Today midwives and supporters around the world gathered for a symbolic “Walk to Durban.” Next month, midwives from around the world will gather in Durban at the ICM Triennial Congress to discuss ensuring that midwives are part of the solution to the global maternity care crisis.
In Austin, nearly 50 midwives and consumers walked a 5k around Town Lake. Many held signs such as “I love my midwife” and “support midwives.” There were lots of new babies in attendance and even a couple very pregnant mamas. I wish I’d thought to take some pictures of the signs, but I was busy wrangling my kids and helping clients with their little ones.
Here’s a picture of one of my favorite babies who was sporting his favorite midwifery shirt.
It was thrilling to see so many people come out to support midwives, and even more thrilling to see the positive reactions from passers-by. But, I also want to use this important day to highlight the problem.
Did you know that while the US spends FAR more on maternity care than any other country, the maternal mortality rate is higher than 40 other industrialized nations?
What do these other nations with lower maternal mortality rates have in common? Well, midwifery care, of course. Not only midwifery care, but an integrated health care system that encourages collaboration between midwives and physicians and provides women with choices about where they birth.
Did you know that the US maternal death rate has doubled over the past 20 years? Is it a coincidence that during that same time period the US cesarean rate has doubled by over 50%?
Just some food for thought. Still, all the excitement today definitely gives me hope that we are slowly changing the world.