The International Childbirth Education Association (ICEA) is a professional organization that supports educators and health care professionals who believe in freedom to make decisions based on knowledge of alternatives in family-centered maternity and newborn care.
ICEA is a nonprofit organization. Since its formation in 1960, ICEA certified professionals have remained autonomous, establishing their own policies and creating their own programs. There are no certification requirements for individuals other than a commitment to family-centered maternity care and the philosophy of freedom to make decisions based on knowledge of alternatives in childbirth.
A nurtured world through professionals trained in family-centered maternity and newborn care.
To educate, certify, and support the birth professional who believes in freedom to make decisions based on knowledge of alternatives in family centered maternity and newborn care.
COMPASSION: We believe approaching maternity care with compassion and a nurturing spirit improves birth outcomes for all families.
COLLABORATION: We practice a culture of collaboration based on the knowledge that mindful engagement with diverse groups advances positive, family-centered maternity care.
CHOICE: We support freedom of choice by training professionals committed to empowering expectant families through informed decision making.
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.
- Provide quality education emphasizing compassion, collaboration, and choice.
- Set the standards for the diversified birth professional.
- Advance ICEA as a leader in the field of maternal child health.
- Promote evidence-based options in maternal child health through collaboration and networking.
- Improve birth outcomes for all families in the international community.
To see a full list of our position papers, click here.