A group of dedicated professionals, calling themselves the Coalition for Improving Maternity Services, formed a powerful alliance in the summer of 1996 to promote a wellness model of maternity care.
They outlined a set of ten principles they call "The Mother-Friendly Childbirth Initiative: Ten Steps to Mother-Friendly Hospitals, Birth Centers, and Home Birth Services." When all ten steps are achieved in an institution, it is designated as "Mother-Friendly." Here are the ten requirements:
1. Offering unrestricted access to birth companions (doulas) to provide continuous emotional and physical support during labor.
2. Access to midwifery care
3. Provision of accurate descriptions and statistical information to the public, on procedures, and outcomes
4. Freedom to walk, move about, and assume positions of choice during labor and birth
5. Policies of cooperation with other caregivers providing maternity services to this family
6. Dropping routine practices not supported by scientific evidence such as withholding nourishment, early rupture of membranes, electronic fetal monitoring, and IV drips
7. Educating staff in non-drug methods of pain relief
8. Breast-feeding encouragement and follow-up support
9. Discouraging nonreligious circumcision of newborn children.
10. To strive to include another ten-step initiative already designed by the World Health Organization/UNESCO called "The Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative." This initiative is currently being revised by the Coalition for inclusion with its "Mother-Friendly" program to educate all those involved in the birthing industry on the needs and conditions that promote optimal birth bonding.