For it is not the birth professional banging on the hospital door that creates change. It is the informed and educated consumer.
Our Campaign Plan
Our Campaign Plan includes various elements with the aim to raise awareness at the level of consumers AND care providers and to make it easier for expecting families to discuss their wishes for support with their care providers by downloading a helpguide (coming soon) from our website to ease the discussion.
When you are expecting, the last thing you want to do is having to fight for your Rights. Let's make it easy for families, to enjoy the proven benefits of continuous Doula support of their choice.
Our heartfelt thanks to the following organisations that have supported our campaign work so far:
Please get in touch if you would like to support or sponsor our campaign.
We launched the campaign in 2016 to raise awareness and enable access to the well-studied evidence-based benefits for families to the option of independent and continuous non-medical labour support (as complement to the medical team) of their own choosing (thereby - from a familiar person) which in turn improves health and mental outcomes in birth.
Join our Birth Doula Love Luxembourg FB group here
Mounting evidence and the fact that more than 50 countries worldwide have already made this choice accessible to families doesn't mean it is going to be welcomed by Luxembourg's unique maternity care system, which is a pity as out-of-hospital options for those seeking undisturbed/low-interventionist, physiological care are very slim. Furthermore, the 400 year old existing inequality between the midwifery and obstetric profession does not make the emergence of non-medical,complementary (though age-old in concept) labour support to the scene straight-forward. Currently, we are delving deeper into the inequality to better understand how we could contribute to more evidence-based choices for families around birth. Please get in contact if you are able to contribute so we can all work together towards Healing Birth, to Heal the Earth. Join our Birth Culture Luxembourg FB group here.
Why the need for awareness?
When discussing having Birth Doula support with their care providers, some parents-to-be face obstacles and resistance. Childbirth is highly individual and therefore individualised care is essential for a positive and healthy birth experience for the whole family.
are for Care Providers to become familiar with the proven evidence and benefits of Birth Doulas to their clients' experience of birth, and to respect their clients choice to be supported in this way. It's their Human Right... And birth is important.
is for expecting families to become aware of this amazing tool available and to use it, request it and to spread word about it in the community.
are for more Birth Doulas called to the profession, to follow their passion in Luxembourg by serving Birth, the compassionate way.
The benefits of Birth Doula support, is still quite unknown in Luxembourg, both among families and care providers. Luxembourg is a wonderful country, a leader in many areas. We are thankful for the beauty, prosperity, safety, opportunities, rich history, vibrant community, beautiful parks, forest trails and playgrounds for families! We are thankful for maternity leave, parental leave and birth allocations :-)
But Birth itself is such a momentous starting point of our society, we can not turn a blind eye to systemic limitations. We owe it to future generations to continuously strive to improve maternity care if we want a more compassionate society and world.
Universal Human Rights in Childbirth “includes the recognition of the right to choose the circumstances of childbirth, which requires states to legitimise and support the full range of women’s birth choices including the choice to give birth with a midwife at home or in a birth center, or with a doctor or midwife at a hospital.”
In Luxembourg, 99.8% of women have to give birth in hospitals with an obstetrician, because birth centers (skilled midwifery led birth facilities with obstetric backup only when needed) as an option do not exist, home birth with a midwife is not fully supported and the choice of giving birth with a skilled midwife (trained to deliver babies naturally) in hospital is not possible due to the system (the obstetric-led model requires an obstetrician to deliver baby). Therefore families really don’t have the full range of options supported, which has implications for a women’s right to support for vaginal birth according to human rights in childbirth.org.
Looking at the statistics:
The World Health Organisation (“WHO”) states that Caesarean sections (C/S's) are effective in saving maternal and infant lives, but only when they are required for medically indicated reasons. At population level, caesarean section rates higher than 10% are not associated with reductions in maternal and newborn mortality rates.(4a) Luxembourg is one of only 7 countries in the EU with a C/S rate higher than 30%. (2)
Therefore, families (and the society at large) in Luxembourg can only benefit from having continuous, exclusive Birth Doula Support of their choosing. Especially expatriates accounting for over 60% of births who could face an additional hurdle due to language barriers with nurse midwifes in the hospital. (having to speak during labor inhibits the mother’s ability to access primitive brain structures through neo-cortical inhibition which allows for the natural birth process to unfold instinctively. Having to communicate in a foreign language makes it even harder…) (6a)
We want to make it easier for families to bring a Birth Doula into the birth room because “the feeling of safety, confidence and comfort of the mother is essential for the well-being of the mother and the child” (2016 EU day of Safe Birth and Motherhood - Parliamentary Working group in Brussels)
Maternity care systems should be able to anticipate and support a diverse range of needs and choices around pregnancy and childbirth, and to support those needs with respect and non-judgment. Respectful maternity care optimizes health for mother, baby, and community.
