Around the world, labor and delivery carry significant risks, and far too many mothers and newborns die from preventable causes. Childbirth represents a critical moment to optimize the health of women and infants. Ariadne Labs is working at the frontline of care to design, implement and spread innovative interventions that make childbirth safe for every woman and newborn.


The Ariadne Labs BetterBirth Program is an innovative facility-level intervention designed to optimize the successful implementation of the WHO Safe Childbirth Checklist and address the harms caused to women and babies by under- or ill-timed treatment. Our model underscores the importance of working directly with birth attendants at the frontline to create sustained improvement in the quality of care. The approach combines key strategies to engage stakeholders, launch the WHO Safe Childbirth Checklist, and support the Checklist through coaching and performance feedback.

Delivery Decisions Initiative

Often overlooked in maternal health are the significant risks of overtreatment in childbirth. Around the globe, rates of medically unnecessary cesarean deliveries are skyrocketing. In the United States, approximately half of C-sections appear to be unnecessary and come at a cost of $5 billion in excess spending, 20,000 major avoidable surgical complications, and related suffering. The opportunity for improvement is evident in the tremendous variation in C-section rates that are observed both between and within countries, often within regions and between hospitals. Our childbirth team uses novel approaches to examine these issues and discover ways to ensure every woman receives appropriate and safe care during childbirth. We are starting in the United States by exploring why the facility a woman chooses to deliver her baby may be her biggest risk factor for getting an unplanned C-section. In one study we are analyzing how the architecture and design of labor floors may drive management decisions about care. In another study, fifty hospitals nationwide are collaborating with Ariadne Labs to inform the development of new management strategies that can safely reduce avoidable C-sections. We are working with computer scientists at MIT, using machine learning to understand how labor and delivery nurses make management and care decisions. We are also leading a project to provide pregnant women with access to better information about the quality of care provided by doctors and facilities.