Midwifery means ‘with woman’ and has achieved many pearls of care to advocate for this. When Full Circle Wellness Clinic was born, it was created with intentions of expanding to a freestanding birth center to create a unique model of care for women. And, in November 2023, this unique model of care will come to life to create a holistic, safe space for women choosing a true midwifery experience and a lifespan of healthcare as Full Circle Wellness will be expanding to the first freestanding birth center in Southeast Minnesota!
What is a BirthCenter?
A birth center is an integrated part of the healthcare system where care is provided in the midwifery and wellness model. A birth center is freestanding and not a hospital.
Birth centers are guided by principles of prevention, sensitivity, safety, appropriate medical intervention and cost-effectiveness. Birth centers advocate for and facilitate a woman’s right to make informed choices about her and her baby’s healthcare, based on her values and beliefs. The woman’s family, as she defines it, is welcome to participate in the pregnancy, birth and the postpartum period, making this a family-centered care model. In very simple terms, a birth center is in-between a hospital and a home birth setting, adding another beautiful option for women and their family.
The 5 P’s of a Birth Center
- People: Healthy women anticipating a low-risk pregnancy and birth receive care from licensed, qualified staff with full comprehension of the limits of midwifery. The practice is insured for professional liability, and collaborates with qualified obstetric/pediatric providers.
- Place: Patients experience a home-like setting rather than a mini-hospital, knowing that the facility meets all construction, fire and safety as well as health codes. It is equipped to provide routine care and initiate emergency procedures if needed. It is a freestanding facility, separate from acute obstetric/newborn care with autonomy in formulation of policy and management of operation. A collaborative partnership has been established with facilities located nearby for transfers or emergencies.
- Program: The birth center provides orientation, informed consent and a full spectrum of women’s healthcare, including antepartum care, lab testing, health counseling and educational classes/programs. The birth center encourages family member participation in accordance with the patient’s wishes and definitions. The program includes a plan for payment of services; 24 hour telephone access to care provider; intrapartum care with a midwife in constant attendance during active labor; postpartum/newborn care supervised by a licensed nurse or midwife with follow-through care during the first year postpartum (as well as beyond for routine health). The birth center provides required newborn laboratory screening tests; a plan for newborn health supervision at the center or by referral; home-office visits for postpartum newborn follow-up; lactation support; and everything Full Circle Wellness currently offers.
- Practice of Midwifery: The birth center provides support for pregnancy and birth as a natural physiological process – things are “normal until proven otherwise.” The center works on a model of prevention of disease/promotion of health, encouraging individual responsibility and self-sufficiency through education, and a systems approach to the delivery of health services.
- Part of the System: The birth center has written policies and procedures that reflect standard quality assurance. The center has established relationships with other community health agencies for complementary services and for referral or transfer to other levels of care if access to an acute care obstetrical/newborn unit becomes necessary.
Midwifery Primary Care is a first-level entry into a health-oriented system, triaging when the process of pregnancy and birth departs from its normal course. Full Circle Wellness & BirthCenter will be fully accredited and compliant with the highest birth center standards. Becoming integrated within a small community opens opportunity to be part of the solution of our current maternal mortality crisis in the United States. Full Circle Wellness & BirthCenter promotes quality midwifery-led care for women across their lifespan, from adolescence to menopause.
To learn more about birth centers and their safety, regulations, evidence-based studies, cost-effectiveness and model of care please visit: https://www.birthcenters.org/
With love & light,
Anne Schwanke, APRN, CNM, WHNP
Owner of Full Circle Wellness & BirthCenter, LLC I EDD 11.01.2023
I’m Anne (pronounced “Annie”), and I am the owner/founder of Full Circle Women’s Health Clinic. I believe women are a full circle, and I strive to provide evidence-based full spectrum women’s health care in a personalized and holistic approach, partnering “with woman” and empowering her to make informed choices for her care. My heart is to give back to my community by offering alternative healthcare options for women. I am a board-certified nurse midwife with master’s degrees from Frontier Nursing University in nurse midwifery and women’s health nurse practitioner.