Why did I become a doula? Why am I a midwife assistant? Why am I considering becoming a student midwife? While I’ve lived in North America I’ve seen how many women don’t know that they have choices during their prenatal care, labor, delivery, and during the postnatal period., and how they fear childbirth. Astonishingly, maternal mortality in the United States is more than double the maternal mortality rate in Saudi Arabia and Canada, and more than triple the rate in the United Kingdom. Working as a doula in North America not only has helped me support my education and gain experience by attending births, but it also has allowed me to see women make informed choices and deliver their babies into a calm and joyful environment.
Since we are moving to a remote region in a developing country, I thought it would be helpful to know more about prenatal care and childbirth in the region we will be living in. I’m hoping that through providing maternal and neonatal care we can share God’s love and show the community we’re in that we truly care for them, that they can trust us, and that hopefully by training other women and helping assist women we can keep babies and moms alive and healthy!
“Give justice to the weak and the fatherless; maintain the right of the afflicted and the destitute.” Psalm 82:3Psalm 82:3
English: World English Bible - WEB
3 “Defend the weak, the poor, and the fatherless. Maintain the rights of the poor and oppressed.
Here are some facts I’ve found about pregnancy and childbirth in “Asia-Pacific”. The maternal mortality rate in this country is one of the highest in South-East Asia. In 2010 the maternal mortality rate per 100,000 births for “Asia-Pacific” was 240. In the eastern-most provinces, rates can be as high as 396 deaths per 100,000. In comparison, the maternal mortality rate in Australia is 5 per 100,000 births, and in Singapore it is 4 per 100,000 births. The number one cause of death is postpartum hemorrhage, but there are many other contributors as well.
The neonatal mortality rate in “Asia-Pacific” is 14 per 1,000. In regions like the eastern-most provinces, there are people groups were up to 85% of babies die before they are 1 year old. In Australia it is 3 per 1,000, and in Singapore it is 1 per 1,000.
Pneumonia accounts for 26% of infant death, diarrhea 19%, and malaria 11%. 1 in 10 children are born with low birth weight, often because their mothers are undernourished before and during pregnancy.
Alarmingly, the eastern-most provinces have the highest rate of HIV in the country relative to the population and have half of all the diagnosed cases of HIV/AIDS in the country.
These eastern-most provinces also have the lowest life expectancy of all provinces in Asia-Pacific, particularly for women, who have a life expectancy of 50.3 years compared to the national average of 71.
Many times these deaths could have been be easily prevented with recognition of abnormal symptoms, referrals to health worker, adequate nutrition, antibiotics or medications, or immunizations.
“Indigenous peoples have the right to access, without any discrimination, to all medical institutions, health services and medical care.” Draft Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People, The United Nations Commission on Human Rights
I haven’t personally been to Asia-Pacific yet, so I’m only going by these facts. Learning about these statistics and watching Healing for Hewa, a video that shows Samaritan’s Purse sending medical workers to the Hewa people group where New Tribes Missionaries work, also had a huge impact on my desire to gain more education and experience about childbirth. I’d highly recommend watching it below:
I have no idea how God is going to use my training, but I’m willing to do whatever He has put before me to help people whom He has created and to further His kingdom!
“And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.” Mark 16:15Mark 16:15
English: World English Bible - WEB
15 He said to them, “Go into all the world, and preach the Gospel to the whole creation.
*photos by Adiel Booker*