Improving Our Maternity Care Now

Four Care Models Decisionmakers Must Implement for Healthier Moms and Babies

September 2020
Maternal Health

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Clear evidence shows midwifery care, “community birth” settings (birth center and planned home birth settings), and doula support (including the extended model of prenatal, childbirth, and postpartum support) provide excellent and appreciated woman- and family centered experiences, leading to improved birth outcomes. And community-based and -led perinatal health worker groups offer support and care that frequently includes these proven models.

These four models of care share characteristics that distinguish them from the typical maternal care currently available in the United States.

This report describes each of these models, their current availability, and the evidence that supports their safety, effectiveness, and broader adoption to improve maternal and infant health. The report also provides recommendations for decisionmakers in the public and private sectors to achieve this goal.

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Editor’s note: We recognize and respect that pregnant, birthing, postpartum, and parenting people have a range of gender identities, and do not always identify as “women” or “mothers.” In recognition of the diversity of identities, this report uses both gendered terms such as “women” or “mothers” and gender-neutral terms such as “people,” “pregnant people,” and “birthing persons.”