Birth Center Eligibility

Healthy women with low-risk, uncomplicated pregnancies may be able to give birth in our Birth Center at Jacobs Medical Center in La Jolla.

There may be conditions or circumstances not listed below that would require you to deliver in a Labor & Delivery room instead of a Birth Center room. Your midwife will let you know if you are eligible for a Birth Center room delivery.

Eligibility Guidelines

Our goal is to keep you and your baby safe. In general, women who meet the following criteria can deliver in a Birth Center room: 

  • Single baby 
  • Healthy, low-risk uncomplicated pregnancy 
  • Mother has a BMI < 40
  • Baby is head down (not breech)
  • No prior C-sections (VBAC births are safest with continuous monitoring, which is not available in the Birth Center)
  • Labor begins between 37+0 weeks and 42+0 weeks of pregnancy
  • Mother is not taking medication for gestational diabetes
  • Prenatal test and ultrasound results do not indicate a need for continuous fetal monitoring or the level of care provided in a Labor & Delivery room 
  • Mother is receiving prenatal care from UC San Diego Health's Nurse Midwifery Service. (If you would like to transfer your care, it should be done by 20 weeks, or ideally as early as possible. Call 858-657-8745 for more information.)
  • No known COVID-19 infection during current pregnancy. See Nurse Midwifery and Birth Center FAQs

There are no restrictions on a mother's age.

Transfers During Delivery

During delivery, there may be medical reasons that make Labor & Delivery the best place for you to give birth. Some of those reasons include:

  • Your labor begins before 37 weeks
  • Your labor needs to be induced or does not begin before 42 weeks
  • You need to receive labor-augmenting medication such as Pitocin (which requires your contractions and baby's heart rate to be continuously monitored)
  • You decide to receive an epidural (IV pain medication is available in the Birth Center, but epidurals are not because of the special monitoring they require)
  • There are concerns about the health of the baby or mother that require continuous monitoring (such as fetal heart rate or a maternal condition) 

Your nurse-midwife will remain your primary care provider during most transfers to Labor & Delivery and will continue to care for you until you are discharged. If the need for a C-section arises or other complications occur, a physician will manage your care and the midwife will provide support throughout your hospital stay.