This paper recovers the origins of the term "humanization of childbirth", the recognition of birth care as a dehumanizing event, the technical criticism to the organization of care, the emergence of a national and international movement, and the related public policies in Brazil. It explores the relationships between the critique to maternal care and the emergence of Evidence-Based Medicine (EBM). Based on a research about "humanized maternity hospitals" in the Brazilian Public Health System, the paper explores the understanding of "humanization", describing the different (often contradictory) meanings, its possibilities to change the technical culture, the understanding of women’s anatomy and physiology, and gender relations. Those meanings are: the use of EBM, respect for women’s rights (sexual and reproductive, to universal access, to available technology); respectful treatment from providers; pain relief and prevention of iatrogenic pain; the new division and conflicts of responsibilities between doctors and nurses, cost-benefit analysis etc. Instead of finding the "correct humanization", we try to map a dialogue among different actors - a tense and productive one.
Humanization of childbirth; Evidence-Based Care; SUS; Human rights; Sexual and reproductive health and rights; Gender