Questions and Answers

What makes a birth center special?

A birth center is a place to experience healthy birth in a warm, home-like environment. It may be staffed by physicians, midwives, nurses, and other highly trained and specialized professionals.  The birth center environment encourages active participation by the birthing family, and cost-efficient, sensitive, evidenced-based health care.

Are there birth centers in Missouri?

YES.  Missouri's first fully accredited and licensed birth center opened in the St Louis/St Charles area in early 2011.  We maintain a list of open birth centers in Missouri.

Are midwives legal in Missouri?

YES. There are two basic types of midwives, Certified Nurse-Midwives (CNM), and direct entry midwives, who may be nationally certified as professional midwives (CPM). CNMs are legal in every state, but are restricted in their practice by collaborative practice agreements with physicians (they cannot practice without a collaborating physician).  Physicians who are willing to collaborate with a CNM who attends out-of-hospital births are exceedingly rare in Missouri.  CPMs became legal in Missouri in 2008, through the tireless efforts of Friends of Missouri Midwives.  CPMs are independent providers, not required to have a written agreement with a physician.

What can I do to help?

Stay updated on developments in our state regarding birth centers and midwifery care. Spread the word about birth center care to your friends, family, legislators, insurance company, employer, and health care providers.