It is estimated that every 90 seconds a woman dies giving birth taking away her chance to be there for every milestone and treasured moment in her child’s life. (source)
Both Heidi and I experienced “Major” complications during our deliveries, and we agree that although we were terrified the very moment things went wrong, we felt equally at ease being surrounded by nurses and doctors who were providing quality medial care that we were lucky enough to have access to. As a result of these experiences, we were compelled to put the Organization Spotlight on Every Mother Counts, founded by former Supermodel and advocate Christy Turlington Burns.
Christy’s birth complications from her first pregnancy inspired her, when pregnant for a second time, to visit a remote village where mothers had to walk miles to obtain clean water – their only opportunity to receive prenatal and postnatal care. These two experiences were instrumental in her decision to learn about maternal health.
Through her documentary No Woman No Cry, Christy was able to bring to the forefront an epidemic impacting hundreds of thousands of women each year by sharing the stories of at risk pregnant women in several regions, including the United States. In the film she shes light on the fact that this epidemic is not limited to third world countries. Her work continues through advocacy and education by herself and the countless individuals and organizations inspired by her cause.
Various issues including extreme poverty, lack of quality healthcare, complications following childbirth, challenges within the healthcare system, and policies related to healthcare and a lack in family planning and reproductive health services all contribute to this astounding rate of maternal deaths. More astounding is the fact that 90% of these deaths are preventable.
As a mother it’s difficult to fathom not being there to help my child navigate a world so different than the world she knew when she was growing in my womb. To think of all of the mothers who do not have this opportunity is heart-breaking.
Christy shares the one commonality between all mothers; that experience is “birth”. By using it as a catalyst to bring people together she seeks to facilitate a “health moment” to ensure that mothers throughout the world survive the childbirth experience.
There are several ways we can help ensure that more mothers have the opportunity to not only give birth to their children but also raise them. To find out more visit Every Mother Counts – Take Action.
(Editors Note: The above was written by Krishann Briscoe and was originally published on Dec. 2/2011)