pregnant woman researching birthing friendly hospitals on her laptop computer

Is Your Hospital “Birthing Friendly?” Here's How to Know

By Stacey Feintuch
December 05, 2023

If you’re having trouble deciding where to deliver your baby, a new online search feature can help.

In November 2023, the U.S. government released a new “Birthing-Friendly” hospital designation. Birthing-Friendly means these places are committed to giving quality maternity care.

To earn the designation, the hospital or health system must participate in a statewide or national program designed to improve care for birthing parents and babies. These hospitals and health systems use special safety practices for handling complications such as hemorrhage, severe preeclampsia, and sepsis.

The goal is to improve outcomes during labor, delivery, and postpartum care.

About 80% of pregnancy-related deaths in the U.S. are preventable, according to The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). And the rates of pregnancy-related deaths are highest for Black, American Indian, Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander women.

But the CMS is confident that Birthing-Friendly programs can decrease pregnancy complications and deaths. “Hospital participation in quality improvement collaboratives has been shown to be effective in improving the management of obstetric conditions that may lead to severe maternal morbidity or mortality,” a CMS spokesperson tells Twill via email. When hospitals participate in quality improvement programs like this one, patients receive better and safer care, and disparities are reduced, they say.

To find and compare hospitals, use the Care Compare tool on the CMS website. Look for the Birthing-Friendly icon to know which ones have earned the designation.

You can also use this interactive map of Birthing-Friendly hospitals and health systems throughout the United States. Search by city, state, or zip code to find a hospital or health system with the designation in your area.

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