Nearly a Century of Innovation
Childbirth Connection is a national not-for-profit organization founded in 1918 as Maternity Center Association (MCA) to reduce maternal and infant mortality in New York City. By fostering access to high-quality prenatal, childbirth and postpartum care and education that met the needs of underserved women, MCA achieved significant measured success. This focus on effective ways to improve the quality of maternity care and address best interests of women, babies, and families has continued throughout the organization’s history.
Improving Maternity Care in the 21st Century
In the decades that followed, MCA provided leadership inaugurating and strengthening many core elements of the maternity care system and related health policy, including: maternity nursing, childbirth and parenting education, nurse-midwifery education and credentialing, out-of-hospital birth centers, program evaluation, collaborative practice, and public education.
As the 20th century came to a close, MCA assessed contemporary maternity services and the wealth of best available evidence on care for pregnancy and childbirth. We found that many important lessons from the best research were not being translated into routine maternity care practice. To address this evidence-practice gap, MCA inaugurated in 2000 a long-term national program to promote evidence-based maternity care through three strategies: research, education and advocacy.
Since that time, the organization has commissioned and conducted many systematic and narrative reviews to clarify best evidence regarding safety and effectiveness of important maternity practices, conducted three pioneering national surveys of women’s childbearing experiences, carried out national media outreach campaigns to educate women and the general public about safe and effective maternity care, developed and updated an award-winning website with evidence-based resources for women and health professionals, engaged consumers in providing feedback to improve reviews of research, informed health professionals about safe and effective maternity care through leading professional journals, and raised awareness among elected officials and policymakers about the need to improve maternity care.
In 2006, MCA became Childbirth Connection to better reflect its contemporary focus and expanded its mission statement to improve the quality of maternity care through research, education, advocacy, and policy. Through its Maternity Quality Matters Initiative, Childbirth Connection focuses on policy as a core strategy to foster a maternity care system that delivers care of the highest quality and value to achieve optimal health outcomes and experiences for mothers and babies.
Childbirth Connection is taking advantage of the country’s current unprecedented focus on health care quality improvement by engaging leaders from across the health care system to ensure that maternity care is provided in ways that are safe, effective, woman-centered, timely, efficient, and equitable. In collaboration with the Reforming States Group and the Milbank Memorial Fund, Childbirth Connection issued a major report, Evidence-Based Maternity Care: What It Is and What It Can Achieve (2008). The report assesses the present maternity care system and identifies barriers and opportunities for improvement. Through Childbirth Connection’s landmark policy symposium, Transforming Maternity Care: A High Value Proposition, its 2020 Vision for a High Quality, High Value Maternity Care System, and Blueprint for Action, the organization works to improve the structure, process and outcomes of maternity care in the 21st century. Childbirth Connection believes that deliberative, collaborative multi-stakeholder efforts to improve the quality, value and experience of care for women, babies, families, and other stakeholders are the way to get there. We know that maternity quality matters.
Resources for Childbirth Educators:
- In-depth, evidence-based Pregnancy Topics series including Choosing a Place of Birth, Choosing a Caregiver, Labor Support, Induction of Labor, Labor Pain, Cesarean Section, VBAC vs. Repeat Cesarean, and more.
- Guide to Understanding and Navigating the Maternity Care System
- Journey to Parenthood: Your Guide Through Pregnancy, Birth, and Beyond
- Educational print materials available for sale in our Bookstore, including the Rights of Childbearing Women pamphlet and the Growing Uterus Chart set
- Resources for Transforming Maternity Care including an Action Center for Consumer Advocates
Posted by: Amy Romano, CNM, MSN