Category Archives: MaternalMonday

Europe Is Tackling Its Own Maternal Health Issues. Here’s Why. #MakeMotherhoodCount

We know that women in low-and-middle income countries are especially prone to maternal mortality. Those of us of who write about maternal health and keep up with worldwide maternal health, mortality, and morbidity statistics understand that in the world’s poorest countries we find the worst outcomes for both mothers and their infants. In recent years, we have also discovered that maternal health rates in the United States are far higher than acceptable. In fact, the United States has the highest maternal mortality rate than any other developed country in the world. The countries that have the lowest maternal mortality rates are European. But that can be misleading as well.

Safe Motherhood Week , that is recognized each year between October 2 – 8, is the first coalition of partners of its kind to focus on maternal health in Europe. Some statistics will surprise you. Did you know five European women die every day from maternal health complications and in 2013, 1900 European women died from maternal health complications. Additionally, 1 in 10 women in Europe does not have access to maternal health care in the first few months of their pregnancies.

As a mother of two, I did not have optimal experiences either time I was pregnant. Each of my pregnancies was different, but the feeling I had with both of them was identical. I never felt like my physicians really cared about my pregnancies or deliveries, but that I was just a number to them. I have always chalked it up to being relatively young. I was in my mid-twenties. Even still, I believe to this day that I should have been treated with more dignity and respect. Even in two different states, I was treated the same way – with relative indifference. Even though my oldest daughter is 19, I’m still bitter about it.

I know I am not alone.

Continue reading Europe Is Tackling Its Own Maternal Health Issues. Here’s Why. #MakeMotherhoodCount

7 Organizations and Birth Centers That Save Black Mothers’ Lives #MaternalHealth

Today as we celebrate and commemorate Martin Luther King Jr. Day, here are seven organizations and birth centers that are helping save the lives of black women during pregnancy, childbirth and after childbirth.

All maternal mortality and morbidity data in the United States report the same thing: black women die in disproportionately high numbers when compared to non-Hispanic white women. In fact, black women are four times more likely to die during or after childbirth than white women. One of the biggest statistics is black women — no matter socioeconomic status, education, lifestyle and access to health care — still die in larger numbers from maternal health complications.

The United States is the only developed country where the maternal mortality rate is increasing. Black women bear the largest brunt of this increase as they succumb to maternal health complications in the largest numbers.  National organizations and regional birth centers have emerged to save more black mothers’ lives, especially in a climate where the most money is spent on health care than any other country in the world and more and more black women are dying.

Support and follow these organizations and birth centers that are supporting reporting social and reproductive health.

Ancient Song Doula Services (www.ancientsongdoulaservices.com): Full Spectrum evidence – based doula care organization focused on the doula as preventative care in underserved communities.

Black Mamas Matter (www.blackmamasmatter.org):  Advancing the human right to safe and respectful maternal health care.

Black Women Health Imperative (http://www.bwhi.org):  We are Black Women’s Health Imperative – the only national nonprofit dedicated to the physical, emotional & financial health & wellness of Black women & girls.

Black Women Justice Mission (blackwomenjusticemission.com): A collective of African-American, African, Caribbean and multi-racial women committed to transforming the birthing experiences for Black women.

Commonsense Childbirth (www.commonsensechildbirth.org): Jennie Joseph and Commonsense Childbirth Inc. is building a network of support to transform maternity care in the US. Be a part of the movement for change!

National Birth Equity Collaborative (birthequity.org): NBEC aims to reduce Black maternal and infant mortality through research, family centered collaboration, and advocacy.

SisterSong (sistersong.net): Southern Based – National Women of Color Reproductive Justice Collective

Notable Articles and Health Series on Black Maternal Health 

Art provided by uzuriart.com.

The Troubling Truth About Maternal Mortality in the United States

When everyday Americans think about women dying during childbirth it is probable that their initial thoughts travel directly to Africa where it is quite well known that maternal mortality is rife. Chances are their thoughts never focus on the deaths and near deaths during childbirth that women experience right here in the United States. After all, the overwhelming consensus is that the United States has the best medical care, superior health workers and health system in the world despite some of its inherent challenges. This thinking renders maternal mortality in the US thoroughly inconceivable to many even while data reveal it should not be inconceivable at all. In fact, maternal mortality is on the rise in America having doubled over the past 25 years all while global maternal deaths are steadily declining. Globally, maternal mortality was effectively reduced by 44 percent according to the World Health Organization.

The United States, while not the overall leader in maternal mortality among all countries, it is the leader among all developed nations. The United States ranked number 33 out of 179 countries in Save the Children’s 2015 Mothers’ Index Ranking and 46th in the world due to the rate of women who die from pregnancy and childbirth complications. Compared to other developed countries, the United States’ ranking is abysmal, especially with Norway, Finland, and Iceland ranking in the top three overall. Even countries like Estonia and Belarus, whose GDPs are considerably lower than ours, far outrank America.

Continue reading The Troubling Truth About Maternal Mortality in the United States

Better Maternal Care in Africa Can Save Women from Suffering in Childbirth

Kareemah Gamieldien, Cape Peninsula University of Technology

Every year just over 500,000 women die from complications in pregnancy and childbirth across the world. Another 20 million experience severe complications. But many of these complications are entirely avoidable – including obstructed and protracted labour and one of its side-effects, obstetric fistula.

An obstetric fistula is a hole in the birth canal between the vagina and the rectum or between the vagina and the bladder that is largely caused by obstructed and prolonged labour. This can occur when the mother’s pelvis is too small or the baby is too large.

In sub-Saharan Africa for every 100,000 deliveries there are about 124 women who suffer an obstetric fistula in a rural area. Obstetric fistulas predominantly happen when women do not have access to quality emergency obstetric-care services. Antenatal care could help to identify potential problems early but will not have an impact if there is no skilled surgeon to assist with the labour.

Continue reading Better Maternal Care in Africa Can Save Women from Suffering in Childbirth