Tag: childbirth

THIS WAY FORWARD: Community-Based Solutions for the African-American Childbirth Crisis

(Photo via thechildbirthprofession.com)
by Dena Crowder

Kyira “Kira” Dixon Johnson and her husband Charles seemed to have it all: a healthy baby boy, flourishing entrepreneurial careers, and vibrant health. Which is why no one could have predicted that 24 hours after welcoming their second son into the world, Kyira would be dead.

The Johnsons represent an alarming reality that’s only recently gained attention in the national media: African-American women are dying in childbirth at 3-4 times the rate of their white counterparts. When I first read the statistics, I was stunned. “This isn’t the 19th century!” Yet facts prove otherwise.

For a recent Essence article, Meaghan Winter wrote:

“In some rural counties and dense cities alike, the racial disparity in maternal deaths is jaw-dropping: Chickasaw County, Mississippi, for instance, has a maternal death rate for women of color that’s higher than Rwanda’s. In New York City, Black women are 12 times more likely than White women to die of pregnancy-related causes—and the disparity has more than doubled in recent years.”

While experts agree that the causes are multi-faceted, and include factors such as diet, poor pre- and post-natal care, existing high-risk conditions (like hypertension and diabetes) and lack of access to properly trained medical staff, by far the most troubling thing I heard was this comment from Darline Turner, an Austin-based physician’s assistant and certified doula:

“This goes across socio-economic status. Even a high achieving Ph.D. – who is a six to seven figure earner – still has worse birth outcomes than a white woman without a high school education who is smoking,” she said during a phone interview.

“How is this possible?” I wondered.

Darline explained that the “issue no one wants to talk about” is the experience of chronic mental, physical and emotional stress experienced by black women living in modern America, and its negative impact on birth outcomes. (For more thoughts on this topic from Darline Turner, click here.)

Disturbed by the seeming nonchalance at what should be declared a national health emergency, she began the Healing Hands Doula project, a grassroots effort aimed at supporting healthy pregnancies and births for women of color in Texas.

Her belief that “we’ve got to return to community” is borne out by scientific studies from a variety of fields. “We know that loneliness is a major factor in disease.” According to her, a mom who isn’t connected to a strong and vital community offering robust emotional and medical support is more susceptible to complications.

The good news is, with proper care, the statistics can be reversed. This fact is demonstrated by Jennie Joseph of Common Sense Childbirth, a prenatal clinic, birthing center, and school of midwifery in Florida where she applies her holistic maternity care model. The results are astoundingly positive and are changing the status quo. By making a difference, Joseph is not only increasing the well being of the families she serves, but also her own. To learn more about her and her mission, visit her website here: http://www.commonsensechildbirth.org. (Additional resources can be found via Sister SongCenter for Reproductive RightsBlackMamasMatter and The Afiya Center.)

The kind of purpose-driven work that birth professionals like Turner and Joseph are doing on behalf of women of color falls into the category of purposeful contribution. Over the past few years, research has shown that when you answer the “call” to do good for others, you actually strengthen your immune system.

What about those who lack a sense of purpose? They develop genetic patterns equivalent to people under constant stress. (This correlation between chronic stress and purpose is based on studies done at UCLA, The University of North Carolina and in the work of Dr. Mario Martinez.) The only cure for what ails the purposeless is to give meaningfully. Continue reading “THIS WAY FORWARD: Community-Based Solutions for the African-American Childbirth Crisis”

Mother’s Delivery Kit Founder Adepeju Jaiyeoba Creates Lifesaving Supply Pack to Aid Safe Births

Adepeju Jaiyeoba (photo via blogpath.org)

article by Hadassah Egbedi via venturesafrica.com

Adepeju Jaiyeoba is the founder and CEO of Mother’s Delivery Kit (MDK), a Lagos-based social enterprise established to promote and enhance safe births, instigate behavioral change and economically empower women in Nigeria.

Her enterprise supplies birthing kits to health centres, hospitals, traditional birth attendants as well as maternal and child health organisations across the country. Prior to the establishment of MDK, the death of a friend from birthing complications in 2011, inspired Jaiyeoba to set up a non-governmental, non-profit organisation called the Brown Button Foundation.

“Her death put a face on every maternal and child death statistic I had heard,” Jaiyeoba said on the loss of her friend. “She was educated and brilliant, and she sought out health care services during her pregnancy. Yet she became one of the 13 women who die daily during childbirth in Nigeria. The health care system had failed her and her unborn baby.”

Maternal and child mortality has always been an issue in developing countries around the world. Many pregnant women are exposed to several risks and complications because they lack easy access to healthcare facilities, skilled doctors, or even an ambulance or vehicle to transport them when in labour. This is why each year, reducing infant and maternal mortality is a major part of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in many countries.

To read more, go to: This lifesaving delivery kit designed by a Nigerian woman was inspired by the death of a friend – Ventures Africa