Friday, September 10, 2010

Article on homebirth from the Huffington Post

"Why Homebirths are Worth Considering" by Melissa Cheyney

Some highlights:

"The answer among the U.S. medical establishment has been to throw more expensive technology at the problem rather than retracing our steps to see where we went wrong. Instead of admitting that something is fundamentally broken with the system, organizations like the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology continue to endorse the idea that medicalized hospital births are the only safe route for women."

"While maternal mortality rates decreased among our peer nations between 2000 and 2005, they increased by more than 54 percent in the United States during the same time period. The two major differences between the U.S. and other nations, which have superior maternal and infant health outcomes, are that the latter offer universal health care and rely more extensively on cost-effective midwives as a public health strategy."

There is a critique (one of many) of the Dr. Joseph Wax study on homebirths published recently in AJOG, siting faulty research methods and accusing the study of deepening our nations overall distrust of midwives.

It's a good read. Thanks, Melissa!

Afghan Midwifery Training

This was passed along through one of the Bay Area birth doula groups. Please donate if you're able and spread the word about this amazing organization!


I try not to send these requests out too often, and appreciate
you reading this! As president of Afghans4Tomorrow, and especially when I have an opportunity to help the women and babies in Afghanistan, I hope you won't mind if I tell you about it, and ask for your help too.

We want to provide training for several women who live in Wardak Province (just southwest of Kabul, and heavily controlled by the Taliban) to become Skilled Birthing Attendants in their respective villages. There are no female obstetric doctors in this region, and due to Taliban influence, we are no longer able to find female doctors living in Kabul willing to travel to Wardak to practice. Some women will not go to male doctors, if they are even available. Many instead rely too often on old wives tales, and receive no prenatal care nor have the birth attended by a doctor or midwife or anyone with any training at all.

Afghanistan is one of the most dangerous places to be born, or give birth. A woman dies in childbirth every 27 minutes in Afghanistan, that is 1 in 8 women who give birth. One in five children die before they reach the age of 5.

The formal Midwife Training program in the country is a two-year program that requires the women to live in Kabul for the entire time. We have already trained two midwives and will likely fund more as we find women able to live in Kabul for the two years, which is not so easy.

This program is a way to help bring more skills to the region to help provide safer childbirth and baby checkups to the region now, while we wait and hope for more calm encouraging more doctors to move to the area and while more fully trained Midwives and doctors become available.
Our Skilled Birthing Attendant training starts with an intensive 4-week program (to be held in December) conducted by a volunteer American doctor, and is in conjunction with another organization; Mountain to Mountain, who is funding some of the expenses for this training as well as ongoing financial and training for the next three years for the group of women.

Afghans4Tomorrow's responsibility in this program is $20,000, of which we have already raised about $8000. I know things are rough for many of you out there, but if you can't help with a donation yourself, maybe you know someone who would be excited about helping such a program, or know people involved in the Midwife movement that might we willing to share with their friends?

I have attached the actual proposal for those who are interested. I will have more info in the next several days, but feel free to reach out with any questions, and feel free to share this email with anyone you think might be interested in learning about our efforts in helping women to deliver healthy babies in Wardak Afghanistan.

Thanks everyone for taking the time to read this far!

And for those celebrating Ramadan-- Eid Mubarak!


Kimberly O'
ConnorPresidentAfghans4TomorrowP: +1 415.282.8281M: +1 415.608.1260Skype: