Childbirth Connection

Founded in 1918 as the Maternity Center Association, Childbirth Connection is now a core program of the National Partnership for Women & Families.

For nearly 100 years, we have helped develop and advance many forms of care that are now critical components of the nation’s maternity care system.

More recently, we launched a long-term program to promote evidence-based maternity care through policy and quality initiatives.

We will continue working to improve and transform the nation’s maternity care system so that childbearing women and babies consistently receive high-quality, woman- and family-centered care.

Vision, Mission & Principles

Our Vision

A high-quality, high-value maternity care system in which well-informed pregnant women receive supportive care and institutions consistently provide safe, effective, woman- and family-centered, timely, equitable and cost-effective maternity care.

Our Mission

Our mission is to improve the quality and value of maternity care through consumer engagement and health system transformation. Childbirth Connection promotes safe, effective and satisfying evidence-based maternity care and is a voice for the needs and interests of childbearing families.

Our Core Principles

  • Pregnancy, labor and birth, and the early postpartum and newborn period are especially important and sensitive times in the lives of women and their families. Experiences at this time can have great and long-term effects, both favorable and adverse.
  • Most childbearing women are well and healthy and as such have every reason to expect an uncomplicated birth and transition to parenthood and a healthy newborn.
  • The U.S. health care system is in disarray, and many pregnant women face challenges in obtaining safe, effective, woman- and family-centered maternity care that is informed by the best research.
  • Women have the opportunity and the responsibility to participate in shared decision-making about their care from early in pregnancy through the postpartum period. The decisions they make and the care they receive can have lasting effects on their health and the health of their babies.
  • To participate in shared decision-making, women need full and accurate information based on the best available research about their care options, from early in pregnancy through the postpartum period. Women need choices among a reasonable range of care providers, care settings and care options to help make informed decisions and receive the care that is best for them and their babies.
  • Care providers and facilities have the responsibility to provide evidence-based care that respects and supports the innate physiology of pregnancy, labor and birth and the mother-baby connection while also addressing the family’s needs, values and preferences.
  • Women and their families can improve the quality of maternity care for themselves and others by becoming informed, planning carefully, voicing their needs and concerns, challenging established childbirth beliefs and practices that are not beneficial to mothers and babies and working to improve the system in which maternity care is delivered.

It is important for you to become involved in securing high-quality maternity care that’s right for you and your family. Learn how to get the skills, knowledge and confidence to do so here.


Since 1918, Childbirth Connection (known as Maternity Center Association until 2005) has worked on behalf of childbearing women, newborns and families to improve the quality of maternity care through research, education, advocacy and demonstration of maternity innovations.

Throughout the 20th century, we helped demonstrate, evaluate and spread many forms of care that have become basic elements of the current maternity care system, including maternity nursing, nurse-midwifery education, parenting and childbirth education, care in freestanding birth centers and collaborative practice. We also pioneered public education about pregnancy and birth.

Since 2000, we have worked with childbearing women, health professionals, policymakers and journalists to promote evidence-based maternity care. We are active in improving maternity care through policy and quality initiatives and through clinical effectiveness activities (e.g., systematic reviews, performance measures, decision aids and clinical practice guidelines). We give voice to the experiences and perspectives of childbearing women through periodic national “Listening to Mothers” surveys.


The Carola Warburg Rothschild Award

Childbirth Connection presented this award eight times to individuals whose work and actions contributed to the well-being of women and families.

1997: Ruth Watson Lubic and Alice Stone Ilchman
1998: Byllye Y. Avery and Jo Ivey Bouffard
2001: Iain Chalmers, Murray Enkin and Marc J.N.C. Keirse
2002: Penny Simkin
2003: John Kennell and Marshall Klaus and Kitty Ernst
2005: Doris Haire
2007: Betsy Gotbaum and Choices in Childbirth
2008: Donna Lynne

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