16 Recommendations from the World Health Organization
These 16 recommendations are based on the principle that each woman has a fundamental right to receive proper prenatal care: that the woman has a central role in all aspects of this care, including participation in the planning, carrying out and evaluation of the care: and that social, emotional and psychological factors are decisive [emphasis mine] in the understanding and implementation of proper prenatal care.
1. The whole community should be informed about the various procedures in birth care, to enable each woman to choose the type of birth care she prefers.
2. The training of professional midwives or birth attendants should be promoted. Care during normal pregnancy and birth and following birth should be the duty of this profession.
15. Obstetric care services that have critical attitudes towards technology and that have adopted an attitude of respect for the emotional, psychological and social aspects of birth should be identified. Such services should be encouraged and the processes that have led them to their position must be studied so that they can be used as models to foster similar attitudes in other centers and to influence obstetrical views nationwide.
The WHO report, Care in Normal Birth, she draws from is dated 1997. However, this does not negate the principles outlined in the post. Perhaps the normal birth advocacy groups should appeal to the WHO to update this report, since some people might be inclined to discredit the information due to the time stamp. Again, I stand by the information in the report that I have read thus far and that has been collated by Bellies and Babies. Kudos to you, my friend!
I would like to draw special attention to point 15 regarding critical attitudes within the maternal care system. I agree that it is imperative to identify care providers in our local communities who are critical of the over-use of technology, medication, and other interventions in normal (natural) birth. Birth advocates must join with these individuals and work together to decrease the unnecessary complication of normal (natural) birth.
There is a time to “fight” the system, but there is also a time to “join together”. It doesn’t matter that I desire to have a homebirth in the future if 9 other women I know still prefer to go to the hospital. It doesn’t matter that my neighbor might have a baby at the birth center even though I have been “risked” out of that possibility. We need to work for mutual understanding and respect for all birth options and guide women and their careproviders to make evidence-based, ethical, and empowering decisions.