Ichabod is itchy

October 3, 2006

Different planets

Filed under: life,Uncategorized — by ichabodisitchy @ 6:19 pm

I read an article called ‘Different planets‘ in the Guardian’s G2 today… Apparently, Niger is the most dangerous place to have a baby in– 1 in 7 women die during childbirth. This compared to 1 in 28,900 in Sweden (the world’s ‘safest’ place to give birth).

I find this completely shocking. The idea of dying during childbirth has always seemed, to me, something that I might read about in one of the Victorian novels I’m so fond of. I had no idea that having a baby was still such a risky business for people today. And it seems all the more shocking because one tends to think of child-birth as a ‘natural’ phenomenon– one that has been going on for millenia…

The conditions that the women featured in the G2 article have to give birth in are truly shocking–lack of midwives (those they do have, hover by with the only piece of equipment available to them to help in a delivery– a razorblade), temperatures of 40C or more and, of course, zero pain-relief. On top of this, the culture is such that the husbands of these women offer little, or no, support– the women are left to wander to hospital by themselves, give birth alone (and in silence) and then find their way home (often over large distances) a couple of hours later, with or without a baby.

I don’t know if it’s because I am now in my 30s and painfully aware of my biological clock, but this article made me feel so sad– of course I know that living conditions in many developing countries (particularly those in Africa) is pretty grim but these women seem to have such a hard time. It reminds me that I am truly lucky to know that when the time comes for me, the risk will be minimal, the epidurals will be plenty and I will have a loving husband to hold my hand all the way.

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1 Comment »

  1. Well, I find this very interesting, as well as tragic, as I was firmly told off by some blogger recently who had a go at western medicine being less good than other (unspecified) medical systems. Turned out she lives in some unspecified African country.
    This is indeed very sad indeed, for my part I wish that the full benefits of western medicine were available to all, despite the misguided political (?) convictions of some people, which lead to lost lives.

    Comment by Web editor — October 3, 2006 @ 8:21 pm |Reply


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