Maternity Care

This website gives you information, tools and resources to become an active member of your maternity care team and active participant in your care. You may be surprised to know that being fully engaged in your maternity care can make all the difference in the care you get, your experiences and the well-being of both you and your baby.

Having the skills, knowledge and confidence to wisely navigate your maternity care is important because:

  • The quality of maternity care varies a lot across providers and care settings. The care arrangements you make affect what happens to you and your health.
  • There is broad agreement that cesareans and many other maternity practices are overused and can cause needless discomfort and harm. Becoming informed and following proven tips can help you avoid these problems.
  • High-quality research points to many safer, more effective practices for you and your baby. But it can take many years before these practices are reliably provided to women and babies at the point of care. Knowing about and seeking best practices can make a big difference for both of you.
  • Your baby is counting on you to advocate for her or his best start.

You are embarking on many years of responsibility for managing health care across generations. Pregnancy and birth is an ideal time to develop skills, knowledge and confidence for a lifetime. You’ve come to the right place!

Ten Tips for Taking Charge of Your Maternity Care

If you only visit one page on this website, make it this one. It’s also a good starting place for jumping into this site. You will find many important tips for your maternity journey and links for learning more.

Healthy Childbearing

Most childbearing women and newborns are well and do not have serious risks or problems. Learn about the kind of care that will help them stay on a healthy track and thrive.

The Cascade of Intervention

Many women who labor in U.S. hospitals experience the “cascade of intervention.” Learn what this is, and why and how you may wish to be engaged in your care (beginning in pregnancy) and take steps to try to avoid a labor that unfolds in this way.

The Role of Hormones in Childbirth

The hormones at play around the time of birth contribute to your and your baby’s well-being. Learn how to make them work for you, and how to avoid interfering with them.

Making Informed Decisions

Making informed decisions is an essential way to be involved in your maternity care. This means knowing the options and learning their possible benefits and harms according to best available research. You will also want to think about what’s important to you, get your questions answered and make decisions that are right for you and your family.