Maternity Care with a Heart
About the problems & the solutions
Is There a Problem with Maternity Care in the United States?
Almost everyone agrees that we need to improve the quality of health care in the United States, but many assume that pregnant women, new mothers, and their babies already get the best care possible. Do they?
No matter which way we look at it, the answer is no. We pay more for maternity care than any other country, but have higher rates of maternal death, newborn death, and low birth weight than dozens of other nations. We invest too much in overusing high-tech care with no proven benefit and fail to invest in preventive care,
or in strategies to address troubling disparities in access and outcomes. Described in 1989 as "the perinatal paradox: doing more and accomplishing less," the crisis in maternity care has fundamentally worsened in the time since.
What Does the Maternity Care Women and Babies Deserve Look Like?
All women and families deserve maternity care that is:
Woman-centered - Care should respect the woman's values, culture, choices, and preferences. All childbearing women should be treated with kindness, respect, dignity, and cultural sensitivity.
Safe - Care should be aimed at producing the best outcomes for women and babies with the least risk of harm. This requires coordination, teamwork, and a commitment to safety.
Effective - Care should be guided by the best available research. Caregivers should avoid using practices that are ineffective or harmful, and should improve care by incorporating the practices that have been shown to improve the health of women and babies.
Timely - Care should be delivered when it is needed and women should not have to wait unnecessarily for long periods of time. The timing and progress of labor and birth should be determined by what's safest and healthiest for the woman and her baby, and not by convenience or other pressures.
Efficient - The maternity care system should deliver the best possible health outcomes and benefits with the most appropriate, conservative use of resources and technology. An efficient system does not waste resources and expose women and babies to harm from unnecessary treatments and medical interventions.
Equitable - All women and families should have access to and receive the same high-quality, high-value care. An equitable maternity care system addresses disparities related to class, race, ethnicity, and language to ensure optimal maternity care outcomes and experiences for every woman and baby.
Hundreds of leaders and advocates endorsed this vision for maternity care, and worked together with us to design a plan for how to get there: our "Blueprint for Action." We all play a role in system transformation, and by working together we can achieve rapid gains in maternity care quality and value.
To learn more about these qualities and other features and goals of the envisioned maternity care system,
Learn more about our "Blueprint for Action" >>
What is Childbirth Connection Doing?
Join the Transformation is a campaign for Childbirth Connection. Through the Transforming Maternity Care Partnership, Childbirth Connection works to improve maternity care through consumer engagement and health system transformation. We work with all stakeholders to foster implementation of the landmark "Blueprint for Action," and continue
to develop high-quality, evidence-based information for women and maternity care professionals. We're deeply engaged in work to identify and endorse new maternity care quality measures and to develop and test new resources for shared decision making. We're also working at the state and national levels to influence policy,
and partnering with employers, payers, and health systems to develop new ways of delivering maternity care that foster quality and value. Finally, we're identifying the people and systems making progress on maternity care quality improvement, and helping to spread the word about these models so others can learn from them.
Learn more about Childbirth Connection's current work >>
See a timeline of our achievements over the past century >>
VISIT OUR WEBSITES
Download our 2020 Vision Report and "Blueprint for Action," and find information and tools for maternity care quality improvement and system transformation.
Find trustworthy, evidence-based information about pregnancy, birth, and postpartum for women and health professionals.