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History of Midwifery & Birth Centers

The First Birth Center

In 1975 the Maternity Center Association opened the first birth center in the United States in New York as a demonstration project to see if costs could be lowered while having good outcomes for mothers and babies when birth occurred outside the hospital. The idea expanded and by 1983 the American Association of Birth Centers (AABC) was formed to advance this model of maternity care nationwide. From this point on the growth of birth centers has been consistent across the US, and by 2015 there were over 300 birth centers in the United States. While all freestanding birth centers must be licensed by their respective states, not all of these birth centers adhere to the standards set forth by the AABC.


The AABC created a set of national standards for freestanding birth centers in 1983. A method for accreditation was proposed similar to how hospitals are inspected and credentialed, and the Commission for the Acceditation of Birth Centers (CABC) was established in 1985.

In 1989 the national birth center study was published and the conclusion reached is that, “Few innovations in health service promise lower cost, greater availability, and a high degree of satisfaction with a comparable degree of safety. The results of this study suggest that modern birth centers can identify women who are at low risk for obstetrical complications and can care for them in a way that provides these benefits.” The most recent large-scale study of birth center outcomes done in 2013, “The Birth Center Study II” used data only from CABC-accredited birth centers nationwide. This study also reinforced the findings from the 1989 study, demonstrating that accredited birthing centers are a safe place for low-risk women to give birth. While there are now over 300 birth centers nationwide, only 100 or so are CABC-accredited. Geneva Woods Birth Center is proud to have been accredited since its first year of operation in 2002.

Geneva Woods Birth Center is an accredited birth center by the Commission for the Accreditation of Birth Centers.

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