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


Midwives: We are the Change Makers

June 12, 2014

By Lennie Kamwendo Health Services Commissioner, Malawi and former president of the Association...


New Respectful Maternity Care Guide

September 26, 2013

Title: A Guide for Advocating for Respectful Maternity CareAuthor(s): Tamara...


Dignity and Respect in Childbirth

August 1, 2013
RMC image crowded hospital

Imagine walking through a hospital that is overcrowded and understaffed, and the help that you need...


Respectful Care Included in Training

June 12, 2013
Felicity Ukoko & Daughter by

By Felicity Ukoko Queen’s and King George Hospitals’ maternity services is striving to improve...


Midwives Taking Action

July 26, 2012

Preceded by a fantastic opening ceremony with great performances by Vietnamese artists, the recent...

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