ACTT for Safe Motherhood

Ask questions until you understand the answers – you have the right to learn all there is to know about your pregnancy. You have the right to make educated decisions based on what you prefer for you and your family.

Claim your space – you have the right to say “No decision about me without me.” Make your wishes known.

Trust your body – you will know if something’s not right.

Tell your story – you have the right to make your voice heard. Tell your support team & your provider if you don’t feel well or if you feel unsafe. You are entitled to dignified care and to speak up if you are disrespected, dismissed or mistreated.

Learn What you can Do

It is your right to have healthcare that protects and serves you and your family. Ask questions, Claim your space, Trust your body, and Tell your story to take control of your health and well-being. The videos below dramatize Moms and their families ACTTing.

If you ACTT and you still do not feel safe and respected by your provider, you do have options.

  • Bring a support person with you, speak to the doctor in charge, and make sure the conversation is documented in your chart.
  • Speak to the supervisor of the clinic or office. In the hospital speak to the Patient Representative, or the head of Patient Safety and Quality Care, or the head of Obstetrics.
  • Find a new provider or get a second opinion (depends on the urgency of the situation, your insurance, and availability of providers).

Remember: It is your Right to have Healthcare that Protects and Serves You and Your Family.

Being Informed & Involved
Gets Better Results!

  • I have some questions and concerns. I’d like you to answer them.
  • I want to be informed and involved in any decisions that are made about me and my baby.
  • I’m worried about the high risk of complications for Black Moms. What can we do to lower my risk?
  • How can we work together to keep me and my baby safe and healthy?
  • Is my pregnancy considered low risk or high risk? Please explain why?

When the Answers are
Rushed or Unclear

  • I don’t understand your answer/explanation. Can you say it more slowly? or Can you explain it simply?
  • I know you are pressed for time, but my health is important to me.
  • Please take a few minutes more to discuss this with me.
  • If you don’t have time now, how will I get the answers I need to put my mind at ease?
  • I don’t feel safe because I feel like you’re not listening to me.
  • I want to speak to the person in charge of Patient Safety and Quality here.
  • No decisions about me without me!
  • If you experience disrespect or feel dismissed, and the provider is not apologetic or concerned when you call it to their attention, finding another provider may be the best the option.

Find Out More about Your

  • Do you support Normal or Physiologic Birth?
  • I want to allow my body to labor and give birth under my own power to avoid c-section and other medical procedures. Do you support that plan?
  • What percent of your deliveries are cesarean sections?
  • Can I have more than one person support me during my birth?
  • I have a Doula to help me with my birth. Do you welcome Doula support?

Learn about the Hospital or
Birthing Center

  • I would like to learn about the hospital where I will give birth – in terms of patient care, respect, and safety.
  • How are they working to improve maternity care?
  • How are they addressing racism and bias?
  • How can I find out the hospital’s c-section rate and infection rate?
  • I had a c-section – can I try for a vaginal delivery this time?
  • Is the hospital Baby Friendly and Breast Feeding Friendly?
  • Are there Birthing Rooms for laboring, birth and recovery?
  • When can I take a tour of the Birthing Center or Hospital?

Bring a Trusted Advocate
With You

  • If possible select an advocate you trust – a friend or relative who will keep your health information confidential and not impose their opinions on your decisions.
  • Choose someone who is a good communicator.
  • Your advocate can help research health information, keep track of your progress, and support you in communicating with providers and staff.
  • If you are not well or in pain, or if you feel stressed or intimidated, your advocate’s support in communicating can help prevent complications or errors in your care.


Right to Safe Care & Respect

It’s your right to ask questions and get the answers and information you need to make your own health choices.

Ask your questions and see if the midwife or doctor responds with care and respect. Do they listen to you?

Repeat back any information or instructions – to be sure you understand.

You have a legal right to informed consent before any test, treatment or procedure.

Claiming Space

You have the right to a clear explanation before anything is done to your body, and to refuse or accept any test, treatment or procedure.

Learn as much as you can about giving birth so that you can state what You want for your body, your pregnancy and birth.

You deserve respectful, personalized care. Tell the provider or find another provider if you are treated with disrespect.

Check Out Maternity Care Services

AVOID facilities and providers with high C-section rates and complication rates.

Ask the hospitals and local and state departments of health for statistics on maternity services.

Check out the credentials and reputations of providers and hospitals.

Seek out Black providers or non-Black providers who offer culturally responsive and person centered care with dignity.

Bring Someone with You!

Bring someone you trust -your advocate- to prenatal & postpartum visits & the birth.

Your advocate helps make sure you are heard, and that you understand instructions or information about tests, treatments or procedures.

Your advocate can ask staff and providers to introduce themselves and wash hands before they touch you.

Trust Your Body

If you don’t feel right tell your partner, family or other support person, AND your provider. It could be the first sign of a problem.

After the birth get help right away for:

  • heavy bleeding
  • headache
  • chest pain
  • difficult breathing
  • fever over 100.4 F
  • seizures
  • pain or swelling in a leg
  • thoughts of hurting yourself or the baby

Support is Healing, Stress is Harmful

Supportive prenatal care has been shown to improve birth outcomes, reduce premature births and increase breastfeeding.

The care of midwives and support of doulas both improve birth experiences and reduce medical interventions and c-sections.

Black doulas, midwives, and doctors are more likely to be culturally sensitive to the concerns of Black Moms.