Childbirth Connection is celebrating our 95th birthday this year by featuring one decade of our work each month on the TMC Blog. This month we will feature our first decade – 1918-1927.
Childbirth Connection was founded in New York City as the Maternity Center Association (MCA) in 1918 to implement recommendations from a report on the poor health of women and infants around the time of birth. At the time there were no standards for maternity care, many women lacked access, and infant and maternal mortality rates were high.
By 1920, MCA had established 30 centers and substations throughout the city to ensure universal access to prenatal care and to teach the community about the value of such care. The nurses at the centers helped select the women needing hospital care and refer them to hospitals, and helped the women planning to give birth at home to make arrangements for adequate care. To coordinate this work, MCA created a standard record and a central clearinghouse for all maternity records “to prevent duplication in the maternity work throughout the bureau and to assign to the various agencies those patients reported to the clearing house as in need of prenatal supervision.”