Family-Centered Obstetrics: An Evaluation

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IN 1956, the new section of obstetrics at the Cleveland Clinic afforded an opportunity to initiate a plan of obstetric care which incorporated certain features of other programs, as well as several innovations not previously reported. Complete obstetric care, we believe, includes not only the skill and equipment necessary to insure the safety of mother and child, but also the psychologic support necessary to make childbirth a satisfying emotional experience. Since all pregnant women do not require identical care, we maintain flexibility in our approach, and adapt our program to fit the individual woman, rather than have all women adhere rigidly to a standard program. Our belief that husbands should be considered full partners with their wives throughout the birth experience gives rise to the name family-centered obstetrics.

The Program

The three principles upon which our program is based are: prenatal education of both parents, participation of the husband, and permissive policies.

Prenatal education. The soundness of the principle of prenatal parent education is well established. It is recognized throughout the United States as a most important part of prenatal care.1–4 Classes are conducted for groups of pregnant women and their husbands in which we offer seven lectures that cover the following general topics: (1) Anatomy and physiology of pregnancy, (2) Growth and development of the fetus, (3) Physical and emotional changes of pregnancy, (4) Proper diet and exercise, (5) Labor and delivery, (6) Newborn baby and layette, (7) Postpartum period. Husbands are invited to attend all the lectures . . .



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