Numerous mothers and newborns can be saved

Saturday was the international midwives day. In Norway local midwives gathered in downtown Stavanger to raise money for training of birth attandants in Afghanistan and to create awareness around the vast numbers of unnecessary tragedies occurring in connection with pregnancy and childbirth, primarily in poor developing countries. For the event the midwives had brought with them a couple of MamaNatalie birth simulators, developed locally by Laerdal Global Health (LGH).

340,000 women, 3 million children
- Every year more than 340,000 women and 3 million children die in connection with pregnancy and birth. With access to skilled birth attendants, many could be saved. We're now collecting money for birthing simulators, as this equipment can contribute to valuable training, says Anikken Forgaard, midwife at Stavanger University Hospital (SUS) and head of the Norwegian Association of Midwives in Rogaland county.

The leading cause of death among pregnant women, is excess bleeding after the placenta is delivered. In addition to several other conditions, the birth simulator can also help to prevent post partum hemorrhage.

- With MamaNatalie you can also practice massaging of the uterus. This stops the bleeding and saves many lives, says Forgaar.

The baby manikin inside the simulator can be used to practice resuscitation of newborns, including cardiopulmonary resuscitation.

- Very basic stimulation is all it takes to save many of the the newborns who die today, says Signe Egenberg, practice development midwife at SUS.

- Great
Jane Stava was among those who were able to try out as a midwife in downtown Stavanger. Though herself a mother of four, she had never experienced being at the other end.

- It was great. It must be a wonderful profession. So rewarding and so important, says Stava elated afterwards. The experience was instructive. - I've never thought of having to pull the umbilical cord. Now I'm ready to give birth to Sophie, Stava said, nodding at her daughter Sophie Nora.

Some facts from the midwifery association:

  • Each year there are 136 million births in the world
  • Each year around 343,000 women die and 7 million women are injured in connection with pregnancy and childbirth
  • 80 percent of maternal deaths are caused by the five following conditions: haemorrhage, infection, unsafe abortions, labor failing to progress and eclampsia
  • More than 60 percent of all maternal deaths occur in six countries: India, Nigeria, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Ethiopia and Congo. Mortality is highest in rural communities
  • 99 percent of maternal deaths occur in developing countries
  • The risk of death related to pregnancy and childbirth is 1 of 14 in Somalia, one of 31 in sub-Saharan Africa, 1 in 4200 in Europe and 1 in 12,500 in Norway
  • Every year 3.1 million babies die before, during or immediately after birth - most in developing countries
  • Only 63 percent of the women have a qualified midwife present during birth. In many countries in Africa and Asia the percentage is less than fifty
  • In developed countries more than 99 percent of births take place with a qualified midwife present
  • Up to 90 percent of maternal deaths in the world could have been avoided if everyone had equal access to reproductive healthcare, simple equipment, drug supplies and qualified birth attendants.
For original article in Norwegian: 
More information about Laerdal Global Health (LGH) View MamaNatalie demonstration video