Mother-Friendly Childbirth

Click here for the pdf with all ten steps listed, with commentary, and an appendix on out-of-hospital birth, as well as links to the full discussion of the evidence. (Many of these are also included in the WHO’s “Safe Motherhood” guidelines; I more fully discuss these in a 4-part post, beginning here.) In brief, here are the ten steps:

  1. Offers all birthing mothers unrestricted access to birth companions, labor support, professional midwifery care.
  2. Provides accurate, descriptive, statistical information about birth care practices.
  3. Provides culturally competent care.
  4. Provides the birthing woman with freedom of movement to walk, move, assume positions of her choice. [Here is a link to some examples.]
  5. Has clearly defined policies, procedures for collaboration, consultation, links to community resources.
  6. Does not routinely employ practices, procedures unsupported by scientific evidence.
  7. Educates staff in nondrug methods of pain relief and does not promote use of analgesic, anesthetic drugs.
  8. Encourages all mothers, families to touch, hold, breastfeed, care for their babies.
  9. Discourages nonreligious circumcision of the newborn.
  10. Strives to achieve the WHO/UNICEF Ten Steps of the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative to promote successful breastfeeding.

Appendix: Birth can safely take place at home and in birthing centers.

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