Wednesday, June 22, 2011

State of the World's Mothers Report 2011

Greetings to all of you birth advocates! It is already summer and I finally find myself able to relax and enjoy my family and time once again!
I just came across the State of the World's Mothers Report published by Save The Children. It is full of interesting and surprising facts that continue to boggle my mind in this day and age. The 12th annual Mothers' Index analyzes health, education and economic conditions for women and children in 164 countries. Norway ranks #1 this year and Afghan ranks last. The United States comes in at #31, with the highest maternal mortality rate in the industrialized nations! This means that one in every 2,100 women will die due to childbirth complications. Wow! What does this say about our ultra clean, ultra safe hospitals and high tech baby nurseries? We seem to be getting it all wrong. Norway ranks #1 because of their education of women, lower birth rate, generous maternity leave policies and lowest maternal and child mortality rates.
In "Childbirth Without Fear" by Grantly Dick-Read, one of the most influential and powerful books in the past 100 years, it states that 90% of the fear, tension and complications of pregnancy and childbirth can be eliminated with education of the mother. If the mom is curious, aware and understands the process of childbirth she will help her body's natural processes and not stand in the way to hinder it. The more educated women are the more they seem to aid their birth with knowledge and understanding, not fear.
Most women in the United States have a "take care of me" mentality. They don't want to know what will happen to them during the birth process and they think their care provider will take care of them and safely deliver them through it. There is no personal responsibility put on them by their doctor to become educated about birth or meet them half way with understanding and an acceptance of the process. This attitude and behavior invites the tension-fear cycle which leads to complications and interventions that snow ball and lead to bad outcomes and high mortality rates.
This report is very interesting and eye opening and continues to point to the downfalls in our hospitalized birthing practices. The sacredness has been taken out of birth and institutionalized. The power of the process has been taken from the birthing mom and given to the doctors and nurses instead. We are continuing down a path that is unsafe and ignorant.
As natural childbirth advocates we must educate each other and choose more wisely. We must be the leaders of change in our mass media culture. Birth is sacred. It is inherently safe. Only when we alter the natural path of birth do we find that one in every 2,100 women will have to die for our ignorance.
One of my most favorite quotes is by Harriette Harttigan who said, "Birth is as safe as life gets." Women are designed to give birth without complication and coercion from an outside source. When we forget the power and sanctity of birth we fall to #31 on the maternal safety rankings.
Here's the link so you can check it out for yourself;

1 comment:

Stephanie Williams said...

Thanks so much for posting this link! These facts are startling... and heartbreaking.
Keep writing!