BirthNet is a non-profit organization whose mission is to educate the public about maternity care in order to improve it. Childbirth is a normal, healthy, and profound event in a woman's life that affects families, communities, and our whole society. Maternity care should be supportive and respectful, and address each woman's individual fears and concerns.
BirthNet's goal is to encourage all women and families to learn about their rights and about the choices and options available during the childbearing year. Women need to know what they are choosing, including risks, benefits, and options. They need to have complete and accurate evidence-based information.
BirthNet works to improve maternity care for women of all ages, ethnic backgrounds, races, religions, sexual orientations, abilities, and socio-economic circumstances. We see birth options--such as where, with whom, and how to give birth--as reproductive rights.
Cofounders & Coordinating Council Members
BirthNet is a tax-exempt nonprofit grassroots organization. Overseen by a Coordinating Council, BirthNet is run as a nonhierarchical, consensus-based organization. While we do have an official Treasurer and Secretary, there is no President or Vice-President.
BirthNet's business meetings are held on the second Friday of each month at 9:30 a.m. All who attend those meetings are encouraged to participate in the decision-making and event-planning process. We are not a membership-based organization, though donations are always welcome. We also have an open Yahoo Group for those interested in discussing issues related to our mission.
Each winter, typically in January, we hold an Annual General Meeting, for others interested in learning more about BirthNet. An Annual Report is available upon request.
BirthNet's primary programs include:
We coordinate programs with our Speakers Bureau -- bringing birth professionals like midwives, doulas, childbirth educators, consumer advocates and others to interested audiences.
Founded in 2000, BirthNet grew out of an event called “Perspectives on Childbirth: A Celebration of International Midwifery Day” at the University at Albany on May 5, 2000. Coordinated by New York Friends of Midwives, Albany Area Chapter of the National Organization for Women, Students of Sociology, Women Organized for Radical Difference, and the New York members of Citizens for Midwifery, the program included presentations by a midwife, a doula, and a childbirth educator, as well as birth stories and presentation of a video entitled Giving Birth: Challenges and Choices.
After this very successful program that drew an audience of over 60 people including students, faculty, families, pregnant women, and older women, many of the coordinators realized that there was both a need and a desire for more education efforts and decided to form a new, nonprofit organization. Thus BirthNet was born.
We have since presented education programs in the community, in classes, and in workshops at the local, regional, state, and national level, and worked to educate our local media. Our Events area includes a complete list of past events.