07 November 2013

five shocking facts about maternal mortality.

Wah waaaah. Welp, from the title of this post, you have quickly realized that this topic is not a super happy one. And it shouldn't be. It's a serious issue in the world and one which I recently studied for some of my training with Maryknoll. It's always easy to avoid a not-so-fun conversation but don't. Not this time at least.

To begin, my amazing partner, Melissa, helped us to pick this topic by voicing her experience with Half the Sky, a documentary centered on women's issues worldwide, one of which is maternal mortality. We started reading up on the topic through various nonprofits' websites, including Every Mother Counts, as well as the UN's Population Fund. Here are just five of the facts we found that knocked me off my feet:

sadly, so true.

1. Every day, almost 800 women die in childbirth or pregnancy. But the real stat is this: Experts believe that 90% of those deaths are completely preventable. Don't even need to happen. This means 262,800 women EVERY YEAR do not need to die. The idea that this could be happening in the year two thousand and thirteen left me completely flabbergasted.

2. Pregnancy is the leading global killer of teenage girls. Why? Because they are becoming pregnant between the ages of 15 and 19, ages far too young to be carrying children themselves. For those that young in developing countries, this puts them at an extreme risk, as they are likely not in an area where they can receive the pre-natal and emergency care they will need.

3. Half the women in the world give birth either alone or with only a friend or relative present. This means absolutely no medical professionals, midwives, or skilled attendant. Completely on their own.

this man know what he is talking about.

4. An estimated 200 million women would like to delay or avoid pregnancy but do not have access to modern contraceptives or family planning.

5. Lastly, you might be thinking, "Okay, I'm an American woman. How does this really affect me, personally?" Well, how about this? Despite the fact that the U.S. spends more per capita on healthcare, we still only rank 50th in terms of maternal health. That means 49 countries have found a way to do it better than our government, for less money.

Although I'm not a mother, I was completely moved while researching this topic. In the United States, when we think of what women "need" in order to have children, we think of endless material goods: diapers, burping cloths, pacifiers, hanging mobiles... The list goes on and on. What do women really need though? They need education and simple, basic skills to learn how to give birth safely and effectively. They need access to a skilled medical professional who has knowledge about family planning and child development. They need all of the things which we, in the Western world, take so much for granted.

be a part of the solution!

Please take a few moments to watch the below video and think of one thing you can do, in honor of all mothers, no matter their country of origin, to get involved. There are so many ideas here as to how you can do just that.

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