Stylish, practical babywearing with a message, and a real contribution to mother-friendly childbirth advocacy.
Moby Wraps, one of the most popular stretchy wraps for babywearing, is currently selling a custom-designed model sporting a “Born Free” butterfly logo, from the makers of The Business of Being Born (that’s Ricki Lake in the promo photo, along with the film’s director Abby Epstein).
A portion of the proceeds from sales of this wrap will go to support the Coalition for Improving Maternity Services, an organization now in its second decade. CIMS seeks to promote evidence-based maternity care, and states their mission as follows:
The Coalition for Improving Maternity Services (CIMS) is a coalition of individuals and national organizations with concern for the care and wellbeing of mothers, babies, and families. Our mission is to promote a wellness model of maternity care that will improve birth outcomes and substantially reduce costs. This evidence-based mother-, baby-, and family-friendly model focuses on prevention and wellness as the alternatives to high-cost screening, diagnosis, and treatment programs.
One of CIMS’ most important contributions has been the Mother-Friendly Childbirth Initiative, a statement of principles upholding the normalcy of the birthing process, a woman’s right to autonomy in childbirth decisions, the avoidance of unnecessary interventions, and the responsibilities of mothers and childbirth care providers to educate themselves and work in the best interests of the mother and child.
The MFCI goes on to define “Ten Steps of Mother-Friendly Care”, whereby hospitals, birthing centres, and homebirth centers can receive a CIMS “Mother-Friendly” designation. This is separate from the WHO “Baby-Friendly” Hospital Initiative (which primarily involves support of breastfeeding), although the tenth step of the “Mother-Friendly” guidelines is to follow the WHO “Baby-Friendly” guidelines.
The CIMS website has many great resources, including free document downloads such as “Ten Questions to Ask” your chosen birth care providers, to determine if they are “Mother-Friendly”; “Are Your Birth Classes Mother-Friendly?”; and a fact sheet on Breastfeeding.
A 2006 “Listening to Mothers” survey showed that:
Of the surveyed women who had vaginal births, 80% had intravenous lines, and 55% had their labors augmented with pitocin. Ninety-four percent of the women had electronic fetal monitoring (93% of those women were monitored continuously). Only 15% of the women reported eating anything in labor, and only 40% reported that they had anything to drink.
Furthermore, only one-third of mothers received their babies in-arms immediately after birth; nearly half the babies of mothers who wanted to exclusively breastfeed were given formula supplements or pacifiers; 71% received an epidural; and 41% of the caregivers tried to induce labour.
We obviously still have a long way to go, and simply buying a “Born Free” Moby Wrap can help CIMS continue to advocate for our rights as mothers.
[This post was written by Heather Dunham]