The International MotherBaby Childbirth Initiative (IMBCI) is a unique human-rights and evidence-based initiative, based on the midwifery model of care. The IMBCI Ten Steps is based on the results of a survey of birth and breastfeeding organizations in 163 countries and on input from IMBCO's Technical Advisory Group (TAG), international representatives, and birth experts all over the world who participated in its construction. IMBCO’s TAG was comprised of representatives from twenty international agencies including WHO, UNICEF, UNFPA, JHEIPGO, Save the Children and The White Ribbon Alliance for Safe Motherhood. Mother-Baby Friendly practices as laid out in the Ten Steps are evidence-based practice recommendations constructed from the results of the best available research held to gold standards. They give practice recommendations on the safety, effectiveness of the use of tests, treatments and interventions. They place an emphasis on maternal experience and are designed to guide maternity care decisions.

An optimal MotherBaby maternity service has written policies, implemented in education and practice, requiring that its health care providers:

Step 1 - Treat every woman with respect and dignity, fully informing and involving her in decision making about care for herself and her baby in language that she understands, and providing her the right to informed consent and refusal.

Step 2 - Possess and routinely apply midwifery knowledge and skills that optimize the normal physiology of pregnancy, labour, birth and breastfeeding.

Step 3 - Inform the mother of the benefits of continuous support during labor and birth and affirm her right to receive such support from companions of her choice, such as fathers, partners, family members, doulas, or others.

Step 4 - Provide drug-free comfort and pain-relief methods during labor, explaining their benefits for facilitating normal birth and avoiding unnecessary harm.

Step 5 - Provide specific evidence-based practices proven to be beneficial in supporting the normal physiology of labor, birth, and the postpartum period.

Step 6 - Avoid potentially harmful procedures and practices that have no scientific support for routine or frequent use in normal labor and birth.

Step 7 – Implement measures that enhance wellness and prevent illness, emergencies and death of the mother and/or baby.

Step 8 - Provide access to evidence-based skilled emergency treatment for life-threatening complications. Ensure that all maternal and newborn health providers have adequate and ongoing training in emergency skills for appropriate and timely treatment of mothers and their newborns.

Step 9 - Provide a continuum of collaborative care with all relevant health care providers, institutions, and organizations.

Step 10 - Strive to achieve the WHO/UNICEF Baby-friendly Hospital Initiative with the 10 Steps to Successful Breastfeeding.

For the complete document, see : The Initiative – The Initative Global