Give Birth or Give Your Life?

Maternal mortality rates. How horrifyingly ironic.

In Sierra Leone, more than 1,033 women die for every 100,000 live births. In places like India, many little girls are forced to marry older men and then abused or forced to have children (more specifically, pressured to have boys) far before it is healthy for them to have another baby, or to have one at all. And in multiple areas of the world, it is considered taboo to have a baby in the hospital with proper medical care, rather than at home without any help at all.

It is ironic that, “while universally recognized as a milestone of womanhood, pregnancy and childbirth remain among the leading causes of death of women worldwide; every day, one woman per minute dies while giving birth or soon after. An additional 10 million to 15 million women suffer complications or injuries resulting from the act of giving life.”

The poor situations of millions of women and children everywhere prompted the Gates Foundation to give 1.5 billion dollars towards improving women and children’s health worldwide. The UN is in on it, as well. It’s all I can do not to go up to Ban Ki-Moon and thank him personally for making women’s health such a priority.

The solution is so simple that it’s pathetic. Education. All they need is to wait a few more years before giving birth. Or to know the benefits of medical care while giving birth. Or how and when to use birth control. Or to avoid being married off to a man who will not abuse them or pressure them to have more children so that they can have a son.

I realize that it is not that simple. But just working within these oppressive cultures can yield some positive results. We don’t have to change EVERYTHING, but we should be able to dramatically impact the suffering and death women around the world face while giving birth to new lives.

Read more about this issue here:

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One response to “Give Birth or Give Your Life?

  1. It’s absolutely disgusting what those women are being put through. No woman (or child in some of those cases) should have to endure something that horrendous.

    While our numbers aren’t nearly as bad as India, the US’s numbers for infant mortality rates and women dying in labor is REALLY sad. Health experts say it’s due to the increasing numbers of csections: over 31% when health experts say it should be 5-10%. We have too many unneccessary interventions in our system, instead of allowing a perfectly healthy woman to just do what her body was made to do. The environment that a woman labors in, the attitude of the people around her, the way she’s spoken to and treated, whether or not she feels safe are ALL contributing factors to whether or not she’s going to have a safe and healthy delivery. In a country where women are raped, kidnapped beaten and basically treated like dirt, you can hardly expect them to treat women like the goddesses they are when they’re in labor. But I do agree with you on the fact that the key is education.

    Educating women that their body is not broken and that they can trust the process. Teaching them effective pain coping techniques, showing them fact based information instead of fear based information, letting them walk around while in labor, getting them off their backs while pushing (and in the most ideal positions like squatting, on all 4’s, birthing stool, waterbirth pools etc), and letting them eat and drink in labor, are just a few of the things that make a huge difference in the rate of interventions which lead to csections. It would also change our rates dramatically if insurance companies wre made to pay for doulas! Studies have shown that having a doula present signifigantly reduces the chance of csection. If a woman is fearful of the pain she’s more likely to want to get it over with, instead of enjoying the process for what it is.

    An amazing, spiritual, empowering experience that forever connects them with their child in a way that no intervention based, doctor led birth can.

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