President's Report "Chicago Birth Summit"

On Saturday November 8, we were honored to represent The International Childbirth Education Association at the historic Chicago Birth Summit. The summit gathered together members from major birth organizations that support mother-friendly, evidence-based maternity care. Most importantly, the group met as a response to AMA/ACOG's public resolution against homebirth--a resolution that stands flatly in opposition to current research regarding its safety.

A collective statement made by the group is as follows:
On November 8, 2008, The Chicago Birth Summit came together as a representative group of over 40,000 birth professionals who are committed to the improvement of maternity care. This group, under the direction of the Coalition for Improving Maternity Services (CIMS) will serve as a catalyst for change to advocate for birth choices within obstetrical care, including VBAC, homebirth, waterbirth, midwifery care and evidence-based childbirth education.

You can read the PR that preceded the Summit at any of the following links: Official Press Release, , Birth Source, (the hosting organization), Childbirth Today Blog, Giving Birth Naturally Blog, and ILCA's website.

The following groups were in attendance:
Birth Network National (BNN)
American College of Nurse Midwives (ACNM)
Midwives Alliance of North America (MANA)
Birth Matters International
Advanced Birthing Concepts & The Bohen Center for Women's Health
Doulas of North America (DONA)
The Coalition for Improving Maternity Services & The Mother-Friendly Childbirth Initiative (CIMS & MFCI)
Lamaze International
Birthing From Within
Waterbirth International
International Cesarean Awareness Network (ICAN)
International Childbirth Education Association (ICEA)
The HypnoBirthing Institute

The coalition, formed at the summit, seeks to unite all birth professionals in a cohesive force that will work to promote evidence-based birth choices through such actions as a PR team to respond to anti-homebirth resolutions made by such groups as ACOG, a Rapid Response Task Force, presence at major national obstetric conventions and legislative advocacy within the new Obama administration.

Additional programs may include interactions with Childbirth Connection, educating nursing schools and residency programs about normal birth, increasing the internet presence of informed consent and patients rights information, and interaction with insurance companies to promote the lowering of costs by decreasing interventions in labor and birth.

We feel truly honored to be a part of the Chicago Birth Summit and the resulting coalition of birthing professionals that formed on this historic occasion. We look forward to the work that will be accomplished in the name of normal birth and mother-friendly care!

Sincerely,
Jeanette Schwartz, ICEA President and Connie Bach-ICEA Director at Large