This movement isn’t about natural birth versus medicated birth. It’s not about hospital birth versus home birth. It’s not about doctors versus midwives or cesarean versus vaginal birth.
This movement is about ensuring that all people have access to the best birth for them. This includes options, information, and most of all—respect.
We know that women are capable of making safe, informed decisions about their care and that of their babies, when they are given full and accurate information about their maternity care options, including the potential harms, benefits, and alternatives.
This movement is about support for women and their decisions in childbirth, including how, where, and with whom they give birth. It’s about the right to be treated with dignity and compassion throughout pregnancy, labor, birth and postpartum.
This is Improving Birth.
Improving Birth is pleased to announce a new direction for our work. We are merging forces with BirthNetwork National, a national grassroots chapter organization, and the Coalition for Improving Maternity Services (CIMS), best known for the Mother-Friendly Childbirth Initiative (MFCI). The MCFI was the nation’s first and only consensus document which defines the ten specific steps a maternity care provider or birthing facility can take to provide evidence-based, mother- and baby-centered maternity care. As of November 1, 2016, all three organizations will exist under the expanded banner of Improving Birth.
We are no longer just a social movement. By expanding and merging forces with established nonprofits, we are laying the groundwork to become a powerful, change-making national organization that is rooted in local communities. We pledge to train birth advocates to engage deeply with the families, providers and hospitals in their areas, through our Community Advocate Training Program. We will bring the principles of the MFCI to life with our Mother-Friendly Provider Designation and the Mother-Friendly Hospital Certification Program nationwide, making this distinction meaningful and sought-after.
There are midwives, doctors, hospitals, and birth centers all over the country who are doing birth better. They have low intervention rates, low cesarean rates, and high patient satisfaction—and they’re working under the same pressures and liability concerns as other maternity care providers. We know that it’s possible to provide incredible medical care to pregnant people and their families.
It’s possible to lower the cesarean rate under the current 32.2% in the United States.
It’s possible to safely support breech and multiples in vaginal delivery, if the family desires this type of birth.
It’s possible to have more than 11% of US women experience Vaginal Birth After Cesarean (VBAC), if that’s what they wish to pursue .
It’s possible to provide high-quality medical care that saves lives and is also mindful of the fact that birth is a transformative life event with emotional, mental, and physical repercussions for families.
It’s absolutely imperative that we, as a society, begin to value not only physically-healthy mothers and babies, but mentally-healthy ones, too. That begins with birth.
We envision a country where women of all colors, shapes, sizes, backgrounds, income levels, and orientations are treated with the utmost compassion and respect throughout their maternity care.
We believe in a future where maternity care is truly collaborative and patient-centered, no longer predicated on the the notion that “provider always knows best.” We acknowledge the deep expertise and knowledge of doctors, midwives, and other medical practitioners and honor their work. We don’t feel it is mutually-exclusive to respect providers and also ask that they respect women as the ultimate experts on their own lived experiences.
We believe in a future where people are given all of the information to make decisions about their care and that of their baby. In this future, abuse, violence, coercion, and manipulation no longer exist in pregnancy and childbirth.
We see the future of birth. In this future, the United States is no longer last amongst developed countries in maternal mortality. In this future, black babies are not twice as likely to die as their white counterparts.
It’s a future where maternity care decisions are no longer based in fear, liability concerns, financial concerns, or convenience, but are made with a caring consciousness regarding what is truly best for families and their babies, not only in the short term—but the long term as well.
In this future, all women of the world feel safe, supported, and receive evidence-based humane care during childbirth.
Can you see it? Take the pledge now! Put your name down as someone who believes that birth can and should be better. This pledge will be a living document to show people in power that the consumer voice is strong, that we will be heard, and that how we are born matters.
Please help us reach our goal of at least 10,000 signatures by sharing through email and social media.