The Value of Birth Work
As doulas, postpartum doulas, childbirth educators and midwives assistants you provide a service like none other. In our modern culture we have seen the demise of women serving women, and a loss of community caring for mothers, but in serving women the way you do you are personally reigning in the rebirth of women’s community care. In my life I have had the opportunity to talk to people about maternal care from all over the world.
According to the WHO, “A maternal death is defined as the death of a woman while pregnant or within 42 days of termination of pregnancy, irrespective of the duration and site of the pregnancy, from any cause related to or aggravated by the pregnancy or its management but not from accidental or incidental causes.” (1)
Women who have the best maternal outcomes are from countries that have maternal systems in place to SERVE the needs of mothers. We also know that wealth has nothing to do with determining infant mortality. Infant mortality is defined as the number deaths of infants one year of age or younger per 1000 live births. For industrialized nations the US , the richest country in the world, is ranked 41st. (CIA World Fact Book 2005) When speaking to people from the Netherlands, Cuba, Ireland, Iceland, Singapore, France and Germany, they are positively stumped at the fact that the US has high maternal and infant mortality rates being the richest country in the world.
What makes for good maternal and infant mortality rates?
• Access to community based health care. Health care for everyone.
• Education, for mothers and their community.
• Proper nutrition • Midwives and the thought that birth is NORMAL and not a disease.
• Extensive community pregnancy and prenatal services.
• Women who have the maternal mortality rates are from cultures that honor and respect the lives of women. By doing the work you do, offering education, nutritional support and connecting mothers to community infrastructure means that you SAVE LIVES!!