Family-centered maternity care is ICEA’s primary goal and the basis of ICEA philosophy. In 1986 ICEA adopted the McMaster University definition of FCMC:
Philosophy: The birth of a child represents the birth of a family. The person giving birth and the persons significant and close to them are forming a new relationship, with new responsibilities to each other, to the baby, and to society as a whole. Family-centered reproductive care may be defined as care which recognizes the importance of these new relationships and responsibilities, and which has as its goal the best possible health outcome for all members of the family, both as individuals and as a group.
Family-centered care consists of an attitude rather than a protocol. It recognizes a vital life event rather than a medical procedure. It appreciates the importance of that event to the person and to the persons who are important to them. It respects the person’s individuality and their sense of autonomy. It realizes that the decisions they may make are based on many influences of which the expertise of the professional is only one. It requires that all relevant information be made available to the individual to help them achieve their own goals, and that they be guided but not directed by professionals they have chosen to share the responsibility for their care.
Practice: The practice of family-centered maternity care is founded on this philosophy and encompasses birth practitioners, birth places, and maternity-newborn care, as determined by the needs and decisions of each individual and their family.