Guidelines for Perinatal Care



The health care system should be oriented toward providing family centered care, the underlying assumption of which is that the family is the primary source of support for anyone receiving health care services. Family-centered health care professionals engage parents as caregivers and partners and seek to ensure that every encounter builds on the family's strengths, preserves their dignity, and enhances their confidence and competence. These health care professionals strive to understand each family's priorities and needs, incorporating the family's perspective into an individualized plan of care for each infant. Such an approach offers families real choices and respects the decisions they make for themselves and their children. In family-centered perinatal services, women and their families are involved in all aspects of planning, delivering, and evaluating health care services. This approach creates a climate in which decisions at all levels throughout the perinatal program and hospital are based not only on the expertise and assumptions of health care professionals, but also on the needs, values, and strengths of the newborns and their families.