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Pregnancy Outcomes

20 Factors of Optimal Childbearing Outcomes

These 20 factors of optimal childbearing describe the perfect start for each baby. We realize perfection is virtually impossible: problems arise that no one has control over. Strengthening other factors will improve the overall outcome for the new family.

1. The mother has a support system that values the life of the baby and her emerging role as a mother.

2. The mother embraces the pregnancy and prepares for the arrival of her child.

3. The mother is physically healthy and free of disease or physical complications.

4. The mother adapts a lifestyle of wellness, providing quality nutrition, exercise, and relaxation for herself and her child.

5. The mother is confident of her ability to give birth and prepares for it. This includes access to health care professionals who can provide timely diagnosis and intervention if it is needed.

6. Spontaneous labor begins at full-term.

7. The mother is surrounded by individuals who respect and support her and her desires through birth.

8. The mother works with her body to enhance the labor and birth process. She tunes in to her body's signals and responds to them physiologically.

9. Labor is free from complications or medical interventions that impede the birth process.

10. The mother actively births a healthy, alert baby who is ready to self-attach to the breast, to bond with the parents, and thrive in the extra-uterine environment.

11 The mother and baby are kept together so the mother can provide warmth, nutrition, and comfort to help the infant thrive.

12. The mother breastfeeds to provide optimal infant nutrition in the first year of life in order to prevent infections and disease and to enhance the physical, emotional, and intellectual development of the child.

13. The mother is surrounded by individuals who support the breastfeeding process and avoid practices or comments that interfere with successful lactation.

14. The infant and mother are attuned to one another physically and emotionally.

15. The infant and mother remain free of infection, complication, or disease.

16. The Mother/Baby Rhythm is established and develops into a cyclical rhythm that allows the mother to meet the needs of her infant and herself.

17. The mother is free of symptoms of depression, postpartum psychosis, birth trauma, or post-traumatic stress disorders.

18. The family has positive encounters with care providers which foster trusting relationships for future encounters with the health-care system.

19. The parents recognize and respond to the infant’s cues.

20. The parents respond to the newborn’s individuality and foster the development of the infant.

What do these 20 Outcomes mean to you?

If someone had a perfect score they would have a perfect outcome. But we need to accept that life is usually less than perfect.

You may not be a perfect person. There are no families or communities that are perfect. And few people will have absolutely perfect pregnancy outcomes.

However, these 20 factors of Optimal Childbearing Outcomes are the ideal for mothers and babies. Some things will be less than perfect. You might have a disease, or less support than ideal, or difficulty finding time for health-enhancing behaviors. Babies may come prematurely, or have a chromosomal abnormality.

In such situations, strengthening other pregnancy outcomes listed here will improve the health of both mother and baby.

There is no situation so unhealthy that it cannot be improved.

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By Karen Newell Copyright 2003 - 2012 Better Childbirth Outcomes - All Rights Reserved
Camp Hill, Pennsylvania, USA