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The fundamental meaning of humanization is to develop a more sustainable world and society. Humanization of birth is a process of moving away from a narrow view of birth as a medicalized event to a broader view. Humanized birth recognises the significance of birth to individuals, families and society, and includes care that will enhance the health and wellbeing of the baby, the woman becoming mother, the father or other parent, and the integrity of the family. This promotion of health and well being is concerned with both short and long-term health, and includes positive experience as well as optimal physical outcomes, and supporting a strong relationship between the baby and mother, and with the other parent and family. To develop a policy and practice of humanized maternity care we must draw on several scientific disciplines, including the physiology of birth and relationship formation, epigenetics, and epidemiology, as well as understanding the determinants of health and wellbeing.