Regular everyday events are rarely newsworthy. The media typically induces emotional reactions through constant reports of deaths related to emerging diseases, accidents, murders, human conflicts, and natural disasters. There is a widespread tendency to ignore the amplitude of chronic problems. Few people realize that bleeding is the single most common cause of maternal deaths worldwide.
“But it didn’t hurt,” Beth told me straightforwardly as she cradled her sweet baby nuzzling in for a snack before nap at six weeks. I like to review births with mothers at various points during their postpartum, lying-in time. The 6-week or 40-day visit inevitably offers new perspectives. Beth had a herstory of excessive blood loss during childbirth.
We do a great job of caring for our pregnant clients. Traditional pregnancy assessments rely on the typical exam routine: assess the vital signs, uterine and fetal position, and development of both the baby and the pregnant woman. This narrow focus in a routine visit is missing the three key assessments that will help pregnant clients and baby achieve a smoother birth and faster recovery. During these visits, the client’s body needs more attention as it approaches labor—especially the “birth door.”
The age of Covid 19 has reinforced interest in The Future of Homo, the latest book by Michel Odent, published by World Scientific.
When I was a little girl, I used to watch my mother. She was a calligrapher. My father made a light table for her where she laid down her pages and, bent attentively over the light, she wrote. The light table illuminated a lined page behind an unlined parchment page so that my mother could write a straight script across the parchment without marking lines on the parchment itself. She would write fancy scripts and make lovely flowers, gilded with silver or gold from her tiny paint pots, and create something beautiful: a wedding invitation, a birth announcement, a wall hanging, a bookmark. Her pens had special, pointed nibs that she dipped in black inkwells, from which flowed many precious words, often from scripture and sometimes from poetry. From my mother, I learned that mothers are artists.
It happened on a cold winter night … inside a high-end modern car, beside a poor neighborhood of Mataderos, in Buenos Aires City. The car windows were steamy.… Some groans and screams were heard from inside the car.… Police cars and drug dealers were nearby….
My birth journey started during my childbearing years. My first child, a daughter, was a full-term stillbirth. Nothing could have prepared me for that experience. It was also my first up-close-and-personal experience with death. To say it changed me in many fundamental ways would be an understatement. I waited the suggested one year and got pregnant immediately.
To equip means to prepare someone sufficiently in all aspects, for a particular situation or task. Everyone who aspires to become a midwife desires to be properly equipped for this task.
Photo Album – Issue 134
The anxious gaze of non birthing partners is a familiar sight. How can I help her not be in pain? I’m worried I’ll faint. What do I do if I think my partner is depressed? What happens if there are complications? I want to be there for my baby in a way my dad wasn’t for me. I don’t get paid leave—how much time off work do you think I need to take? These were common concerns I heard in my childbirth classes, particularly during the hour I met with non birthing partners alone.
Like most other countries, Bangladesh is facing the onslaught of Covid-19. In a near-lockdown situation, normal life has been interrupted, education institutions closed down, devotees reduced in mosques and temples, and gathering of any type in the community is discouraged. However, the frontline health care workers (FLW) are on their toes, providing services to the ailing people, both coronavirus-related and otherwise. Unlike most of us, they cannot stay at home. One group of these FLWs is the midwives. They are attending to duties in unprotected or partially-protected environments. The Midwife Led Care Centre (MLC) at the Charikata Union Health and Family Welfare Center (UH&FWC) in Sylhet, Bangladesh, is such a center where midwives are continuing their care and services despite unfavorable circumstances.
This rapid-response article (1) seeks to describe the quick and dramatic changes occurring in birth practices across the United States resulting from the pandemic of the novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, and the life-threatening disease it produces, Covid-19. Long before the Covid-19 epidemic hit the United States, the medicalization of pregnancy had led to a broad acceptance of birthing as hospital-based—where it is often treated like a dysfunctional mechanical process and its normal physiology is ignored. We explore the question of how Covid-19 is causing women and birth providers to look at birth differently, given that hospitals are now more than ever being perceived as sites of contagion. We show that Covid-19 offers a testing ground for ongoing debates about the efficacy of maternity care and the safety of hospital versus out-of-hospital (OOH) births. We conclude by suggesting specific policy changes to generate effective maternity care in the face of future pandemics and other disasters that are bound to increase in our era of the climate crisis.