What is the legal background
Even though some hospitals and care providers (obstetricians, nurse-midwives, hospitals) may inform parents that hospital policy or personal preferences "do not permit" having an additional support person at birth we have consulted with legal experts and regulatory bodies.
Nothing in Local Law forbids patients from having the support of an additional person at birth. (11)
European Convention on Human Rights
Art. 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights: “Everyone has the right to respect for his private and family life.” Human Rights in Childbirth.org/right-to-privacy.com explains:
“As the European Court of Human Rights has observed:
‘The right concerning the decision to become a parent includes the right of choosing the circumstances of becoming a parent,’and ‘the circumstances of giving birth incontestably form part of one’s private life.’ Birthing women make decisions around childbirth in accordance with their personal needs. Women’s needs and decisions around modesty and privacy during labor and birth, pain relief, medical assistance, and surgery are different because women are different.' (10)"
Other Regulatory Bodies
Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative by WHO & Unicef: Global Criteria, Mother-friendly care:
A review of the hospital policies indicates that they require mother-friendly labour and birthing practices and procedures including: Encouraging women to have companions of their choice to provide continuous physical and/or emotional support during labour and birth, as desired.
‣ Note that Maternite Centre Hospitalier Emile Mayrisch CHEM, Esch-sur-Alzette is certified as “Hopital-Ami des bebes et Hopital-Ami des Meres” so in effect should comply with the guidelines as outlined in the charter. (7c)
World Health Organisation:
“It is clear that compared with usual care, the provision of continuous support to women during labour increases the likelihood of spontaneous vaginal birth, reduces duration of labour and use of analgesia and lowers the incidence of caesarean section and instrumental delivery. Moreover, less babies are born with a low 5-minute APGAR score and mothers express more satisfaction with the birth experience. (7a)
Allowing women to have a companion of choice during labour and childbirth can be a low-cost and effective intervention to improve the quality of maternity care.” (7b)
International MotherBaby Childbirth Initiative:
This MotherBaby Model of Care by the International MotherBaby Childbirth Initiative "promotes the health and wellbeing of all women and babies during pregnancy, birth, and breastfeeding, setting the gold standard for excellence and superior outcomes in maternity care. All maternity service providers should be
educated in, provide, and support this MotherBaby Model of Care." Included in the 10 Steps to Optimal MotherBaby* Maternity Services is Step 3: "Inform the mother of the benefits of continuous support during labour and birth, and affirm her right to receive such support from companions of her choice, such as fathers, partners, family members, doulas, or others. Continuous support has been shown to reduce the need for intra-partum analgesia, decrease the rate of operative births and increase mothers’ satisfaction with their birthing experience. *The mother and baby constitute an integral unit during pregnancy, birth, and infancy."
Art 8 of EU Convention on Human Rights:
"Everyone has the right to respect for their private and family life."
OUR CAMPAIGN PLAN
With organisations also interested in supporting expecting parents' rights
Downloadable Helpguide for expecting parents
Interviews with Birth Doulas and other professionals (in Luxembourg and abroad)
Interviews with Parents that had Birth Doula Support
Communicate with policy makers
When the time is right: Awareness Event with documentary film screening, panel & networking
Photo-shoot with key messages
How You can help
At your next Gynecological/Obstetric appointment:
Even if you are not expecting or are not considering to have a Birth Doula, please ask your Maternity Care Providers the following 4 questions and submit the results here anonymously, to help raise awareness and so we are able to understand whether the role is understood and parents’ choices are respected.
Coming in contact with expecting parents
Inform them of the option and benefits. Send them to our website for further info.
Please get in touch if you would like to officially support or sponsor our campaign.
Do you know someone that can help us gain press coverage, obtain legal support, access to a transparent round-table discussion with hospital management or do you have links with policymakers?
"When women, one by one and collectively, start insisting on their right to have normal birth options, more bonding time, and better support of breastfeeding, hospitals and care providers will respond and change will happen."
Bingham D. Helping hospitals change: part 1: what childbirth educators can do. J Perinat Educ 2005,14(3):39-44