White Ribbon Alliance

WRA promotes self-care for maternal and newborn health

Self-Care-A Self-Care 2 Self-Care-C


Policy Brief

As a means to meet global maternal, newborn and child health (MNCH) targets, self-care has enormous potential. When promoted throughout the lifecycle and as an essential part of MNCH, self-care empowers women and their families with the knowledge, skills and confidence to proactively maintain healthy pregnancies, prevent complications, protect children’s health, defend their rights and identify emergencies, particularly at the community level. Despite its proven potential, donors, advocates, policy-makers and practitioners often overlook self-care in favor of clinical interventions and disease-specific, top-down approaches to MNCH.
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Executive Summary

Self-Care in health refers to the activities individuals, families and communities undertake with the intention of enhancing health, preventing disease, limiting illness and restoring health. These activities are derived from knowledge and skills from the pool of both professional and lay experience. They are undertaken by lay people on their own behalf, either separately or in participative collaboration with professionals. Download

Campaign Summary

Part of our approach to improve maternal and newborn health is to promote self-care as a vital component of any comprehensive maternal and newborn healthcare strategy. We know that when women are equipped with information and resources, they make the best health decisions for themselves and their families. Self-care supports individuals, families, and communities to improve and restore their own health, prevent disease, and limit illness. Download: English, Spanish

Toolkit Communications Toolkit

The shift to a people-centered approach that prioritizes and supports self-care will not occur without concerted effort from global, national and community-level partners to direct resources, change provider mindsets, develop community organizations and build health literacy. Communicate about self-care with the White Ribbon Alliance Self-Care Communication Toolkit, a shareable PowerPoint slide deck that includes easy-to-understand information and examples of self-care for maternal and newborn health. Download

RMC Respectful Maternity Care

Another key approach to self-care is Respectful Maternity Care (RMC), 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. 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. Learn More

Frequently Asked Questions

Find answers to your most pressing questions on self-care. What is self-care? What are some examples of self-care practices or activities? Why is self-care important now? Why is self-care important in maternal, newborn & child health? Why do we need to call for policy action to support self-care? Is there any measurable evidence to make the case for self-care? Download

SRHR_WRA Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights: Resource Section

Governments around the world have made commitments to protect the sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) of young women and adolescent girls. However, a lack of citizen-led accountability is resulting in violations of these rights, and gaps still remain in realizing governments’ commitments. We believe that when citizens are equipped and women and girls are empowered with the knowledge and skills to effectively advocate and promote accountability for SRHR on national and global levels, positive change happens. Visit Page