Today an avid reader sent me a link to a few short interviews with the great Ina May Gaskin conducted by Mindful Mama Magazine about a very sad, but very real phenomenon: maternal deaths in the United States. I felt that these interviews were so well done that I just had to share them with all of you.
Ina May Gaskin is a Certified Professional Midwife (CPM) and is the founder (along with her husband) and director of The Farm Midwifery Center in Tennessee. She is the author of Spiritual Midwifery (1975) and Ina Mays Guide to Childbirth (2003), two incredible books that every woman who has ever had a child, is pregnant, or is thinking about becoming pregnant should read!!
Spiritual Midwifery is THE book that changed my life, my outlook on the birth process, and my career goals. Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth is similar in style to Spiritual Midwifery, but has a much broader appeal and a more modern style. Ina May has been a home birth midwife for more than 35 years and is the founder of the Safe Motherhood Quilt Project, a national effort developed to draw public attention to the current maternal death rate, as well as to the gross underreporting of maternal deaths in the United States, and to honor those women who have died of pregnancy-related causes since 1982.
These interview clips are part of Rites of Passage, an exclusive video series and art/photo/ essay contest hosted by Mindful Mama Magazine that engages mothers across the country in a dialogue about childbirth and the transformation of new motherhood. During the interview Gaskin speaks to the disturbing reality that 1) the United States lacks of a comprehensive, confidential system of ascertainment of maternal death designed to record and analyze every maternal death that occurs in the United States and 2) not all 50 states have questions on their death certificates that specifically ask about a woman’s pregnancy status (i.e. was she pregnant, postpartum, or within 1 year of delivering a baby) making our countries maternal mortality rates based solely on vital statistics data. (And as an registered nurse who has had to fill out death certificates a time or two as a medical-surgical nurse I can attest to the truth of this!) In reality the Center for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that our current maternal mortality rate is actually an underestimate and that our true maternal mortality rate could be as much as 3 TIMES HIGHER related to misclassification of the number of deaths that are truly happening.
So check out these videos and let me know what you think!!
PREVENTING LOSS PART 1
PREVENTING LOSS PART 2
THE SAFE MOTHERHOOD QUILT PROJECT