Chapter 1 Fact sheet: Principles of family-centred maternity and newborn care

Family-centred maternity and newborn care (FCMNC) is a complex, multidimensional, dynamic process of providing safe, skilled and individualized care. It responds to the physical, emotional, psychosocial and spiritual needs of the woman, the newborn and the family. FCMNC considers pregnancy and birth to be normal, healthy life events and recognizes the significance of family support, participation and informed choice. The Public Health Agency of Canada along with maternal and newborn health experts developed the following evidence based guiding principles for FCMNC in Canada:

  1. A family-centred approach to maternal and newborn care is optimal
  2. Pregnancy and birth are normal, healthy processes
  3. Early parent–infant attachment is critical for newborn and child development and the growth of healthy families
  4. Family-centred maternal and newborn care applies to all care environments
  5. Family-centred maternal and newborn care is informed by research evidence
  6. Family-centred maternal and newborn care requires a holistic approach
  7. Family-centred maternal and newborn care involves collaboration among care providers
  8. Culturally-appropriate care is important in a multicultural society
  9. Indigenous peoples have distinctive needs during pregnancy and birth
  10. Care as close to home as possible is ideal
  11. Individualized maternal and newborn care is recommended
  12. Women and their families require knowledge about their care
  13. Women and their families play an integral role in decision making
  14. The attitudes and language of health care providers have an impact on a family’s experience of maternal and newborn care
  15. Family-centred maternal and newborn care respects reproductive rights
  16. Family-centred maternal and newborn care functions within a system that requires ongoing evaluation
  17. Family-centred maternal and newborn care best practices from global settings may offer valuable options for Canadian consideration

For references consult Chapter 1: Family-Centred Maternity and Newborn Care in Canada: Underlying Philosophy and Principles in: Public Health Agency of Canada. Family-Centred Maternity and Newborn Care: National Guidelines. Ottawa (ON): PHAC; 2017.

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