Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Midwives save lives

Properly trained midwives can successfully lower the number of maternal deaths and injuries around the world, particularly in areas where medical help can be hard to obtain.

Pregnancy is not an illness, but it can result significant problems, including hemorrhaging, infections, and death for both mother and child. Finally a mainstream medical journal is saying that this care can be given by a midwife rather than a physician and that this care can contribute to a healthier pregnancy and delivery for many women.

According to a press release about the midwifery series, published in the Lancet,

"Approximately 90% of all maternal deaths and 99% of newborn deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries, where mothers and their babies receive little or no skilled care during their pregnancy or birth. But in the new series, experts estimate that if effective midwifery was offered to all women in these countries, 75% of infant and maternal deaths could be prevented over the next 15 years. They add that even if the coverage of midwifery services were increased by a quarter, the present rate of maternal deaths could be halved by 2030."

This isn't the first time the beneficial effects of midwives has been addressed in medical literature. Just last year, a published study found that women who were cared for by midwives were "less likely to give birth pre-term and need fewer obstetric interventions during childbirth."

Here is a Huffington Post piece written by Petra ten Hoope-Bender,Director of Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn and Child Health, who is a midwife herself: Lancet Special Series On Midwifery: Women Should Be in the Heart of Decision-Making. It's an interesting piece. We now know what so many of us suspected (and knew) all along. But now we have to do something about it.

The World Health Organization has a good article on how midwifery, despite being a very old profession, is at the bottom of the hierarchy ladder - how this needs to be changed, and how midwives can help women in so many ways (More midwives needed to improve maternal and newborn survival).

Do you know any midwives? Did you have a midwife help you when you had children?

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