Standing tall for Mothers: birth control abroad, guns at home, and death

By: Andrea Chamblee
Published On: 5/18/2007 12:01:40 AM

Cross posted on Beltway Progressive.
I had learned that bleeding is a common cause of death in pregnancy. It is endemic in the third world, such as Afghanistan. It is a problem that may get worse depending on the youth of the mother. In poor countries, the loss of small amounts of blood are especially dangerous due to the high rate of malaria and anemia that already weakens the moms. The lack of refrigeration makes blood transfusions almost impossible. The AIDS rate means a transfusion cure can be worse than the disease, anyway.

Without birth control and health care, these moms may die, sometimes during their fourth or fifth pregnancy, malnourished and exhausted from multiple, closely-spaced births. Often they are still nursing the previous child. This means most moms that die in childbirth leave orphans behind. If only they could space their pregnancies, they would have more strength, a better chance at life and at mothering their existing children. In cultures where men are not active in child rearing, these children are often left to suffer, starve, and die.

In the US, prior to the prevalence of handwashing and other aseptic techniques, rates of deaths from abortions and pregnancies were about the same. Midwives had better survivial rates, probably because doctors performed their work more often in dirty cities. As doctors tried to corner the market on obstetrics, in 1951 they formed the Amrican College of Obstetrics and Gynecologists, and to reduce the influence of midwives they successfully lobbied to outlaw abortions which till then had been undistrurbed in most states.

More recently, in the US sepsis is not so much a problem any more. Bleeding death rates have also reduced. Curious of what pregnancy-associated issue may have taken its place, some scientists have followed pregnant women for a year to see what their health issues are today.

The most common cause of death was injury. The most common cause of injury was homicide. The most common cause of homicide was guns. The moms were shot, usually by the father of her baby.

In North Carolina 1992-94In New York City 1987-1991.

In Chicago 1986-89.  In young mothers

Back to the third world, I see a story on NOVA tonight with another cautionary take of about the effect of the lack of birth control. It involved a Turkish woman who had 19 children. The first 7 children were born within 5 years. Overcome with the burden of raising them, many of her children never learned to walk upright. They walk on all fours, stuck in a baby's crawl. The daughters dispair of never dancing, never being able to marry. Their bone structure now may never be able to support them to walk upright.

Hiding behind "pro-family" rhetoric, neo-conservatives continue their deathly policies. With inadequate background checks and waiting periods for gun purchases, pregnancy can be a death sentence in the US. In poor countries, refusing to acknowlege the desperate need for birth control is ending lives of women and their children.
Maternal mortality remains the leading cause of death for women of childbearing age-an estimated 500,000 women die each year from pregnancy related causes, with 78,000 deaths resulting from unsafe abortion. Having access to safe, appropriate family planning methods and safe abortion when needed, can make the difference in women's lives. It can prevent dangers from pregnancies ...

Save lives with your vote. Check out the politicians on these issues at the portal at Planned Parenthood.


Absolutely a must-read diary (Dianne - 5/18/2007 9:08:12 AM)
Thank you Andrea for taking the time to write this important and well-written diary.  There's nothing more I could say that would add to your excellent discussion...other than I'm joining Planned Parenthood today!  Thank you again!