I realize that in my last post I propose the problem of status quo in the demise of maternity care.

What might be more constructive for parents seeking change is to read about what does improve the birth experience.

Some organizations have devoted much effort developing guidelines .

Lamaze has transformed itself over the last few years. Nothing is the same but the name. Lamaze has developed these 6 Care Practices, excerpted from their website:

Practices That Support Normal Birth
Research reveals not only the dangers of interfering in the natural process of birth, but also maternity care practices that help keep birth normal. The WHO identifies four care practices, and Lamaze adds two more (marked with asterisks: *). These practices ensure the best care for birthing women around the world.

  1. Labor should begin on its own.
  2. Laboring women should be free to move throughout labor.*
  3. Laboring women should have continuous support from others throughout labor.
  4. There should be no routine interventions during labor and birth.*
  5. Women should not give birth on their backs.
  6. Mothers and babies should not be separated after birth and should have unlimited opportunity for breastfeeding.

The Coalition for Improving Maternity Care has developed 10 Questions to Ask Your Care Provider:

Having a Baby? Ten Questions to Ask

Have you decided how to have your baby?

The choice is yours!

First, you should learn as much as you can about all your choices. There are many different ways of caring for a mother and her baby during labor and birth.

Birthing care that is better and healthier for mothers and babies is called “mother-friendly.” Some birth places or settings are more mother-friendly than others.

A group of experts in birthing care came up with this list of 10 things to look for and ask about. Medical research supports all of these things. These are also the best ways to be mother-friendly.

Healthy mothers statistically have fewer birth injuries and have generally better satisfaction with midwife care. Check out Midwives Alliance and the American College of Nurse Midwives

The most researched improvement in maternity care since blood replacement is the doula. In fact, top reasearchers consider the doula (doo-la) to be the only obstetric intervention to improve childbirth without any harmful side effects. That’s additionally amazing since a doula is a non-medical person at birth. A doula is a woman devoted to the mother’s emotional experience of childbirth. She is a peer, not a medical professional, who knows about birth and how to comfort and reassure birthing parents. Check out DONA International for some great descriptions, articles, news releases and training information. Thats a good start.

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