These articles are several years old. Recent reports are that life in Afghanistan, especially for women and children is worse this year. Billions and billions of dollars later ...
Birth shadowed by death
Afghanistan: A Johns Hopkins-linked program combats tragically high maternal and infant mortality by training midwives"We have a local midwife," Abdul said. "But she has no education."
23,000 Afghan mothers die in childbirth each year, making it the nation's leading cause of death for women.
Biggest cause of death
It's also the single biggest health threat that Afghan women face, claiming the lives of more expectant mothers each year than malnutrition and war. It is a public health catastrophe with few parallels elsewhere in the world.
In the United States, the lifetime risk of death in childbirth is one death out of every 2,500 women - the risks for any individual depending greatly on the number of times she gives birth. In Afghanistan, the figure is one in six.
Giving birth is perilous here partly because of the nation's poverty; the lack of roads, clinics and health workers; and partly because the country's culture has blocked health care advances.
In the US only 3% of birth are at home. One third of all births are surgical births and many of those are believed to be unnecessary and doctor-induced. In Afghanistan women do not have the option of hospital birth.
Only 8 percent of Afghan births occur outside the home but that figure might soon rise. In interviews, village elders across eastern Afghanistan said that they want their wives, sisters and cousins to go to clinics or hospitals to give birth.
Feature-Women dying to give birth in Afghanistan
By Angie Ramos
ISHKASHIM, Afghanistan, Feb 22 (Reuters) - Gulnama Shamsali sips tea and tries to calm her screaming six-month-old son as her husband and his four siblings quietly nibble their lunch -- a few pieces of stale wheat bread -- in their cold, dark mud house.
In two months, Gulnama, still only 22, will give birth to her second child.
And she could die from doing so.
The nearest hospital is 100 km (60 miles) away, four to five days by donkey, the most common transport in rural Afghanistan.
But Gulnama, whose youthful face is scarred by patches of frostbite from the bitter winter weather in her native Badakhshan province, says she is not worried. "I will give birth and their destiny belongs to God. He will save them," she said.
According to U.N. data, Afghanistan has among the world's highest rates of maternal mortality, and remote, impoverished, Badakhshan has the highest rates ever recorded anywhere in the world, with one mother dying in every 15 births.
It is not difficult to see why.
The province is spectacularly beautiful, with high mountains and deep valleys blanketed by green in spring and summer, red in autumn, and white in winter.
But this beauty masks extreme poverty, an absence of physical infrastructure, a lack of skilled health workers, high illiteracy and social pressure on women to bear many children.CONTINUE AT:
The Other Side of the Glass
Tuesday, October 30, 2007
Bipuvicaine and fentanyl and other narcotics are also considered safe and without harm by those who use them and those same people who do the research and have a lot to gain.
MMR: It's safe when you remove the damaged kids
Around 7,000 American families have joined a very long queue to try and win a cash settlement after their children suffered permanent, or longterm, damage from one of the 'safe' vaccines such as the MMR. To win their case with the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VCIP), the families must prove a direct causal link between the damage done to their child and the vaccine.
For this, they must locate good scientific evidence which would be recognised and accepted by the VCIP board.
Unfortunately, as we're always reminded, scientific studies have consistently proven that the vaccines are absolutely safe. Even Dr Andrew Wakefield's infamous claim of a possible link to autism has been discredited by medical research.
And, as luck would have it, in the very week when the VCIP started reviewing the merit of the parents' claims, the august New England Journal of Medicine published another study that suggested that the vaccines - and especially the thimerosal preservative used in the vaccines - didn't affect neuro-psychological functioning.
To discover the safety of the vaccines, the researchers looked at the health records of 1,047 children aged between 7 and 10 years who had been given their first thimerosal-loaded vaccine as a baby. They couldn't find anything out of the ordinary among the children.
However, in making their selection, the researchers took out any children who had existing neuro-psychological problems, such as encephalitis, meningitis or hydrocephalus, as this might have caused 'bias' to the results.
So let's get this straight. The children who were removed from the study had been vaccinated, and they were displaying neuro-psychological problems. Once removed, the researchers were left with a group of healthy children, whose very well-being 'proves' the vaccine is safe.
Don't expect any pay-outs any time soon from the VCIP.
By the way, how did the neophyte, "Medicine", become the One, real, and true way, and the natural way (through eons of time) become the "Alternative"?
"Birth Extremism" just might be necessary to bring the pendulum back to mid-line.
Here's an epistle I really enjoyed ---
See, I for one honestly don't get why anyone is actually bothered by "birth extremism". YES there are fanatics, as there are in every walk of life. I once knew an OB who honestly subscribed to the old fashioned "iron clad perineum causing brain damage in baby's tender heads". He cut an epis on every single woman, had like a 50% cesarean rate, and openly stated that he hated vaginal birth and thought that individuals born vaginally ALL had some degree of brain damage. I kid you not! Clearly he didn't represent the viewpoint of all OBs, or all physicians.
There's a very large percentage of docs practicing defensive medicine, despite knowing that it's application may often be against evidence and even against the well being of women. Do they represent all docs? Obviously not. AmySue herself has railed against defensive medicine often - just do a google search on her and it.
