Two of the core competencies of a Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator center upon advocacy—individual advocacy and stakeholder advocacy.
Lamaze International continues to expand advocacy efforts by engaging policymakers, payers and providers to develop strategic partnerships to increase access to childbirth education. Launching efforts on the local, state and national levels are critical to this endeavor and we can only succeed with the expertise and efforts of our membership.
Recent Advocacy Efforts
- Lamaze signed a letter supporting Senator Patty Murray's (D-WA) bill S.1045, the Save Women’s Preventive Care Act. This bill would protect the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) Women's Preventive Services so that all health plans provide maternity and newborn care, lactation support and clinical preventive coverage. As part of the ACA's Essential Health Benefits, these services align with the Health Resources & Services Administration's, ACOG’s, and the National Academy of Medicine’s clinical guidance for women and children’s health.
- Lamaze signed a letter supporting H.R. 1318, the Preventing Maternal Deaths Act. Representative Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-WA) introduced H.R. 1318 to better track and report maternal mortality causes, as well as eliminate disparities in maternal health outcomes. The bill would require states to establish maternal mortality review committees, which would help expose gaps in care and highlight the role that childbirth education has in improving maternal health outcomes.
- Lamaze responded to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality’s Evidence-based Practice Center's request for literature to support a Systematic Review of Breastfeeding Programs and Policies, Breastfeeding Uptake and Maternal Health Outcomes in Developed Countries.
Advocating for the Diverse Nature of Decision Aids
In an effort to standardize and implement decision aids that facilitate shared and informed healthcare decision making, the National Quality Forum (NQF) is developing a review protocol to assess the effectiveness of existing decision aids. Lamaze International commends the effort to standardize effective models, but cautions that not all effective decision aids are the same size and shape. In October 2016, Lamaze commented on the NQF’s proposal and use the comprehensive evidence-based childbirth education one such example of a decision aid that the proposed criteria would overlook.
Promoting the Role that Childbirth Education has in Perinatal Quality Measures
In July 2016, Lamaze submitted formal comments to the National Quality Forum’s 2015-2016 Perinatal and Reproductive Health Draft Report, which assessed and recommended a series of proposed and established measures from accrediting agencies and other healthcare organizations. Lamaze’s comments specifically addressed measures related to elective deliveries, episiotomies, cesarean births, prenatal and postpartum care, and exclusive breastfeeding.
Advocating for Evidence-Based Childbirth Education in Maternal Care Bundled Payment Models
In May 2016, Lamaze submitted feedback to the Health Care Payment Learning & Action Network’s proposed maternity care bundled payment model. Read more about bundled payments and how they relate to maternity care on Science & Sensibility. Lamaze is pleased to see alternative payment model initiatives related to maternity care recognize the distinct role that childbirth education has in the comprehensive prenatal care model. We will continue to advocate for evidence-based childbirth education as providers, payers, and policymakers turn their focus on improving U.S. maternal and childbirth outcomes.
How You Can Help
Lamaze successfully concluded its inaugural Advocacy Summit in October 2017 with over 90 members visiting Capitol Hill to meet with over 100 Congressional offices. Summit participants received advocacy training prior to arriving in D.C. via an interactive webinar that addressed the different types of advocacy and how individuals can effectively advocate on their own. Attendees also received on-the-ground training from Neel Shah, MD, MPP, who is an Assistant Professor at Harvard Medical School and Director of the Delivery Decisions Initiative at the Ariadne Labs for Health Systems Innovation; Ginger Breedlove, CNM, Ph.D., FACNM, President of March for Moms Association, and Senior Vice President of Clinical Operations, Baby+Co; and the Lamaze Government Relations team.
While meeting with Congressional members and their staffs, attendees provided information about the critical role that evidence-based childbirth education has in improving maternal and childbirth outcomes, as well as the alarming U.S. maternal mortality rates. Summit attendees also asked that members of Congress support the following bills:
- Improving Access to Maternity Care Act (H.R. 315)
- Preventing Maternal Deaths Act (H.R. 1318/S. 1112)
- Save Women’s Preventive Care Act (S. 1045)
The 2017 Lamaze Advocacy Summit was a huge success and we look forward to continuing to strengthen our advocacy arm in 2018 with more advocacy initiatives. Stay tuned and let us know if you have questions about, or ideas for, Lamaze advocacy.
We have developed a series of resources that speak to the current state of U.S. childbirth outcomes and the role that Lamaze and its members have in improving these outcomes. After all, we are educators, and these resources will help you educate your members of Congress, fellow providers and other policymakers in your states and communities about Lamaze International’s mission and the critical role that evidence-based childbirth education has in improving childbirth outcomes.
- 6 Healthy Birth Practices
- A Note from Ginger Breedlove, PhD, CNM, FACNM
- A Note from Neel Shah, MD, MPP
- About Lamaze
- About Lamaze Childbirth Educators
- Advocacy Talking Points
- Lamaze International Childbirth Education Roundtable Report - April 2016
- Maternity Care in United States
- Policy Brief
- Why Does Childbirth Education Matter?
Science & Sensibility Advocacy Posts
- Advocacy: Lamaze International Leaders on Capitol Hill
- From Childbirth Educator to Doula and Back Again: Trends in the History of Birth Advocacy and Education
- Childbirth Educators Have an Important Role in Making Change Says Neel Shah, MD
- Healthcare Reform and Advocating for Essential Women’s Benefits
- Interview with Maria Brooks, Lamaze International President
- Lamaze Advocacy Summit Is a Great Success!
- Lamaze International Advocacy: Hard at Work for You
- Lamaze International Brings Maternal-Child Health Stakeholders Together to Discuss Childbirth Education
- Make Your Voice Heard - Join the Lamaze 2017 Advocacy Summit
- Roundtable Report Announcement
- Roundtable Wrap Up
- Understanding Evidence-Based Healthcare: A Foundation for Action
Together, we can communicate Lamaze’s call to action and implement our strategic plan to improve access to evidence-based childbirth education—and ultimately, childbirth outcomes.