Consumer Advocate Definition

The Home Birth Summit (HBS) Consumer Engagement Group has developed the following criteria to define, identify, and train consumer advocates to engage and work with maternity care policy makers in decision making processes that impact maternal child health and wellbeing.

For our collective group and for all ongoing purposes:

A consumer advocate, as defined by this group, is an individual who stands for the rights of mothers and families and ensures that their voices are heard and their interests are represented when maternity care and planned home birth policies, protocols and practices are being discussed and decided.

A HBS Consumer Advocate:

  • is committed to improving maternity care for all women and families in all birth settings;
  • is well versed and current on issues, research and trends that are relevant to maternity care consumers;
  • supports a woman’s right to choose to birth in a home setting with the attendant of her choice and is in no way aligned with entities that oppose planned home birth;
  • is able to represent the needs of women and families across diverse racial and socio-economic groups;
  • is able to effectively articulate and communicate the needs and interests of maternity care consumers in both small and large group settings;
  • is able to work collaboratively and respectfully with other maternity care stakeholders including providers and policy makers;
  • will confirm in writing that no conflict of interest exists that might in any way compromise their ability to represent the needs of consumers; and
  • for our purposes, a consumer advocate is NOT a maternity care practitioner, nor are they engaged in hospital administration, the pharmaceutical, medical device or insurance industry or medical-legal practice.

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