All posts filed under: Maternal and Newborn Health

Postpartum Depression and the Danger of ‘Bad Mom’ Stigma

“I felt so trapped, like I had a made a huge mistake in having my child.” It’s heart-wrenching to imagine any mother having to say these words about her own child merely days after giving birth. But while interviewing Serena*, a young, resilient, postpartum depression (PPD) survivor last year, I was taken by surprise by this phrase. Serena’s story about her struggles as a mother suffering from PPD were poignant. From difficulties getting out bed and taking care of herself, to a severe emotional disconnection from her own child and family, Serena suffered for weeks after giving birth to her first child. She felt unsupported and, after hearing accounts of mothers who were enjoying motherhood, she soon labeled herself a “bad mom” which caused her depression to deepen further. It was not until she found a support group with other women going through similar struggles that she regained her strength and spirits. In the peer group, she found solace in knowing she wasn’t alone and that she was not indeed, a bad mother. The women who …

UN Experts Call for Action on Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes

Breastfeeding is recognized as a human rights issue for both mothers and babies, and those who wish to breastfeed their children have the right to unbiased and accurate information to be able to make informed choices. There are numerous barriers facing women worldwide in regards of optimal breastfeeding. Inappropriate and varying knowledge and skills among healthcare workers, non-existent maternity leave and non-supportive cultural practices are only a few that affect and hinder women who wish to breastfeed. On November 22nd, a joint statement by a group of UN experts was released to urge action on one major obstacle: the marketing of breastmilk substitutes, also known as formula. Together, they call upon Member States to implement legal measures to protect babies and mothers from misleading, and often aggressive marketing. Let’s have a look at some facts: Global sales of breast-milk substitutes total US$ 44.8 billion In 2019, the number is expected to rise to US$ 70.6 billion Of 194 countries analyzed, 135 have some form of legal measure in place related to the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes (also …

My Attempts at Facilitating Change in Rural India

In my final year of medical school, as I was reading a chapter on Maternal and Child Health, I came across a table of mortality rates elaborating the health status of mothers and children of my country. They were dismal and though I could see that progress had been made, to my 20 year old brain, it seemed insufficient and too slow to be accepted. After all, these were lives and not just numbers! The rural-urban difference made the figures look worse. I was restless. How could I bridge this gap? I reasoned – a woman was the base of the society’s pyramid and if I could do something to strengthen her I could attempt to address this gap. I was also convinced that since most of India’s population lived in rural areas, in order to make a significant impact, I should focus on rural areas. Though I had been reared in a city and had never seen what a village looked like, I was ready to learn along the way. Itching to materialise this dream, …

Help Fund Girls’ Globe Bloggers’ Documentary on Maternal Health in Indonesia

Did you know that 800 mothers die every day during child labour? That 3 million children are stillborn every year? And that 3000 newborns die every day? Anna and Tilde, high school students and bloggers, want to make a change for the case of maternal health. Let us introduce Project Let’s Talk Equality. Through a course in social entrepreneurship, and a burning passion for gender equality and maternal health, we wanted to take the opportunity to do something about the current midwife crisis. Let’s Talk Equality serves to expand the conversation on maternal health. It’s important to get more grassroots movements involved, to fight for girls and women, and to inspire others to make a change. We can’t have an equal world without improving the situation for mothers, and in order to make a change we need more volunteers and grassroots movements that care deeply about these issues. Therefore, we met up with one of these important organisations during the United Nations General Assembly Week in New York City – the White Ribbon Alliance for Safe Motherhood (WRA). They work on a …

The Arduous Process of Getting Pregnant: Infertility and IVF

Whenever I’m feeling a bit down, or if I struggle to fall asleep in the night, I tend to go back to the time when my husband Jakob and I decided that we wanted to have a baby. So far, this is the sunshine story of my life. While trying to wrap my head around the fact that Donald Trump has been elected President of the (not so) United States, I’ve been finding it hard to come up with ideas for an inspiring post. Sadly and unfortunately, this sorry excuse for a man has been occupying my mind and for a brief moment, I feel like I need to go to my “happy place” to be able to combat my somewhat darker thoughts, and to regain energy. We had been together for about a year and a half when Jakob was diagnosed with testicular cancer. I vividly remember everything from that doctor’s appointment in February 2013 – the look on the doctor’s face while doing the ultrasound screening, and that moment when Jakob and I …

