Monday, July 18, 2011

Connecting with Doulas: Come Meet Us at DONA 11 and Online

Doulas are best known for their ability to reduce interventions and improve maternal satisfaction in birth. But doulas play other important roles, too, such as educating women about their birth options, including midwifery care. Doulas also tend be very active in their local birth communities, helping with local and statewide efforts to improve maternal health. Where appropriate, doulas help mothers transform their birth experiences, gently guiding women to activism.

This is why Citizens for Midwifery is so excited to attend the Doulas of North America (DONA) International conference in Boston, MA this week. We’ll be in exhibitors area, sharing information about Citizens for Midwifery and meeting doulas from across the nation.

At the conference, we’ll also be holding Citizens for Midwifery’s first ever friendraiser, creating as many “virtual” friends as possible! We’ll be reaching out to doulas with two goals.
  • For those already using social media, we hope to build and connect our virtual networks. Together, we can significantly increase our reach, educating more mothers with evidence-based information about birth and key policy issues.
  • For those not yet active with social media, or just learning the ropes, we’ll have our laptops fired up, ready to show you how to get signed on!

Why a friendraiser? Because all of the impactful things that a doula does face-to-face - educating families, empowering mothers, connecting women to critical policy issues - can and are being done on social media. Doulas have been among the first birth professionals to embrace these new tools. We want to connect our communities, share tools, and make healthy birth - and midwifery care - go viral!

Three ways to participate in the CfM friendraiser:

  1. Share this post on your networks and encourage your family and friends to like us on facebook, follow us on twitter and sign up for our free email list. (Make sure you're connected up too!)
  2. If you're at DONA this weekend tweet make sure you're signed up for Twitter and tweet under the #DONA11 hashtag. Follow us and give us a shout out by mentioning @cfmidwifery and we'll make sure to retweet and follow you back. Similarly, mention us in a facebook status or post on our facebook page. Watch for conference give-aways and come introduce yourself.
  3. If you are not attending DONA help spread the amazing information that will be coming out of the conference by following the #DONA11 hashtag on twitter. Come swing by our facebook page--we'll be posting pics and updates throughout the week.
Bonus! If you share this post on your facebook page tag us and we'll head over to like your page AND post your birth page on our wall. This way we can all grow our networks!

When we make these powerful connections--online and in-person-- we're helping to promote the Midwives Model of Care and organizing for future legislative pushes.

Your participation is important and greatly appreciated.

A big thanks to, Mama Pear Designs and Jillian's Drawers for donating items for us to give-away to friendraiser and conference participants.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Guest Post: The World Needs Midwives – Now More Than Ever

This post is republished from the blog of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation:

The World Needs Midwives – Now More Than Ever

It was 1980 in a nomadic community in Mauritania that I first attended a woman during birth. There, I experienced with her the fragile balance of life and death and the sweet joy of a mother embracing her healthy newborn daughter.

The World Needs Midwives – Now More Than Ever

Midwife. In the olde English it meant “with woman.” It’s why I became a midwife – to be with women through skilled care and support before, during and after pregnancy and childbirth, so that all women and families everywhere experience the joy and celebration of safe motherhood.

Today is the International Day of the Midwife. But today, like every day, nearly 1000 women will die giving life; and many of their babies will not survive beyond the first hours and days after birth. That’s more than 350,000 women and 5 million infants every year whose lives are lost as a result of preventable complications of pregnancy and childbirth.

And while 99 percent of these deaths happen in developing countries, the United States is not exempt. Thousands of American families suffer the tragedy of maternal and newborn mortality every year.

No mother should have to risk her life or that of her unborn baby going through childbirth without expert care. Yet, globally, one in three women gives birth without a skilled birth attendant. The World Health Organization estimates that more than 3.5 million more health workers – including a million midwives – are needed by 2015. Without them, millions of mothers and children have no one to diagnose and treat illnesses, dispense treatment, or provide immunizations and advice on how to stay healthy and prevent disease.

The International Confederation of Midwives (ICM) has embraced this in their campaign – The World Needs Midwives Now More than Ever and with a commitment to march in honor of women. The theme for this year’s march is The Road to Durban: Midwives Walking for the Women of the World.

Today, around the world, women will walk “for the women of the world.” It’s a journey that starts on the “Road to Durban,” and culminates on the 18th of June at the ICM Congress in South Africa. At the Congress, more than 3,000 midwives will meet to share their knowledge and skills about better quality care and strategies to intensify the fight against maternal and newborn mortality. There too will be the release of the long awaited State of the World’s Midwifery Report and the powerful, poignant Stories of Midwives.

We join with tens of thousands of midwives, today, in walks across the globe to demonstrate our shared commitment to safe motherhood. We walk to show zero tolerance for needless deaths of mothers and newborns. We walk to publicize the urgent need for investments in maternal and newborn health. We walk on this Road to Durban so that one day pregnancy and birth will not mean the road to death for mothers and their babies.

To borrow from the American College of Nurse-Midwives, let’s show the world that together we are “With women, for a lifetime.”

Theresa Shaver is the President and Executive Director of the White Ribbon Alliance for Safe Motherhood.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation works to help all people lead healthy, productive lives. Safeguarding the health of mothers and young children is one of the world’s most urgent priorities and a core focus of the foundation’s work; especially in the developing world.