We provide tools to birth advocates, many of whom are professionals, to reach a wider consumer base to improve the awareness and availability of Mother-Friendly care.
BirthNetwork imagines a day when a woman learns that she is pregnant and her first impulse is to call her local Birth Network chapter for support and information on mother-friendly birth.
Mother-friendly birth is the norm. High-tech birth is seen as an unfortunate, yet necessary solution to a high risk situation. Women have access to qualified midwives and obstetricians who specialize in normal birth and can seek the care of obstetricians who specialize in high-risk care if it is deemed necessary. Women have equal physical and financial access to licensed birth centers, hospitals and home births.
Why is this vision so important? We believe that:
· Greater participation in birth leads to greater participation in parenting.
· Women have the right to experience birth in a way that maximizes self confidence and trust in the wisdom of our bodies.
· Birth should not be a violation of women's rights as thinking, feeling human beings.
In order to affect the kind of change we envision, cultural attitudes towards women and birth must change. Physician and midwifery training programs must change. Research protocols in the field of maternity care must change. Women must be empowered to make informed choices about their maternity care, and they must have access to Mother-Friendly care.
We work to build a national grassroots movement committed to making this vision a reality. We know birth can be safe, satisfying and empowering and we know birth matters not only for a day, but for the rest of our lives and the lives of our children.
BirthNetwork National began in October 1999 when five mothers began brainstorming on how to improve maternity care in their local community. They formed a non-profit organization to support anyone seeking information, resources and support for healthy, respectful maternity care.
Soon after, they discovered the Mother-Friendly Childbirth Initiative (MFCI) and realized that it was the evidence "backbone" to support the intuition behind their mission. BirthNetwork National is based on the MFCI, which outlines the principles of mother-friendly care in order to promote the safest, healthiest and most cost-effective maternity care.
BirthNetwork National has evolved from one chapter in Southeast Michigan into a national organization with chapters across the country. We are an integral part of a growing movement of birth activists striving to bring peace and dignity to birth by empowering women to make informed choices about their maternity care.
BirthNetwork National has members across the United States. Our members are birth consumers- moms, dads, grandparents and birth professionals- childbirth educators, doulas, midwives, nurses, physicians, chiropractors, massage therapists. All of whom are birth advocates working to improve pregnancy, birth, breastfeeding and baby care locally and nationally.
There are currently active BirthNetwork Chapters nationwide in the following states: Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Kansas, Michigan, Missouri, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Washington.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What is the Mother Friendly Childbirth Initiative?
The MFCI is an initiative by the Coalition for Improving Maternity Services (CIMS). This group of individuals and organizations wrote the initiative outlining their Mission, Principles, and Responsibilities. The initiative also lists Ten Steps to the Mother Friendly Childbirth Initiative to help everyone understand its mission (http://www.motherfriendly.org/MFCI).
What resources does BirthNetwork National provide?
Our greatest resource is our local chapters and members. These individuals are working on a local grassroots level to improve maternity care. Our website provides a Resources section that includes literary resources, links to similar organizations, and plenty of articles that information and facts. We also maintain national and local provider directories for professionals such as midwives, doulas, breastfeeding specialists, childbirth educators, massage therapists, and chiropractors.
How is BirthNetwork National active in promoting their cause?
BirthNetwork National is a 501c3 organization holding a group exemption status for our member chapters. Our chapters provide free local chapter meetings and support, participate in birth fairs, provide mother-to-mother mentoring, advocate for maternity care improvement locally and more. We provide support on a national level to our chapters through advocacy, mentoring and financial support.
BirthNetwork National provides a variety of contact venues.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Read more about our Board of Directors here.