So yes - the lotus-birthing, placenta-print making, elimination- communicating, breatfeeding until age five and then only raw food eatin', handmade toy only playin' parents out there ARE extremists. Big flippin' deal!
There are thousands of "extraordinary groups" out there in American present and past (nuns, hippies, gypsies, amish, brethren, survivalists, trekkies... the list goes on and on....). It's part of what makes any culture interesting, for pete's sake. Celebrate diversity!
On the point that these women/parents may "make other's feel bad" for choosing an epidural or bottle-feeding -- again, BFD! Christians make me feel bad for living in sin, do I care? Health food nuts make me feel bad for liking sugar, whoopdee. Greenies make me feel bad for driving an SUV, oh well.
My point is - cultural extremism in many walks of life has always and will always wax and wane. There will always be dreamers. There will always be those who hate authority. Why do you guys have such a problem with it??!
Monday, October 08, 2007
I am traveling to Mississippi to meet his plane and to count his fingers and toes, to touch and smell him, kiss him and look into his eyes to tell him how happy I am that he is here. Sound familiar? It FEELS familiar!!
A HUGE congratulations to my co-blogger Heather and her family on the arrival of her son as well. He was born at home as Heather planned -- unassisted, with only family present. What a wonderful, beautiful story awaits the readers. You are the BOMB, Heather.
We want pictures! We want pictures! We want pictures!!
"Soft is the heart of a child. Do not harden it."
Finally, A Birth Film for Fathers
Through presentation of the current research and stories of fathers, the routine use of interventions are questioned. How we protect and support the physiological need of the human newborn attachment sequence is the foundation for creating safe birth wherever birth happens.
Based on knowing that babies are sentient beings and the experience of birth is remembered in the body, mind, and soul, fathers are asked to research for themselves what is best for their partner and baby and to prepare to protect their baby.
The film is designed for midwives, doulas, and couples, particularly fathers to work with their caregivers. Doctors and nurses in the medical environment are asked to "be kind" to the laboring, birthing baby, and newborn. They are called to be accountable for doing what science has been so clear about for decades. The mother-baby relationship is core for life. Doctors and nurses and hospital caregivers and administrators are asked to create protocols that protect the mother-baby relationship.
Men are asked to join together to address the vagaries of the medical system that harm their partner, baby and self in the process of the most defining moments of their lives. Men are asked to begin to challenge the system BEFORE they even conceive babies as there is no way to be assured of being able to protect his loved ones once they are in the medical machine, the war zone, on the conveyor belt -- some of the ways that men describe their journey into fatherhood in the medicine culture.
Donors can email firstname.lastname@example.org to get a digital copy.
The film focuses on the male baby, his journey from the womb to the world and reveals healing and integrating the mother, father, and baby's wounded birth experience. The film is about the restoring of our families, society, and world through birthing loved, protected, and nurtured males (and females, of course). It's about empowering males to support the females to birth humanity safely, lovingly, and consciously.
Finally, a birth film for fathers.
What People Are Saying About the FIlm
They are rightly calling what happens in every American maternity unit, every day, by its rightful name - abuse. Abuse of the newborn, abuse of the parents and their rights, abuse of the supposedly sacrosanct ethical principal of patient autonomy and the medico-legal doctrine of informed consent, which has been long ago discarded in all but name. I love it!
In the immortal words of the "shrub", "bring it on!" This film needs to be shown and if I can help facilitate or promote it, let me know.
Father in Asheville, NC
Thanks for sharing this. It was very touching to me. I thought of my brother-in-law standing on the other side of the glass when my sister had to have a C-section with her first child because the doctor was missing his golf date. I'll never forget his pacing back and forth and my realizing that he was already a father, even though he hadn't been allowed to be with his son yet.
Margaret, Columbia, MO
In case you don't find me here
I wish I'd kept a blog of my journey with this film this past 10 months. It's been amazing.
I have a new blog address for the film, and will keep a journal of simple reporting of the journey for the rest of the film.
I'll be heading east this week to meet with a group of men. I plan to post pictures and clips on the film blog.
I'll keep up here when I can -- when I learn something juicy, outrageous, or inspiring related to making birth safer for the birthing baby.
Review of the film
The full film will have the interviews of a wider spectrum of professionals and fathers, and will include a third birth, at home, where the caregivers do a necessary intervention, suctioning, while being conscious of the baby.
The final version will feature OBs, RNs, CNMs, LM, CPM, Doulas, childbirth educators, pre and perinatal psychologists and trauma healing therapists, physiologists, neurologists, speech therapists and lots and lots of fathers -- will hopefully be done in early 2009.
The final version will include the science needed to advocated for delayed cord clamping, and the science that shows when a baby needs to be suctioned and addresses other interventions. Experts in conscious parenting will teach how to be present with a sentient newborn in a conscious, gentle way -- especially when administering life-saving techniques.
The goal is to keep the baby in the mother's arms so that the baby gets all of his or her placental blood and to avoid unnecessary, violating, and abusive touch and interactions. When we do that, whether at home or hospital, with doctor or midwife, the birth is safe for the father. The "trick" for birthing men and women is how to make it happen in the hospital.