So specific hospitals can be deemed Baby Friendly, but did you know that they can also be designated Mother Friendly? Two separate organizations give these designations. The Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative was started in part by the World Health Organization (WHO), while the Mother Friendly Childbirth Initiative is backed by the Coalition for Improving Maternity Services, a group of many individuals and organizations.
What makes a hospital mother friendly? Just as there are ten steps which must be completed in order to earn the Baby Friendly label , there are also ten steps to fulfill for a hospital or birth center to be Mother Friendly. To be designated Mother Friendly, hospitals must:
1. Offer all birthing mothers:
Unrestricted access to birth companions including fathers, partners, children, family members, and friends;
Unrestricted access to continuous emotional and physical support from a skilled woman—for example, a doula;
Access to professional midwifery care.
2. Provide accurate descriptive and statistical information to the public about its practices and procedures for birth care, including measures of interventions and outcomes.
3. Provide culturally competent care—that is, care that is sensitive and responsive to the specific beliefs, values, and customs of the mother’s ethnicity and religion.
4. Provide the birthing woman with the freedom to walk, move about, and assume the positions of her choice during labor and birth (unless restriction is specifically required to correct a complication), and discourages the use of the lithotomy (flat on back) position.
5. Have 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 breastfeeding support.
6. Not routinely employ practices and procedures that are unsupported by scientific evidence, including but not limited to the following:
shaving, enemas, IVs, withholding nourishment or water, early rupture of membranes, electronic fetal monitoring Other interventions are limited as follows:
Has an induction rate of 10% or less, Has an episiotomy rate of 20% or less with a goal of 5% or less, Has a total cesarean rate of 10% or less in community hospitals, and 15% or less in tertiary care (high-risk) hospitals, Has a VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean) rate of 60% or more with a goal of 75% or more.
7. Educates staff in non-drug methods of pain relief, and does not promote the use of analgesic or anesthetic drugs not specifically required to correct a complication.
8. Encourages all mothers and families, including those with sick or premature newborns or infants with congenital problems, to touch, hold, breastfeed, and care for their babies to the extent compatible with their conditions.
9. Discourages non-religious circumcision of the newborn.
10. Strives to achieve the WHO-UNICEF “Ten Steps of the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative” to promote successful breastfeeding:
Have you heard of Baby Friendly Hospitals? What is your impression of the Mother Friendly Hospital Initiative?