provider at the right place for them.
More and more families are choosing to welcome their babies in birth centers, and for good reason. Research shows that childbirth is easier and safer when women have continuous supportive care throughout pregnancy and birth and when the environment is designed for comfort, privacy, and movement in labor.
Hospitals offer needed technology and specialized care for women with risk factors or complications. At Charleston Birth Place, our birth center is closely integrated with our partner hospital, so that healthy women can benefit from continuous midwifery care in our calm and comfortable environment, with seamless access to the hospital and physician care whenever it is needed.
This kind of collaborative care, based in midwife-led birth centers with direct linkages to partner hospitals, has impressive results. A study published that Charleston birth Place participated in, in 2013, which included more than 15,500 women who received care in 79 midwife-led birth centers in the United States, found that just 6 percent of women required a cesarean birth compared with nearly 24 percent of similarly low-risk women cared for in hospital settings, with excellent outcomes for both mothers and babies. Large studies in other countries have shown similar results, and in the United Kingdom, new national guidelines urge all healthy women to strongly consider midwife-led birth center care.
For healthy, low-risk women, giving birth in a birth center is as safe as giving birth in the hospital and actually has health benefits. A recent national study of birth center outcomes found that maternal and neonatal complication rates were extremely low and comparable to what is typical among low-risk women in a hospital setting.
Women who are pregnant with one baby and do not have any underlying health concerns and expect an uneventful birth are good candidates for a birth center. Some issues that would prohibit a birth center birth include but are not limited to:
Some conditions would rule out a birth center birth but our midwives could provide collaborative care with our physician and plan a birth at our partner hospital.
The main reason a woman would transfer to the hospital is for pain relief, a prolonged labor, and in rare circumstances, concerns regarding fetal health.
A midwife’s primary training is in normal pregnancy and birth. Midwives view pregnancy and birth as normal events in a woman’s life, not as a disease process. Midwives are specifically trained to provide physiologic care, which means supporting the normal biological processes in pregnancy and birth and to prevent complications by focusing on health and wellness. Although doctors also learn about normal pregnancy and physiologic birth, the focus of their training is the use of medical and surgical techniques to diagnose and treat problems. Midwives collaborate with our physician colleagues in cases where a woman’s pregnancy becomes complicated by a condition such as hypertension or gestational diabetes or when the birth process necessitates intervention such as a cesarean section. Midwives, particularly in the birth center setting, stay with women during labor as much as possible to facilitate an encouraging, empowering experience for the woman and her family.
An integral part of delivering at the birth center is the education and preparation during pregnancy. Childbirth classes are available and will be encouraged during your prenatal care.
Eating and drinking in labor is both allowed and encouraged. Plan to bring your own food/snacks and drinks, there is kitchen available for your use.
We do not do have epidurals or narcotic pain medications at the birth center but instead promote movement, frequent changes in positioning, and laboring in water as alternative means in reducing pain. Our birth suites offer birth balls, nitrous oxide, sterile water papules, and TENS units. In addition, the constant support and encouragement of your midwives and nurses is of great value in helping you cope with labor.
Following birth your stay in the birth center will be an average of 4-8 hours but not more than 12 hours. If a mom or baby needs care beyond 12 hours we will admit for a short stay at our partnering hospital.
Early discharge to home is safe as long at the family is well prepared, the home environment is safe, the mother and baby are healthy after birth, and there is close follow-up after discharge to monitor for any problems. Our midwives and nurses monitor mothers and babies closely during the first hours after birth to watch for signs of a healthy transition and help get breastfeeding off to a good start. After early discharge home, we have close follow up with mom and baby – a home visit on the day after the birth. At the home visit, a full assessment is completed on mom and baby, and newborn screening tests are performed, the same as they would be in the hospital. These include checks for jaundice, heart defects, metabolic diseases, and weight. Daily phone calls for the first week and a birth center breastfeeding consultation visit for mom and baby at 1 week. Of course, there is always someone on call should the family need anything between these check-ins.
We are not contracted with Medicaid plans but we are in network with most other major insurance providers. Our billing department will verify your insurance and give you a financial plan. We also will work with families who are self pay.