Flat on my back, legs reluctantly spread, covered by a flimsy, paper apron under fluorescent lights, my obstetrician said, “You’ll feel me touch you” as he inserted his fingers and metal cranks inside me.
Forget that this inspection wasn’t necessary, not backed by evidence that it would benefit my health or my pregnancy. The procedure wasn’t explained; I was told what was happening as it was happening.
Like the over one million women from 114 countries who participated in White Ribbon Alliance’s What Women Want campaign, respect and dignity were/are what I desire(d) in health care. White Ribbon Alliance is a global advocacy movement for reproductive, maternal and newborn health and rights, comprised of a network of affiliated alliances, networks, coalitions and individuals.
My first experience becoming a mother pales in comparison to what some women endure, but it was enough to drive me to seek out the midwifery model of care in my subsequent pregnancies.
In addition to respect in health care, White Ribbon Alliance’s campaign found that in the top demands globally, the request for more midwives and better-supported nurses was overwhelming.
In response, they launched What Women Want: Midwives’ Voices, Midwives’ Demands campaign which asked midwives what they need to be successful in their role to ensure that women and girls receive the respectful and dignified care they deserve.
The survey collection has closed, but the final results will be released on May 5th, International Day of the Midwife. This year’s theme: 100 Years of Progress.
The efficacy of the midwifery model of care is undisputable.
The World Health Organization (WHO) documents how midwife-led care improves pregnancy and birth outcomes.
ProPublica’s Lost Mothers series details how midwifery care could improve maternal infant mortality rates and other deficits in U.S. maternity and neonatal care.
Research shows that mothers whose births were attended by a midwife were twice as likely to breastfeed at six months than those whose births were attended by an obstetrician.
Midwives play a key role in reducing racial disparities in maternal health care too.
This Women’s History Month, let’s honor the women making history by hearing their demands and acting to secure a healthy future, investing in another century of quality midwifery care.
We recommend listening to White Ribbon Alliances’ podcast Brave Voices, Bold Actions to hear firsthand why midwifery care is so crucial.
More personal stories are shared through the CDC’s Hear Her campaign, created in response to the over 700 maternal deaths in the U.S. each year, two thirds of which could be prevented.
Don’t forget to sign up to stay connected with White Ribbon Alliance and stay up to date on their latest findings and campaigns.