💊 = Pharmacologic Content

General Sessions for All

Keynote Address: Cultural Inclusivity, Where all Grow and Thrive

 Cultural inclusivity is essential in creating a diverse workforce that allows consumers to access a broader base of health care providers, to meet their cultural needs. The US demographics are rapidly changing with half the nation’s children being of color by 2020. In response, health care and education programs are creating systems to increase ethnic and sexual minority representation in their institutions.

Building cultural inclusivity in birth centers will mean: creating a sense of belonging; inclusion; equal opportunity; and shared decision-making power; and sensitivity to the cultural reality of the community being served.

In this presentation, Shafia will share culturally competent skills needed to develop a culturally inclusive environment, where all are encouraged to grow, learn, and thrive in the richness of difference.  Shafia Monroe, DEM, CDT, MPH


Diversity is Aching to be Born at Birth Centers: Embrace It!

This general session will prepare participants to understand the importance of diversifying birth centers across the nation. Demographics of CNM/CPMs/NPs, midwifery students, the overall U.S. population and birth centers will be presented. Health disparity issues will be discussed. The importance of promoting and supporting diversity while our nation is divided on the topic will be addressed. Finally, solutions and brainstorming on how to diversify our birth centers will be explored. Maria Valentin-Welch, CNM, DNP, MPH, CDP, FACNM


A Midwife for Every Body: Integrating LGBTQ Inclusive Practices for the Benefit of All 💊

We will explore how implementing client-centered practices for LGBTQ clients improves and enhances the care we provide for all families seeking midwifery care. Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer spectrum individuals face many obstacles to healthcare access including a lack of knowledgeable care providers, other people’s lack of awareness of identity issues, and outright prejudice and discrimination. This leads to under utilization of healthcare by LGBTQ people and contributes to health disparities and poor outcomes, especially by individuals with intersecting marginalized identities. As midwives and birth workers, we are in a unique position to offer culturally competent care to this client population. In this session, we will go over vocabulary and acronyms relevant to serving LGBTQ clients, as well as ways to facilitate LGBTQ-inclusive care through health history forms, informed choice discussions, and the ways we talk about midwifery, birth, and feeding newborns. We will share resources for further continuing education and learning. Finally, we will develop a collective understanding of how these changes will benefit all of our clients, regardless of gender or sexual identity.  Jaqxun Darlin, CPM, LDM


Research Panel 💊

Evaluating Maternity Care Options for Medically Underserved and Disproportionately Minority Women That May Improve Their Birthing Outcomes  -  This presentation shares information from research that focuses on an access to care issue that evaluates the perceived barriers birthing centers and their clients experience with processing insurance or paying cash. In 2010, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) ensured that State Medicaid Programs cover maternity care provided in freestanding birth centers licensed or otherwise approved by the State. Several states like Idaho, Michigan and Virginia do not license or approve birthing centers.  The lack of policies impacts birthing centers and their clients, disproportionately minority and medically underserved women.  Sabrina Wood, DHA

Reduction in Suboptimal Breastfeeding Outcomes Using a Simple Screening Tool -  Suboptimal breastfeeding in the first two weeks of life has significant implications for infant health, maternal milk supply, and the family's confidence in successful breastfeeding. This study demonstrates that in a birth center population, implementing a simple screening tool and appropriate follow-up reduces suboptimal breastfeeding outcomes.  Rebecca Costello, MPH, IBCLC

Arriving at Best Practice  -  In January of 2018, the results of a three-year randomized controlled trial aimed at understanding the role of induction of labor at 39 weeks gestation compared with expectant management among medically low risk childbearing women were presented at the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine’s Annual meeting sparking a nationwide debate. While the ARRIVE Trial achieved statistically significant decreases in cesarean section within high volume teaching hospitals among the elective induction of labor group (18.6%), this success is notably higher than cesarean rates among low risk women cared for by nurse-midwives in recent publications (9.7%). El Rio Community Health Center Nurse Midwives use the American Association of Perinatal Data Registry with the explicit purpose of being able to help us query clinical question to inform quality improvement projects. The following presentation uses the framework of the ARRIVE Trial and explores the process and outcomes of the El Rio Midwifery service to determine if a clinical practice change is warranted.  Diana Jolles, PhD, CNM

AABC Strong Start—Analysis of the data  -  Results of data analysis of the AABC data will be relevant to all birth centers to demonstrate that birth center care can reduce risk of poor outcomes for mothers and newborns, even when pregnancies are covered by Medicaid and when some risk factors are present.  Jill Alliman, CNM, DNP, FACNM


Closing Address: Encouragement for the Future

Everyone goes to a conference with expectations.  What were your expectations?  And were they met?  Did you have surprises or disappointments?  Is your buy-in worth the effort? Your stake in the outcome of the conference tells each of you what and where your professional energy needs to be spent. Legendary birth center pioneer Sister Angela Murdaugh will lead participants through reflections on the conference and explore the concept of giving to receive.  Participants will be guided in an exercise to measure the value of their investment.  She will offer affirmation and inspiration to continue in your work to improve care for childbearing families and make a difference in the future of birth centers.  Sister Angela Murdaugh, CNM, MSN, FACNM


Clinical Track

Informed Consent and Evidence-Based Practice in the Perinatal Period 💊

This panel presentation will review the evidence on screenings and treatments in the perinatal period, and present recommendations for evidence-based practice and informed consent.  Topics include vitamin K deficiency, group B strep, and more. Kim Bookout, DNP, RN, CPNP; Ashley Musil, LM, CPM


Professional Liability Claims for out of Hospital Birth—Allegations, Causes and Outcomes

