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ACNM Healthy Birth Initiative Promotes Benefits,
Tools for Achieving Healthy Childbirth

"With the cesarean rate reaching an alarming 33% nationally, and the cost of maternity care continuing to rise, it's imperative that we create and share resources that address the safe, high-quality, low-cost care that's available for women through physiologic birth."

"Tanya Tanner, CNM, PhD, MBA, RN and chair of the ACNM Healthy Birth Initiative" Task Force

The American College of Nurse-Midwives (ACNM) Healthy Birth Initiative is a
new program that provides resources and tools to help women, their families,
and health care providers achieve healthy childbirth. It focuses
on understanding and utilizing the innate physiology of birth to avoid
unnecessary medical interventions, including cesareans, in order to achieve the
best outcomes for mothers and babies.

The ACNM Healthy Birth Initiative also provides evidence-based research to
hospital quality managers, highlighting how improving childbirth optimizes
their facilities' quality of care and supports midwives and other health care
providers who are pursuing improved birth care in their hospitals. The evidence
also helps facilities meet their mandate for national quality measurement and
reporting requirements.

Women and Families

women, their families, and other consumers interested in childbirth, the ACNM Healthy Birth Initiative developed "Normal Healthy Childbirth for Women
& Families: What You Need to Know.
" This 4-page handout is easy to follow,
clearly explaining and advocating for the benefits of physiologic birth for
women and families. This guide provides an overview of physiologic birth and
tips on how it can be achieved, as well as what can disrupt the healthy birth

handout includes the endorsement of several major women's health organizations:
Lamaze, Centering Healthcare, DONA, Citizens for Midwifery, International
Center for Traditional Childbearing, Childbirth Connection, a program of the
National Partnership for Women & Families, and International Lactation
Consultant Association, and it has the support of the March of Dimes. Available
in English and Spanish, the guide is free for download, printing, and
distribution. Professionally printed copies in packs of 50 are available for
purchase through ACNM at ShopACNM.com.


As part
of the ACNM Healthy Birth
, maternity care providers now have a new physiologic birth
toolkit at www.BirthTOOLS.org. Developed by ACNM in
consultation with Childbirth Connection, the site provides tools, resources,
and guidelines for maternity care professionals to use to support, promote, and
facilitate physiologic birth. BirthTOOLS (Tools for Optimizing the Outcomes of
Labor Safely) walks providers through evidence that supports care practices for
physiologic birth. The site assists clinicians and health care systems in
implementing best practices to achieve optimal health outcomes for mothers,
babies, and families.

BirthTOOLS site uses a quality improvement framework to guide clinicians in the
process of initiating evidence-based changes to promote physiologic birth by
auditing the impact of the change. The website brings best practice resources
and tools from a variety of organizations to one location, organized for easy
access by clinicians, unit leaders, and hospital system managers. Linkages
between national quality measures and specific care changes are highlighted.

The site
was developed with consultants from Childbirth Connection, a program of the
National Partnership, in collaboration with a committee comprised of ACNM
members and representatives from the Association of Women's Health, Obstetric
and Neonatal Nurses (AWHONN), the National Association of Certified Professional
Midwives (NACPM), and Lamaze International.

Quality Managers

"As a result of reporting measures issued by the Joint Commission and the National Quality Forum, hospitals and health care providers must now pay attention to processes and procedures around birth. With "Birth Matters", we now have a tool to illustrate how healthy birth benefits hospitals and organizations, in addition to mothers and babies."

"Mary Jane Lewitt, CNM, PhD, and chair of the ACNM Healthy Birth Initiative" Maternity Care System Subcommittee

The ACNM Healthy Birth Initiative also created the handout, Birth Matters, which explores how medical interventions in
labor have been misused, resulting in poorer health outcomes, reduction in the
quality of care, substantial increases in cost, and fewer choices for women.
Directed to hospital quality managers, the handout describes the benefits of
healthy, physiologic birth to the women and families they serve, and to health
care facilities' quality outcome measures and patient satisfaction scores.

developed under the leadership of ACNM in consultation with representatives
from AWHONN, Childbirth and Postpartum Professional Association (CAPPA), and
quality and safety leaders from various facilities across the United States.
Copies of this guide are available for free download, printing, and distribution.
Professionally printed copies in packs of 50 are available for purchase through
ACNM at ShopACNM.com.

American College of Nurse-Midwives
409 12th St SW, Suite 600, Washington, DC 20024-2188
Phone: 240.485.1800
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