Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The Ten Steps of the Mother-Friendly Childbirth Initiative

I apologize for the problematic language of this initiative, which does not acknowledge that not all birthing parents identify as "women" and/or "mothers," but I would still like to share the steps involved, in case you run across this phrase in your birth or parenting experience. To be designated "Mother-Friendly," a birthing center or caregiver must:
  1. Offer birth mothers unrestricted access to birth companions of her choice, including fathers, partners, children, midwives, and doulas.
  2. Provide accurate statistical and descriptive information to the public about its practices and procedures.
  3. Provide care that is sensitive and responsive to the mother's beliefs, values, and customs.
  4. Provide the birthing mother with the freedom to walk, move about, and assume the positions of her choice during labor and birth.
  5. Have clear, defined policies and procedures for working cooperatively with other maternity and community services before, during, and after birth and for breastfeeding.
  6. Avoid employing practices and procedures that are unsupported by scientific evidence, such as shaving, enemas, IVs, early rupture of membranes, electronic fetal monitoring, episiotomy, etc.
  7. Teach and provide primarily non-drug methods of pain release.
  8. Encourage all mothers and families, including those with special care newborns, to touch, hold, breastfeed, and care for their babies.
  9. Discourage non-religious circumcision of the newborn.
  10. Promote exclusive breastfeeding.
To learn more or to find out about mother-friendly childbearing centers and services in your area, contact CIMS, c/o ASPO/Lamaze, 1200 19th. St., NW, Suite 300, Washington, DC 20036.