Sunday, July 10, 2011

Mother-Friendly Childbirth Initiative: Why It's Important! Step #5

To receive CIMS designation as "mother-friendly," a hospital , birth center, or home birth service must carry out the these philosophical principles by fulfilling the Ten Step of Mother-Friendly Care.

Step #5 A mother-friendly Hospital, birth center, or home birth service has clearly defined policies and procedures for:
  • collaborating and consulting throughout the perinatal period with other maternity services, including communicating with the original caregiver when transfer from one birth site to another is necessary; 
  • linking the mother and baby to appropriate community resources, including prenatal and post-discharge follow-up and breastfeeding support.
A lot of times in our modern birth culture, women may feel lost in prenatal/maternity care. It is frustrating to mothers and families to be tossed around by the healthcare system. If you are being seen by a different ob or midwife every visit who "might" have read your chart before you were seen it can be exhausting explaining your pregnancy every single time. Mothers may loose trust in "the system" if it always seems like their health care provider is too busy to take the time to understand her as a patient before her visits.
Also it is VERY important that when a mother is transferred from one care facility to anything so is her information in a successful manor. It is highly inappropriate for a mother to arrive at her new care facility only to find that she has to explain her pregnancy and be "new patient" all over again. It is understandable that a care facility would want to check her in under their own procedures but she has come to this new place for a reason and those needs need to be properly addressed with the understanding of her previous care history. This is ESPECIALLY important when transferring a laboring mother from one place to another because of an emergency. Clear communication is key.

It is also essential that pregnant families have access to appropriate community resources. It is not ok to expect families to just find this information on their own. When a family is pregnant for the fist time they are experiencing an entire new lifestyle! Sometimes it take a little while to even know what kind of resources a family might need. All care facilities and practices should have a resource list or information available for families available. Things like follow up care information and breast feeding support are essential to a new family and no one is above being appreciative for information!

For more information on the Ten Steps of the Mother-Friendly Initiative or to get involved please visit