About Us

The ImprovingBirth Network is a culmination of two decades of consumer advocacy and collaboration amongst three organizations.

In 2017 ImprovingBirth merged with the consumer advocacy chapter organization BirthNetwork National and with the Coalition for Improved Maternity Services to create the largest maternal health consumer group in the U.S. 

The History of the Coalition for Improving Maternity Services (CIMS)

CIMS originally began as a coalition of individuals and national organizations with a mutual concern for the care and well-being of mothers, babies, and families. CIMS’ mission was to work with the birth and breastfeeding community and our members by encouraging and promoting evidence-based, Mother-and-Baby-Friendly maternity care, as outlined in the Mother-Friendly Childbirth Initiative (MFCI), the first and only consensus document on U.S. maternity care.

The evidence-based Mother-Friendly Childbirth Initiative (MFCI) evolved from the collaborative effort of many individuals and more than 26 organizations focused on pregnancy, birth and breastfeeding during meetings spanning nearly three years in the 1990's. The MFCI is recognized as an important instrument for change both in this country and abroad.

The History of BirthNetwork National (BNN)

BirthNetwork National began in October 1999 when five mothers began brainstorming how to improve maternity care in their local community. They formed a non-profit organization for anyone seeking information, resources and support for healthy, respectful maternity care. Soon after, they discovered the Mother-Friendly Childbirth Initiative (MFCI), which was created by the Coalition for Improving Maternity Services (CIMS), and realized that it was the evidence "backbone" to support the intuition behind their mission. BirthNetwork National evolved from one chapter in Southeast Michigan into a national organization with many chapters across the country.

Together, we are laying the groundwork to become a powerful, change-making national organization. The new direction for the organization will focus on training birth advocates to engage deeply with the families, providers and hospitals in their areas, through a Community Advocate Training Program. We will bring the principles of the MFCI to life by creating a nationwide Mother-Friendly Provider and Hospital Accreditation program, making this distinction meaningful and sought-after.

ImprovingBirth and the ImprovingBirth Network will continue to shed light on pressing issues like evidence-based care, obstetric violence, informed consent, access to midwifery care, access to vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC), and racial and economic disparities, while helping local communities make the changes that best work for their own populations.”