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RESPECTFUL MATERNITY CARE: A Worthwhile Investment for Health Care Services, Professionals, Clients and Communities. General Concepts and Considerations May 2013. General and Specific Session Objectives.

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RESPECTFUL MATERNITY CARE: A Worthwhile Investment for Health Care Services, Professionals, Clients and Communities

General Concepts and Considerations

May 2013

General and specific session objectives
General and Specific Session Objectives

  • General Objective: To share information concerning Respectful Maternity Care (RMC) and its promotion

  • Specific Objectives:

    • Define Respectful Maternity Care

    • Describe the content of RMC

    • Describe avenues for promotion of RMC

    • Present key recommendations

Respectful maternity care general concept
Respectful Maternity Care:General Concept

  • “Respectful Maternity Care” (RMC)is an approach that:

    • Focuses on the interpersonal aspect of maternity care

    • Emphasizes the fundamental rights of the mother, newborn and families, including protecting the mother-baby pair

    • Recognizes that all childbearing women need and deserve respectful care and protection of the women’s right to choice and preferences

Characteristics of healthcare to be avoided
Characteristics of Healthcare to be Avoided

  • Impersonal

  • Centered on the professional and not on the woman and her family

  • Disempowerment of the woman

  • Family unit separated during labor and birth

Respectful maternity care promotes
Respectful Maternity Care Promotes:

  • Respect for beliefs, traditions and culture

  • Empowerment of the woman and her family to become active participants in health care

  • Continuous support during labor

  • Choice of companion during labor and birth

  • The right to information and privacy

  • Freedom of movement during labor

Rmc promotes continued
RMC Promotes (continued):

  • Choice of position during birth

  • Good communication between client and provider

  • Support of the mother-baby pair

  • Improvement of working conditions and respectful and collaborative relationships among all cadres of health workers

  • Prevention of disrespect and abuse and institutional violence against woman

Respectful maternity care can be life saving
Respectful Maternity Care Can Be Life-Saving

  • RMC is lifesaving— women may refuse to seek care from a provider who abuses them or does not treat them well, even if the provider is skilled in preventing and managing complications

    (ACCESS Program. 2008. Best Practices in MN Care: LRP)

Historic background
Historic Background

1975 Birth of the Humanizing Childbirth movement (Brazil)

1985 WHO/PAHO conference on appropriate technology for birth (Brazil)

1996 Mother-Friendly Childbirth Initiative (USA)

2000 First international conference on Humanizing Childbirth in Fortaleza (Brazil)

2010 USAID/URC–supported Landscape Analysis on abuse and disrespect in childbirth care

2011 Respectful maternity care charter, White Ribbon Alliance (WRA)

Respectful maternity care recognizes multiple stakeholders

Respect for women’s rights and preferences

Appreciation, compensation and respect for health care providers

Central involvement of women – community and national leaders – in planning and evaluating maternal health programs

Respectful Maternity Care: Recognizes Multiple Stakeholders

Key stakeholders in rmc
Key Stakeholders in RMC

  • Pregnant women

  • Families

  • Communities

  • Healthcare Providers

  • Individual providers

  • Professional associations

Women’s Advocates


Human Rights Activists

Training Institutions

Policy Makers


Contributors to and impact of disrespect and abuse in childbirth on skilled care utilization
Contributors to and Impact of Disrespect and Abuse in Childbirth on Skilled Care Utilization

Source: Hill K and Stanton ME, 2010

Key action points
Key Action Points Childbirth on Skilled Care Utilization










General recommendations
General Recommendations Childbirth on Skilled Care Utilization

  • Include advocacy at all levels to create functional networks among the wider body of stakeholders

  • Involve community and media in each step of the process

  • Where data is absent, conduct studies on women’s preferences and choices related to respectful maternity care

  • Ensure political commitment at the national, district and local levels so that appropriate policies and standards are in place.

General recommendations continued
General Recommendations (continued) Childbirth on Skilled Care Utilization

  • Professionals and communities should collaborate in all planning, implementation, and evaluation of RMC

  • Knowledge, skills and attitudes that support RMC must be required in all education and training programs that involve healthcare workers

  • Mobilize resources to support implementation of RMC

We all have a role in assuring that all women have rmc
WE ALL HAVE A ROLE IN ASSURING THAT ALL WOMEN HAVE RMC! Childbirth on Skilled Care Utilization


References Childbirth on Skilled Care Utilization

  • Bowser and Hill. 2010. "Exploring Evidence and Action for Respectful Care at Birth”. USAID, TRAction Project.

  • Hill K. and M.E. Stanton. 2010. Promoting Evidence and Action for Respectful Care at Birth, a presentation at the USAID Mini-University at Georgetown University.

  • ACCESS Program. 2008. Best Practices in Maternal and Newborn Care: Learning Resource Package. Module 4: Women-friendly Care. Jhpiego: Baltimore-MD, USA.

  • White Ribbon Alliance website:

  • URC website: