Sharing the Wealth – Thoughts on Global Sustainability in Maternity Care

Maternal mortality is mainly a tragedy of the “third world”. There are half a million deaths world-wide due to cause’s related to pregnancy and birth and [approximately] 99% of them occur in undeveloped countries. (Omran, 91) In saying this, it is not denying the fact that over-medicalized births can be a tragedy of the “developed world” or that maternal and infant death sadly happens in every country, it is just not the focus of this particular post. Instead the focus here is that in developing countries many women and babies are dieing from complications which could be avoided with adequate maternity & birth care. Arguably, in order to improve the maternity care for women in the under-developed parts of the world as well as lower the mortality rate among these women, a redistribution of the global wealth as well as equitable resource allocation based on the individual needs of particular communities is required. Furthermore, issues of race and class as well as patriarchy need to be addressed in order to solve the inequality experienced by women globally. Continue reading

Folic Acid

Folic acid is important for women who are pregnant or thinking about getting pregnant. It boosts production of red blood cells, so is essential for fetal development. It also helps prevent neural-tube defects. Join Obstetrician/Gynecologist Siobhan Dolan as she takes us through a local farmer’s market in her community to inform us which foods are rich in folic acid.

“The good news is that folic acid can help prevent neural tube defects. But it only works if taken before getting pregnant and during the first few weeks of pregnancy, often before you even know you’re pregnant.” (March of Dimes Foundation)

Doula Supported Pregnancy&Birth

Having support during one of the most momentous times in your life is vitally important. This support often comes in varying forms, including but not limited to family, friends and health care workers. Women often feel they need the loving, hands-on support of someone who has experience dealing with birth, breast feeding and the postpartum period. Fortunately, professionals who take a more personal support role are available.“In my mother’s generation, women hired a baby nurse to come and help in the first few days and weeks following birth. Today more parents in my practice work with doulas who are trained to support a mother during labour and first days and weeks following. Doula is a Greek word that refers to the main female servant in a household. Research shows that women who labour with a doula at their side have lower rates of cesarean sections and forceps deliveries, fewer requests for epidurals, and shorter labours.” (Feder, 41)Doulas are trained professionals in the birth process and in the postpartum period. They do not actually birth babies (midwives and obstetrician usually do), their support, however, is often priceless to a birthing woman and her family. Many women opt for a doula when they do not have a midwife since they can act as a positive advocate for a more natural birthing process during a hospital birth.

Birth Positions

There are many different positions that women can choose to give birth in. There are kneeling births, standing births, side-lying births, semi-sitting births and more. Some women give birth on a birthing stool, a classic tool of the midwife. There are documents about some early Aboriginal cultures giving birth standing while using a tree for support.

“In the child development classes that I teach, I often ask my students to tell me in what position women have traditionally given birth. Lying down, they say. No, I tell them: squatting. Invariably, I get confused looks. The problem lies in the word traditionally. My class defines it as what most women in the United States have done in the last fifty years or so. I define it as what most women on this earth have done for millennia.” (Sharon Heller)

Midwives tell us that the position when labouring can drastically effect birth. Positions such as lying down are now understood to slow down labour. Position that help the pelvis to open are the best for mom and baby. Check out the video below for some useful tips on birthing positions.