Respectful Childbirth: Creating a Space of Leadership and Caring
Dr. Ariana F. Santilon (MN 161.646), obstetrician at Halitus Medical Institute and former resident instructor in obstetrics and gynecology at Argerich Hospital.
The respected childbirth week ends, a moment to reflect on its implications and the rights and responsibilities of both families and the health team. The birth of a child is respected for playing a major role for the family beyond the path of birth.
Since 2004, the French Association for Respectful Childbirth (AFAR, Alliance Francophone pur l”Accouchement Respecté) promotes a week-long commemoration dedicated to reflecting on the scope of laws related to dignified childbirth in different countries and the laws they have. There are various organizations such as UNICEF During this week, various activities are carried out to publicize the rights and responsibilities of families and health teams in each nation.
In our country, since the enactment of the respected Childbirth Law 25,929, this commemoration has been held simultaneously with celebrations around the world. Each year, the Ministry of Health proposes a slogan that represents a specific objective of this law. In 2023, the chosen slogan is “Health is giving birth violence-free.”
What is a dignified delivery? What is childbirth free from violence? This delivery is one where the health team and accompanying family work as a team to promote a place where the rights of children and their families are respected, together with biological, ethnic, political and Social terms also have their particularities and diversity. Support them in making safe informed decisions and respect their decisions. The main aim is to create a prominent role space for the family during the birth, recognizing that they are the true protagonists of this experience.
It is important to highlight that both the health team and the family have rights and responsibilities in the delivery approach. These rights must be respected regardless of the circumstances and manner of birth. Similarly, basic aspects such as skin-to-skin contact and breastfeeding in the first hour of life should be facilitated by the health team, provided the circumstances of the mother and the newborn allow it.
A major objective of the health team and family is to promote a perinatal care paradigm based on cooperation and mutual respect. In this approach, the family, in all its dimensions, together with the health team, becomes the leading pivot. It seeks to foster autonomy, quality and warmth in care, creating space for listening and consensus. However, it is always kept in mind that expectations and wishes regarding the birth process may be modified by decisions necessary to protect the health of the pregnant person and the unborn child.
Finally, the commemoration of the Week of Honorable Childbirth invites us to reflect on the importance of creating a space of leadership and care for families during the birth process. Both the health team and the family have a fundamental role in promoting dignified and safe care where the rights and particularities of each individual are respected. Using a collaborative and data-driven approach, we aim to ensure violence-free and empowering birth experiences for all families.