Frequently Asked Questions

Is the Birth Center Safe?

A healthy mom and a healthy baby is always the primary goal at SRBC. Santa Rosa Birth Center is licensed by the State of California as a Freestanding Alternative Birth Center and fully accredited by the Commission for the Accreditation of Birth Centers—both rigorous processes that ensure our Birth Center exceeds national standards for care.  As such, we have strict guidelines for evaluation of mom and baby throughout labor to ensure everyone’s ongoing well-being.   Our Birth Center is fully equipped and our staff trained to handle complications at the Center.  If medical care is needed, we have a formal agreement with Sutter Santa Rosa Regional Hospital for transfer of care.

What is a Certified Nurse Midwife?

Certified nurse-midwives (CNMs) are licensed healthcare practitioners educated in the two disciplines of nursing and midwifery. CNMs must graduate from an accredited education program (all of our CNM’s hold Master’s degrees) and pass a rigorous certification exam. They provide primary healthcare to women of childbearing age including: prenatal care, birth & post-partum care care gynecological exams, menopausal management and primary care.  They also are able to care for healthy newborns up to 6 weeks of age. CNMs attend over 10% of the births in the United States.

Nurse-Midwives are experts in “normal,” and differ from other providers in their approach to care.  The philosophy of nurse-midwifery care focuses on the needs of the individual and family for physical care, emotional and social support and active involvement of significant others according to their personal preferences.

Because of the high standards established for education and certification, CNMs are licensed in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. They are held to the rigorous standards of practice set by the American College of Nurse-Midwives (ACNM) and by state licensing organizations. Many well-conducted studies have established the safety and cost-effectiveness of nurse-midwifery care.

Do I need to choose a midwife AND an OB/GYN for my care, just “in case?” What if a complication emerges during my pregnancy or labor?  

Routinely, you do not need a physician in addition to the midwives at the Birth Center.  The CNM’s at SRBC are able to care for you throughout your pregnancy and most healthy, low-risk clients are able to birth in our birthing suites. Occasionally, our midwives determine that a hospital birth would be safer for an individual client or her baby. This determination may be made during the course of prenatal care, or while the client is in labor.

In the event that a hospital birth is necessary, our midwives accompany clients to the hospital.  Our midwives have hospital privileges, meaning they are able to manage normal deliveries and catch babies at the hospital.  Should you require care outside the scope of midwifery practice, our CNM’s will consult with our collaborating OB’s and insure that you and your baby receive the care you need.

Do you accept medical insurance?

We accept most medical insurance including Medi-cal, and will be happy to bill your insurance for you.  Prior to your first appointment, our billing staff will check your benefits and will have a summary of your anticipated costs ready for you.  If you are uninsured, we are able to enroll you in Presumptive Medi-cal during your first visit.  This is a special program for pregnant women that covers the first few months of prenatal care while your full Medi-cal application is reviewed.  Presumptive Medi-cal will cover all these early visits, even if your full application ultimately is denied.  Prenatal care should never be delayed due to lack of financial resources.

If you are uninsured and do not meet the income requirements for prenatal Medi-cal, we can enroll you in Covered California insurance plans on site or negotiate a payment plan.  Comprehensive pregnancy care at SRBC is far less expensive than paying out-of-pocket for a hospital birth.

Do you do homebirths?

Unfortunately, we are unable to do homebirths at this time.

Can I tour the Birth Center before choosing to come for an appointment? How do I make an appointment for an initial visit.

We regularly provide free, 30-minute consultations and tours of the birth center.  These are scheduled at your convenience during normal business hours and are geared toward giving you a general feel for midwifery care at our Center.  You can schedule your initial visit after this tour.  Introductory consultations are not required to establish care at SRBC.

Initial Visits to establish care are schedule for 1½ hours.  If you have seen another provider during this pregnancy, we can request a copy of your medical record be sent to us.  We like to see women as early in their pregnancy as possible and will accept transfers up to 34 weeks.  Please call the office to schedule your appointment or consultation/tour.