Wednesday, November 24, 2004

We Are (not) the World

Anyone who does google birth searches like I do has to notice the impressive amount of international news on midwives, doulas, concern over Cesarean births, etc. It is a pleasant reminder that Birth as An American Rite of Passage is not a global norm.

Currently there is a lot brewing in Australia about midwives: a looming midwife shortage and government provision of indemnity insurance.

A recent report from the Welsh government is pleased at the rise in home births. “The Welsh Assembly Government has said it would like to see 10% of all straightforward births in Wales taking place at home.” Zoinks.

In developing countries, as you might expect, things aren’t so perky. Many poor countries are experiencing a shortage of skilled health care providers, including obstetricians and midwives.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared maternal and child health the topic of its 2005 World Health Day. As part of its efforts to raise awareness about childbirth around the world, we can now follow a group of six women (from India, Bolivia, Ethiopia, Laos Egypt and England) through their pregnancies. Kind of like “A Baby Story” meets PBS.

The WHO women are now in their seventh month. If you’re pregnant and feeling full of self pity at your swollen ankles or sore back (legitimate complaints), it might give you some perspective to read the accounts of the women in Laos, India and Ethiopia. I was surprised to see that ultrasounds were present in more than half the countries women had access to ultrasound or other means to determine the baby’s gender.


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7:31 PM  

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