BirthNetwork National (BNN), the Coalition for Improving Maternity Services (CIMS) and Improving Birth are merging their organizations together.
ImprovingBirth will become the “March of Dimes” of birth. By bringing our resources and developing programs based on those resources, we can establish fully functional, funded and staffed chapters that will then foster the Mother-Friendly Hospital Certification and Provider Designation Programs in their region.
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Who Are We?
Who is the Coalition for Improving Maternity Services (CIMS)?
The Coalition for Improving Maternity Services (CIMS) was founded in 1997 as a coalition of the broader community of childbirth organizations, birth professionals, stakeholders, birth advocates and consumers. CIMS’ mission has been to work with the birth and breastfeeding community by encouraging and promoting evidence-based, Mother-and-Baby-Friendly maternity care, as outlined in the Mother-Friendly Childbirth Initiative (MFCI), the first and only consensus document on U.S. maternity care.
Who is BirthNetwork National (BNN)?
BirthNetwork National was founded in 1999 as a grassroots effort to promote the awareness and availability of Mother-Friendly care (as defined by CIMS’ MFCI) to consumers. BNN works to bring consumers together with Birth Professionals that strive to provide such care by creating BNN chapters throughout the United States.
Who is ImprovingBirth (IB)?
Since 2012, Improving Birth’s mission has been to educate and mobilize consumers and advocates across the country to bring respectful, evidence-based care to childbirth by creating tools to inform, support, engage and empower, to put pressure on the maternity care system to improve. IB created the “Rally to Improve Birth” as an awareness campaign that brought consumers and birth professionals together on Labor Day each year to encourage men, women and children to rally in support of evidence-based maternity care and the right of women to make their own informed decisions about how to give birth.
How did this merger come about?
Separately each organization had been strategizing how to move forward and expand their impact. Late in 2015, ImprovingBirth’s president approached each organization and shared her vision for the future and how she felt the dedication and work that had been put forth by their organization could make that vision a reality.
The leadership of the three organizations began meeting to discuss how we could work together to create more momentum for mother-friendly, evidence-based, respectful care in childbirth. After much careful consideration, consulting with close allies, gathering feedback from current chapter leaders and rally coordinators, the decision was made to merge the three organizations to combine our resources and to greatly expand our focus on improving maternity care.
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Questions About the Merger
When will the merger be completed?
Our goal is to be fully integrated by spring of 2017.
What is the name of the new organization?
ImprovingBirth: The overall governing name
ImprovingBirth Network: Membership, Chapters and Provider Directory
ImprovingBirth Coalition: Our coalition of Mother-Friendly organizations
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Programs and Development
What kind of programs will come of this merger?
Over the next 3 years we expect to have three main programs in place.
The Community Advocate Training Program – A 6 month long online training that will include learning to engage as a consumer advocate on hospital committees, have the tools to reverse a VBAC ban, collect and publicize current data, do community outreach programs, fundraising skills, learn public speaking and conflict resolution skills, as well as receive tools to present to community college and high school students.
The Mother-Friendly Provider Designation – On the Mother-Friendly.org website, once developed, consumers will be able to search by their zip code and the type of insurance, to find midwives, doctors and birth centers in their community that maintain safe intervention and cesarean rates.
The Mother-Friendly Hospital Certification Program – A toolkit to enable and support hospitals in an ongoing effort to reduce their unnecessary cesarean and intervention rates through peer based grand ground presentations, transparency programs and training for support staff.
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The current board members of each organization will continue as board members of the merged organization, ImprovingBirth. There are board positions currently open, and we will accept applications for these openings after the first of the year.
How Will the Merger Impact and Change Each Organization?
IB will continue to raise awareness through social media campaigns, mainstream articles, and community outreach.
Moving forward we will maintain and improve BNN’s chapter structure. Members will continue to build the birth community by bringing consumers and birth professionals together through local chapters, maintaining a both a national and local provider directory, hosting informational meetings and events supported through tool kits and a chapter taskforce.
The new organization will continue CIMS' tradition of bringing together stakeholders and birth advocates to increase the awareness of and access to Mother-Friendly maternity care. We will also highlight the excellent work that is already being done around the country and internationally to promote Mother-Friendly care and provide another avenue for organizations to collaborate or assist each other in their efforts to improve maternity care. The merged organization will also work towards creating both Mother-Friendly Hospital and Provider Designations.
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Current CIMS, BNN, and IB Memberships
What will happen to my existing membership?
BNN Members: Active Chapter Leaders, Professional Members and Consumer memberships, benefits, directory advertising or referrals, events and resources will be honored for their full existing membership period. All BNN members will receive all the benefits, resources and programs of the merged organization. Upon their renewal date, the updated membership rates of the merged organization will take effect.
CIMS Members: CIMS’ active coalition memberships will be honored for their full membership period. CIMS members will have complete access to all benefits, resources and programs of the merged organization. Upon their renewal date, the updated membership rates of the merged organization will take effect.
IB Members: IB’s active members will be honored for their full membership period. IB members will now be able to create local chapters, advertise their birth service(s) in the Provider Directory and much more. Upon their renewal date, the updated membership rates of the merged organization will take effect.
We encourage members of all three organizations to log in to our website and make sure your contact information is current so that you will be included in all information about our organization moving forward.
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Over the next few weeks, we will be making changes to the ImprovingBirth site that includes a membership and chapter management tool. You will also be able to navigate based on how you want to interact with us.
You are the voice of ImprovingBirth. We are here to create tools but we can only make birth better for people and their babies when you engage. This movement depends on you.
Inform: If you are pregnant, or know someone who is, this area will have information and current evidence that are sharable and downloadable. You’ll also find the professional directory of midwives, doula’s, childbirth educators and more, who are members and agree with the “10 Steps to Mother-Friendly.”
Support: For those who have suffered a difficult or traumatic birth. You’ll find guidance and resources about how to heal.
Engage: Want to engage more deeply? Here you’ll find out how to become a member, its benefits and how to start a chapter in your community.
Empower: Here you’ll find the tools to fill a complaint and ways to share your story.
The fees for membership will go up, but with that increase will come more support and membership benefits like:
- Your membership directly sponsors our work. Including our new evidence-based provider directory and designation
- 20% discount in the shop
- Monthly guest expert videos
- Sneak previews to announcements and project information
- Monthly coupons from our sponsors
- Membership to local ImprovingBirth Network chapter (where available)
- All of the above benefits
- Opportunity to participate live with our guest expert and ask questions
- automatic entry into our monthly giveaway
- Professional listing in the national directory
- Professional listing in your local directory (where available)
There will be a monthly payment option to make it easy to manage the cost of your membership.
Benefits of Membership
Will my current resources and member benefits still be available after the merger?
Yes. Your membership and resources will still be available after the merger and you will automatically become a member of the new organization.
If you are not already a member of Improving Birth, you may join here.
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How can I send feedback or ask additional questions about the merger?
You can submit your thoughts and questions here via our contact page.