AMBAR: A midwifery-led training program to improve obstetric and neonatal practices among low-risk births in Mexico

Birth. 2022 Dec 18. doi: 10.1111/birt.12699. Online ahead of print.


Background: Birth care in Mexican health institutions is highly medicalized and of poor quality because of the prevalence of outdated and dangerous practices. AMBAR-a training program for health care providers on the use of evidence-based midwifery practices-was implemented during 2016-2018 and evaluated to assess the impact of training on key practices.

Methods: For this mixed-methods study, we evaluated the effects of a training program implemented in three public hospital networks in Mexico. Qualitative data were collected and integrated into the program before evaluating the effects of the intervention on 10 birth practices, 5 beneficial and 5 potentially harmful. Quantitative data on birth practices and covariates were collected at six time points (baseline and 5 follow-ups) in a final sample of 330 direct observations. Effect estimates were obtained by longitudinal logistic and Poisson regression models, adjusted for confounding variables.

Results: AMBAR had a significant effect on 4 of the 10 birth practices that were evaluated. Beneficial practices, such as skin-to-skin contact (P = 0.003) and delayed cord clamping (P = 0.039), increased significantly. Harmful when overused birth practices, such as vaginal examinations (P = 0.001), and cesarean birth (P < 0.001) decreased significantly.

Conclusions: Midwifery-based training programs for health care providers can have an impact on the quality of care of birthing people and newborns, increasing the use of evidence-based practices and decreasing frequently overused practices.

Keywords: Mexico; birth; midwifery; quality of care; training.