Want to have a mother-friendly birth? 10 questions to ask


Here are some numbers we recommend you ask about:

  • They should not try to start labor for more than 10 percent of women.
  • They should not do an episiotomy on more than 1 in 5 women. An episiotomy is a cut in the opening to the vagina to make it larger for birth. It's not necessary most of the time.)
  • They should not do C-sections on more than 10 percent of women if it's a community hospital or 15 percent if the hospital cares for many high-risk mothers and babies. A C-section is a major operation in which a doctor cuts through the mother's stomach into her womb to remove the baby. Mothers who have had a C-section can often have future babies normally. Look for a birth place in which 6 in 10 or more of the mothers who have had C-sections go on to have their other babies through the birth canal.

    3. How do you allow for differences in culture and beliefs?
    Mother-friendly places are sensitive to the mother's culture. They know that mothers and families have differing beliefs, values and customs. For example, you may have a custom that only women may be with you during labor and birth. Or perhaps you want a religious ritual to be done after birth. Many other things may be important to you. If the place and the people are mother-friendly, they will support you in doing what you want to do. Before labor starts, tell your doctor or midwife what special things you want.

    4. Can I walk and move around during labor? What position do you suggest for birth?
    In mother-friendly settings, you can walk around and move about as you choose during labor. You can choose the


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