Saturday, February 9, 2008

Amnesty International & Maternal Mortality

We recently learned from well-known midwife Ina May Gaskin that research fellows from Amnesty International-USA are undertaking a research project documenting the rate and nature of maternal mortality in the US. They have noticed that US women face a greater risk of maternal mortality than women in other industrialized countries and that rates of death are much higher for African American and Latina women than white women. Ina May has done ongoing, persistent work exploring the rising maternal mortality rates in the US. Her ongoing memorial quilt project records the deaths of women in this country since 1982 who died from pregnancy related causes. She needs people to continue reporting maternal deaths to her so they can make quilt pieces for each woman.

The Amnesty International team will be documenting and gathering information on a broad range of issues related to direct and indirect causes of maternal deaths. They are especially interested in documenting the experiences of racial/ethnic minority women especially African American and Latina women and women living in poverty and exploring reasons for the high rate of maternal mortality among these groups of women.

"AIUSA is therefore reaching out to organizations and experts willing to share their knowledge and expertise. We are also seeking individuals willing to share their experiences."

"AIUSA is planning to produce a report on its findings, providing an overview of issues concerning maternal mortality rates and womens access to adequate and appropriate healthcare." (such as midwifery care!)

CfM Board members would also note that not only is rising maternal mortality important, but also other human rights issues around unnecessary interventions, informed consent, and hospitals not "allowing" VBACs!

There was a report recently about a maternal death in NY. It is frustrating to read that the mother who died was induced, which may have led to her death by amniotic fluid embolism (according to a study published in the medical journal The Lancet, "Medical induction of labour seems to increase the risk of amniotic-fluid embolism. Although the absolute excess risk is low, women and physicians should be aware of this risk when making decisions about elective labour induction.")

The U.S. ranks 41st in the October 2007 analysis of maternal mortality rates in 171 countries released by a group of U.N. public health experts.

1 comment:

gwennon said...

Having delivered two babies under the care of OB/Gyn's and then two babies under the care of midwives (under the oversight of an OB/Gyn), I definitely had a better experience under midwife care. If my husband and I have any more babies, I would seriously consider a homebirth with a midwife. They really are great!