Guest Blogger Jennifer Williams, CNM
media has been abuzz lately as the world’s population hits seven billion.
In 1999, the world population was six billion. I would like to joke that
delivering a billion babies in 12 years explains why all of the midwives and
obstetricians I know are perpetually tired and need a nap, but the reality is
that a significant proportion of these births were not attended by trained
maternity care providers, and birth presents a real risk to many women’s health
to the World Health Organization,1500
women die from pregnancy- or childbirth-related complications every day. That’s
more than one
woman for each minute that ticks by on the clock. That’s about 536,000
women a year, or more than the population of Albuquerque, New Mexico. This
includes young teenagers attempting to have their first babies and mothers of
several children already who die in their 20s, 30s, or 40s. Many of these women
bleed to death, or die of infection.
Another 10 million women suffer each
year from long-term pregnancy complications, such as fistulas. These deaths
and injuries are nearly unheard of in industrialized countries. Here in the
United States, one of our main criticisms of obstetric care is that there are too many cesarean
births. Compare this to so many women dying around the world because they lack
access to basic maternity care. Granted, we have our own problems, but these
numbers and the reality faced by women birthing around the world are simply
like to invite each of us to sit down and think about maternity and women’s
health care and how our own reality differs from what so many other women
experience. Not just in the care we give, but the care we receive. I have two
daughters who have access to education, medical care, and contraception. They
are lucky, lucky girls, because plenty of girls around the world do not have
As I write
this, I’m sitting and looking out the window, watching trees release their red
and yellow leaves.
minutes, 10 minutes, 20 minutes.
dead, 10 women dead, 20 women dead.
separate midwifery from advocacy any more than you can separate a bee from its
stinger and expect it to live. I challenge myself and each one of you to help
out one of many organizations that do amazing, lifesaving work for women and
families around the world. When you write your holiday gift lists, include
these groups. Which groups do you support or suggest other midwives support?
Jennifer Williams, CNM, graduated from Frontier Nursing
University in 2003 and has the great honor of catching babies with the most
talented and highly attractive group of midwives and physicians in the
southwest. She and her patient husband have four children, who are all
brilliant, of course. She is easily amused, persistently optimistic, and never
the Children is looking for an American midwife to join their staff
and other US health professionals on a trip to Guatemala December 5 – 9, 2011.
This is an opportunity to see Save the Children programs up close and
become an advocate for maternal and child health globally.
Learn more about that trip
here. ACNM's Department of Global Outreach (DGO) has more than
three decades of experience strengthening the capacity of midwives and other
health care professionals in developing countries. Learn more about DGO.