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, 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, are reproductive rights.
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, respectful, and address each woman's individual fears and concerns.
Unfortunately, the care that most women and babies receive is neither evidence-based nor individualized, and few women or their families are aware of this. Nearly all women entering hospitals for birth are subjected to some level of medical or technological intervention, many of which can cause more harm than good. We also spend far more on maternity care in the US than in other developed countries with better outcomes that rely more heavily on midwives and treat birth as a normal physiological process.
Outcomes in the United States are far worse than in other developed countries. We have high infant and maternal mortality rates, high maternal morbidity rates, low rates of breastfeeding, and high rates of both postpartum depression and posttraumatic stress among new mothers. Our rates of cesarean section, induction of labor, preterm birth, and low-birthweight babies are all at very high levels. (Fact sheets on these topics)
Because most childbirth takes place in a hospital, we do not live with birth in this country. Removal of birth from the home and community has left several generations of Americans with little or no understanding of normal birth.
Resources for Research about Maternity Care Issues
BirthNet fact sheets
Coalition for Improving Maternity Services – www.motherfriendly.org
Citizens for Midwifery – www.cfmidwifery.org
Childbirth Connection – www.childbirthconnection.org
Lamaze Institute for Normal Birth -- www.lamaze.org/institute/