What does Accreditation mean?

The Mark of Quality

The Commission for the Accreditation of Birth Centers (CABC), using the standards of the American Association of Birth Centers (AABC), provides support, education, and accreditation to developing and existing birth centers.

The standards used for birth center accreditation are reviewed and revised on a regular basis. A complete and current copy of the standards is available for purchase from the American Association Birth Centers (AABC).

The AABC Standards for Birth Center

Select one of the nine standards, to see some examples of what the CABC reviews during accreditation.

  • 1. Planning

    • The birth center builds and maintains community ties, ensuring that it adapts to meet the changing needs of the community it serves.

  • 2. Organization

    • A birth center that is part of a larger health system has adequate representation in the health system.
    • As an independent birth center, it has a governing body that meets regularly.
    • The birth center actively seeks feedback from birth center consumers.

  • 3. Administration

    • The birth center follows generally accepted accounting principles.
    • The birth center takes measures to make sure it is fiscally responsible, including a plan to cover shortfalls.
    • The management of the birth center ensures continuity of leadership and quality of care.

  • 4. Facility, Equipment & Supplies

    • The birth center facility is inspected by state and local officials for building code requirements.
    • Medical equipment is inspected regularly by the birth center staff.
    • There are sufficient supplies on hand for the number of childbearing families served at the birth center.
    • If the state requires a birth center license, the birth center is licensed.
    • The birth center provides a safe and welcoming environment for all family members, including: small children, disabled partners, laboring women.
    • There are basic emergency medical supplies on hand for both mothers and babies.
    • The birth center has an emergency plan in the event of fire and natural disasters, and practices this plan on a regular basis.

  • 5. Quality of Services

    • The birth center respects the health care rights of all clients, including privacy and follows standard HIPAA practices.
    • The birth center providers practice midwifery and support the normal birth process, including:
      • careful screening for potential complications,
      • honoring the mother’s needs and desires throughout labor,
      • assisting the mother in managing pain,
      • paying close attention to the mother and baby’s status in labor.
    • Because they are not appropriate for use in normal labor, the birth center does not use certain interventions, such as:
      • vacuum extraction
      • medication to speed up labor
      • continuous electronic monitoring
      • epidural
    • The birth center has a specific plan for transferring to a hospital if complications arise before, during labor, or after birth, and interventions are required.

  • 6. Staffing & Personnel

    • Clinicians are licensed, as required by state and federal laws.
    • At least two staff members attending every birth are trained and certified in CPR and newborn resuscitation.
    • Staff members are trained according to the policies and procedures of the birth center.
    • The birth center keeps a schedule for clinical staff on call, to make sure that all shifts are covered, day and night, seven days a week.
    • The birth center conducts regular emergency drills, to make sure staff members are prepared to manage unexpected situations with laboring moms and newborns.

  • 7. The Health Record

    • The patient chart includes forms appropriate for use in a birth center, and clinicians use the chart to document patient care accordingly.
    • Use of the chart supports a full prenatal exam to ensure that all clients are low risk, and the birth center has a plan for transferring care as needed.
    • The birth center educates clients on self-care in pregnancy, including nutritional counseling, informed decision-making about pain relief in labor, and newborn care.
    • The birth center maintains a plan for transferring the patient chart to another facility if the mother or newborn needs to be transferred.

  • 8. Evaluation of Quality Care

    • The birth center reviews its practices and clinical outcomes on a regular basis to ensure that it follows its own policies.
    • The birth center actively seeks client feedback, and then evaluates and works to improve client satisfaction on a regular basis.
    • Birth center staff are evaluated on a regular basis to ensure competency and alignment with birth center policies.

  • 9. Research

    • If the birth center is involved in research, appropriate protocols are followed, including obtaining informed consent from participants.