Our past conference sessions have dealt with claims data for nurse-midwives only. Concrete claims data is now available for 2013-2016 for OOH midwives that will be especially relative to AABC attendees. Ann Geisler, long time insurance professional and midwifery specialist, will present data with Dave Pulley, V.P. of a major insurance carrier, who has also supported the midwifery and birth center insurance needs for a decade. Countrywide data will be scrutinized for claim allegations, causes and outcomes. Attendees will help employ root cause analysis, identify claim trends and learn risk management and loss control strategies to deal with practice situations. Ultimately, this information will empower practitioners to utilize critical thinking to improve outcomes to mothers, babies and their families.  Ann Geisler, CPCU, AU, AAI; Dave Pulley, MSM in RMI, CPCU, RPLU


Smooth Transitions: Enhancing the Safety of Hospital Transfers from Planned Community-Based Births  💊

Through this interactive 90-minute workshop, participants will learn about a quality improvement program in WA state that aims to enhance the safety of hospital transfers from planned community-based births and improve the transfer experience for everyone involved: transferring midwives, receiving providers and other hospital staff, and most importantly, clients/patients and their families. The workshop will include a 30-minute PPT presentation, followed by discussion and role-play exercises.  Audrey Levine, LM, CPM; Ali Lewis, MD, FACOG


Perinatal Pharmacology Potpourri 💊

A potpourri of current issues involving pharmacological treatments of women during the perinatal period, including topics such as the opioid crisis, the use of progestins and aspirin, and pharmacology in the future.  Mary Brucker, CNM, PhD, FACNM


Emergency Drills 💊

This breakout session includes two hands-on presentations on neonatal and maternal emergency drills. The first session on neonatal drills, taught by Julie Moon will focus on teamwork, ventilation, and effective use of a T-piece resuscitator. She will also address medications and methods of umbilical vein catheters (UVC).  The second session, taught by Stephanie Palacio, will review emergency preparedness with a focus on postpartum hemorrhage, and other maternal emergencies.  Julie Moon, CNM; Stephanie Palacio, CNM; Shannon DaSilva, DNP, CNM


Administrative Track

What do birth centers need to know to get in payer networks? Hear from an insurer, employer and employee benefit design strategist!

The healthcare landscape is changing, and birth centers need to know how they can be part of these new innovative payment systems. The session will begin with an expert panel presentation from Anthem, Gallagher Consulting, and others. Attendees will learn about the payer industry trends in maternity care benefits for employees, what employers want, and what payers and purchasers are doing to bring it all together. Accreditation is a critical attribute for birth centers to participate in networks and insurance panels. The session will conclude with  introduction to CABC accreditation.  The AABC Industry Relations Committee sponsors this session.  Kim Pekin, CPM; Lee Lewis; Karen Shea, RN, MSN; Kendra Wyatt, BS


Contracting & Credentialing

Join this session for a comprehensive introduction to contracting and credentialing presented by Marnie Cabezas with case studies presented by experienced birth center owners and staff. Marnie Cabezas; Chris Dominguez; Glenda Pearson


Birth Center Programs for Students and Recent Graduates

More and more students and new midwifery graduates are looking for birth center experience, and birth centers are seeking midwives.  This panel presentation will explore programs developed by birth centers to provide a win-win experience for students and employers.  Participants will learn about fellowship, apprentice and volunteer programs.  Ann McCarthy, MSN, CNM; Donnellyn Dominguez, LM, CPM; Gina Cardona, CNM, MSN


Maximizing relationships in the digital age: from start to forever

A birth center is built, defined, and dependent on its relationships. Whether with the community, advocates, students, staff, partner providers, hospitals, or, perhaps most importantly, with past, present, and future clients, these fundamental relationships form the foundation of a thriving birth center. To build a foundation that lasts, birth centers must learn to maximize every single relationship. In this shared session, Tyler Hixson and Casey Messmer of Marketing TEA will teach you how to utilize content marketing through social media to reach out and connect with your community, to educate your client base, and to grow your birth center by building strong relationships from the start. Then, Judith Nowlin of Babyscripts will introduce you to various channels of connected care to help streamline your education and engagement at all points along the care continuum, while meeting your clients' expectations in the digital age, resulting in forever relationships that last far beyond the birth of the baby. Tyler Hixson, Casey Messmer, Judith Nowlin


The Billing Game—May the Codes Be Ever in Your Favor

Abigail and Erica will be presenting on tried and true billing strategies for the unique birth center setting including well-woman care, pregnancy, birth (with and without complications), labor transfer and newborn care through the first month. Our goal is to help birth center midwives understand how to capture all that they should be getting paid for in and outside of the global OB package.  Abigail Lanin Eaves, CNM; Erica Deerinwater, CPC



  • The Choline Program: Implementing Vital Nutrition Education in Pregnancy. Hope Ballentine

  • Evaluating the Financial Viability of a Lactation Service at a Freestanding, Non-Profit Birth Center. Rebecca Costello

  • Castor oil as a natural alternative to labor induction: A retrospective descriptive study. Lesley Rathbun

  • Perceived safety and support for low-risk pregnancies in the birth center context. Sarah Sanders

  • Preliminary Outcomes of Water Births in Birth Centers. Carol Snapp

  • Using a Birth Center model of care to improve reproductive outcomes in informal settlements: a case study. Jacqueline Wallace

  • Birth Centers Shine in 2017 ACNM Benchmarking Project. AABC Research Committee

  • You have arrived: How do birth centers compare to the ARRIVE Trial? AABC Research Committee