The International MotherBaby Childbirth Organization (IMBCO) and the International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics (FIGO) have joined forces developing a single global initiative to provide guidance and support for safe and respectful maternity care, building upon their previous work and incorporating the most recent evidence and insights into what constitutes optimal maternal and newborn health.
Launched in 2018, this initiative, The International Childbirth Initiative (ICI): 12 Steps to Safe and Respectful MotherBaby-Family Maternity Care provides clear steps for implementing evidence-based maternity care worldwide, acknowledging the interaction between the MotherBaby dyad, Family and Environment as well as their interactions with health providers and health systems. The ICI also supports the implementation of the 12 steps and self-initiated quality improvement mechanisms that can be used to monitor the process, effect and engagement in safe and respectful maternity services.
We believe that implementation of the 12 steps will lead to better health and wellness for mothers and their babies, with more positive birth experiences and a better start to life within an environment of strong emotional attachment. It has been endorsed by health professionals’ organizations, advocacy groups, and childbirth education organizations and support is growing.
The 12 steps include promoting compassion and dignity in care provision, ensuring access to affordable care and adopting midwifery and family-centered care guidelines. Other steps include the provision of continuous companion support in labour and birth, appropriate use of non-pharmacologic and pharmacologic pain relief and evidence-based practice including avoidance of unnecessary routine procedures. The steps address measures to enhance health and wellness and appropriate emergency care with collaboration and communication between levels of care. ICI also promotes a supportive human resource policy and fully incorporates the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI).
ICI also supports the implementation of the 12 steps and self-initiated quality improvement mechanisms that can be used to monitor the process, effect and engagement in safe and respectful maternity services.