World Prematurity Day 2016 – The Simplest of Interventions that Saves Lives

Each year more than 15 million babies are born prematurely, many of whom die within their first few days of life. Today, on World Prematurity Day 2016, we are shedding light on one of the most effective, yet basic interventions: Kangaroo Mother Care (KMC). With exclusive breastfeeding being one of its essential components, this method has the potential to save the lives of babies born prematurely. This week, in connection with World Prematurity Day, Save the Children announced that representatives of major international and U.S. associations for health professionals will come together and endorse a joint statement recommending the universal use of KMC for all preterm and low birth weight infants. So, what does Kangaroo Mother Care entail and why do we need it? KMC is a method of care practiced on newborn children – usually preterm (born before 37 weeks of pregnancy), low birthweight infants – where the mother, father or another carer functions as a natural incubator, providing heat, stimulation and feeding to the baby. The newborn, only wearing a nappy and a …

The Vital Need for Data to Improve Maternal Health

Globally and daily, around 830 women die from causes related to pregnancy and childbirth – equivalent to nearly 35 women an hour. This results in over 300 000 maternal deaths each year – deaths that could be prevented if adequate care was provided. Skilled care before, during and after birth has been identified as one of the key strategies to reducing maternal deaths, a care that 25% of women still do not have access to. Bernice lives with her father and her four younger siblings in a small rural village in the north of Burundi. Her family, along with eight out of ten Burundians, live below the poverty line, and they depend fully on their household food crop production for their survival. Due to several droughts lately, they are currently facing severe food shortage. Bernice is pregnant with her first child, and even though she’s more than half way through her pregnancy, she hasn’t yet seen a doctor. She is severely malnourished, putting both her and her baby at an elevated risk of complications. Two years …

#12 – Maternal Health Now: New Research from The Lancet

In this episode Julia Wiklander, Felogene Anumo and Zanele Mabaso introduce you to new research that was published just a few weeks ago in The Lancet’s Maternal Health Series. Girls’ Globe was in New York City at the launch of the series and Girls’ Globe blogger Zanele Mabaso from South Africa spoke with one of the authors, Dr. Oona Campbell, from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. The Maternal Health Series by the Lancet shines a light on the causes, trends, and prospects for maternal health in the current era of rapid demographic, epidemiological, and socioeconomic transition. It includes analysis of experiences from the past 25 years and shows us the growing threat to progress caused by poor quality care and inequity of access. The Lancet Maternal Health Series reveals great disparities in quality of care for women during pregnancy and childbirth. In the past 16 years we have seen amazing progress – where maternal deaths have fallen by nearly half (44%) since 1990, yet some countries and some groups of women saw …

Why Men’s Involvement in Safeguarding Maternal Health Is Critical!

This post was written by Elman Nsinda, journalist and maternal health advocate, White Ribbon Alliance Uganda (nsindae (at ) gmail.com) In Uganda, 17 women and 106 newborns die every day due to complications related to pregnancy and child birth. Unfortunately, the causes of these deaths are clearly known and could be averted if each of the parties responsible played their part. The causes of death include: Severe bleeding, sepsis, obstructed labor, Hypertensive Disorders among others, exacerbated by delays at both community and at facility levels. Pregnancy comes as a result of a moment of enjoyment by a couple; man and woman. This means therefore that the two are equally responsible for the outcome and the results whether negative or positive, should be equally shared by the two. The death of a woman as result of complications related to pregnancy and child birth, leaving the husband to remarry, will justifiably show injustice to the woman. I am a father of two, and during pregnancy for the two children, I provided good food for the mother’s nutrition, …

Four ways we’re making progress toward the Global Goals

This week marks the first anniversary of the launch of the Global Goals. As the global development community convenes in New York City for the United Nations’ General Assembly week, what better time to reflect on progress? In a country where, on average, one woman will die every hour from mostly preventable complications in pregnancy or childbirth1, Tanzania is one of the most dangerous places in the world to give birth. The good news: thanks to your support and the dedicated team on the ground, lives are being saved. We are making progress toward the Global Goals. 1. Empowering Medical Teams to Save Lives. Dar es Salaam is one of the largest, and fastest growing cities in Africa, with a population projected to exceed 7 million by 20252. Today, a healthcare system designed to support 750,000 people is supporting 4.4 million. Hospitals and clinics throughout the region are severely overcrowded, understaffed, and under resourced, with patients suffering as a result. Our sister organization, CCBRT, recognized that healthcare teams in the Dar es Salaam region were …