White Ribbon Alliance

Respectful Maternity Care

Respectful maternity care (RMC) is a universal human right that is due to every childbearing woman in every health system. Women’s experiences with maternity caregivers can empower and comfort them, or inflict lasting damage and emotional trauma. While many interventions aim to improve access to skilled birth care, the quality of relationships with caregivers during maternity care has received less attention. Evidence suggests that in countries with high maternal mortality, the fear of disrespect and abuse that women often encounter in facility-based maternity care is a more powerful deterrent to use of skilled care than commonly recognized barriers such as cost or distance.

RMCIn 2011, WRA launched a global campaign to promote a clear standard for RMC that is rooted in international human rights. Working with other global organizations, WRA produced a ground breaking consensus document, the Respectful Maternity Care Charter: the Universal Rights of Childbearing Women, which demonstrates the legitimate place of maternal health rights in the broader context of human rights. In 2015, White Ribbon Alliance continues to build visibility and coverage of this issue, and envisions a world in which a woman’s right to RMC is embedded at all levels of maternal health systems.

RMCSince its development, the RMC Charter has been translated into eight languages and is being used globally to talk about the problem of disrespect and abuse during maternity care. It is also being used as a tool to educate health workers about maternity care and human rights, and to raise awareness of the problem in a way that avoids blaming and shaming. To support this effort, WRA produced a range of materials that include guidebooks, infographics, films, and presentations to help increase visibility of this issue. Once the Charter gained momentum, it was endorsed by the World Health Organization, the International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics, and the International Confederation of Midwives.

To read more about our work and campaigns on Respectful Maternity Care, please download this impact brief.


Office of the High Commissioner Report

RMC Wiki Database

Policy Brief: Pulling Back the Curtain on D&A – English

Policy Brief: Pulling Back the Curtain on D&A – French

Health Workers’ Training Guide

5 Approaches to RMC


Guide for Advocating for Respectful Maternity Care 

Universal Rights of Childbearing Women Charter: Arabic, French, Spanish

Respectful Maternity Care Poster: Arabic, Croatian, French, Hindi, Italian, Spanish

Respectful Maternity Care BrochureArabic, French, Spanish

Mother-baby Friendly Birthing Facilities – FIGO Guidelines


Respectful Maternity Care Can Lead to Successful Breastfeeding: A Win for Mother and Baby

August 3, 2016
White Ribbon Alliance Malawi, 2016

By Elena Ateva, Maternal and Newborn Health Policy and Advocacy Advisor, White Ribbon Alliance ...


Mistreatment has a solution

July 23, 2015
Screen Shot 2015-07-10 at 10.56.00 AM

By Lilia Carasciuc, Communication and Outreach Manager, White Ribbon Alliance Global Secretariat ...


The Right to Survive Pregnancy and Childbirth

September 26, 2014

by Melissa Upreti, Center for Reproductive Rights For many women, pregnancy is a joyous occasion,...


From Rights-Based Advocacy to Maternal Health Outcomes

September 26, 2014

By Georgia Taylor, Health Partners International The health system is responsible for poor...


Free Women from Disrespect and Abuse: Promote Respectful Maternity Care

September 26, 2014

By Christina Rawdon, National Coordinator, White Ribbon Alliance Zimbabwe How great it would be...


Expand RMC to address disrespect and abuse beyond childbirth

September 26, 2014

By Dr. Philippa Momah, White Ribbon Alliance Nigeria Board of Directors Expanding the reach of...


Every Woman Deserves Respectful Maternity Care During and After Childbirth

September 26, 2014

By Susan Moffson, MCHIP Senior Program Officer At a training center in Tanzania, Jhpiego’s...


Empowering Pregnant Women for Positive Birth Experiences: Addressing RMC in the United Kingdom

September 26, 2014
flickr ©Mark Biddle

Milli Hill is a freelance writer and the founder of The Positive Birth Movement. Her weekly column...


Delivering Joy: Midwives are the Key to a Future with Healthy Mothers and Babies

June 18, 2014

by Her Royal Highness Princess Sarah Zeid of Jordan I had no choice but to become an advocate...

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