international childbirth initiative logo

The International MotherBaby Childbirth Organization (IMBCO) and the International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics (FIGO) have joined forces to develop a single global initiative for providing safe and respectful maternity care, building upon their previous work--the International MotherBaby Childbirth Initiative(IMBCI 2008) and the FIGO Guidelines to Mother-Baby Friendly Birthing Facilities(2015)These have been have merged to create the ICI, and the most recent evidence and insights into what constitutes optimal maternal and newborn health care and how to achieve it have been incorporated.

Launched in late 2018, and wordsmithed by our own SfAA Fellow Robbie Davis-Floyd, who served as Lead Editor for this merger, this initiative is aligned with relevant UN and other (inter)national guidelines and recommendations. The ICI Principles and 12 Steps acknowledge the oneness of the MotherBaby, the importance of family inclusion, and the influences of interactions with health care providers and systems on the wellbeing of the MotherBaby-Family. We believe that implementation of the ICI 12 Steps will lead to better physiological and psychological outcomes and to strong parental/newborn attachment. The ICI has been endorsed by health professional, development, advocacy, and childbirth education organizations and support is growing.

The ICI 12 Steps include: promoting compassion, dignity, and cultural safety in care provision; ensuring cost transparency and access to affordable care; adopting midwifery and family-centered care guidelines; encouraging the support of a continuous companion in labour and birth; appropriate use of non-pharmacologic and pharmacologic pain relief; evidence-based practice, including avoidance of unnecessary routine procedures; measures to enhance wellness and prevent illness; provision of appropriate emergency care with effective, non-hierarchical collaboration and communication among levels of care; ensuring staff safety and protection; and fully implementing the 10 Steps of the revised Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI).

The ICI acknowledges the great variation in resources and access to care around the world. The challenge for the 21st century is to increase access to skilled caregivers and emergency care where these are lacking, while decreasing the overuse of unnecessary medical interventions, increasing understanding of normal birth and breastfeeding, and improving quality of care in all maternity care services in all countries.  

The 12 Steps to implementing the MotherBaby-Family Model of Carepresented in this Initiative--which encompasses family-centred, partnership-based, and midwifery philosophies and practices--provide a clear templatefor promoting the health and wellbeing of all women and babies during pregnancy, birth, breastfeeding, and the post-partum period, setting the gold standard for excellence and superior outcomes in maternity care. All maternity service providers should be educated in this MotherBaby-Family Model of Care and implement the ICI Principles and 12 Steps to achieve optimal maternity care worldwide.  

Support and endorsement of this Initiative are therefore sought from all individuals and organizations working to improve the care of mothers and newborns. And we seek facilities and practices willing to implement the IC1 Principles and 12 Steps. Please write to the ICI Executive Group: Andre Lalonde;Debra Pascali Bonaro;, Kathy Herschderfer;and Claudia Hanson claudia.hanson@ki.sefor more information about how you and/or your facility, practice, or organization can become involved in this human rights-based quest for creating high-quality care in every maternity care service. And visit our website www.internationalchildbirth.comfor more information and to sign on as a supporter!

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