I wish Kate and William well, but there is still too much inequality in childbirth

A Royal baby is on the way as Kate goes into Labour today. The media gather outside of St Mary’s Hospital in London in anticipation of whether it is a boy or a girl.

By Dr Matthew Prior, Save the Children health ambassador

A Royal baby is on the way as Kate goes into Labour today. The media gather outside of St Mary’s Hospital in London in anticipation of whether it is a boy or a girl.

I wish Kate and William a well and the baby a safe journey into the world. But now is a good time to consider the experience of other expectant mums around the world.

I work in Blackpool as an obstetrician delivering babies in the NHS. Apart from the huge media attention it is probably quite similar to Kate’s experience. Despite the hype, St Mary’s do not have a secret way of making childbirth safer or a better experience than much of the NHS does today. 

In most UK hospitals women have their own private labour room when they deliver. St Mary’s looks a bit more spacious and has a TV, but still looks more like a hospital than the Ritz. Trained medical staff are on site 24 hours a day, and ideally women have one to one care by a midwife.

Despite the huge pressures on maternity units and the national shortage of midwives women have a safe experience in the UK.

In Liberia the story is rather different. Most women deliver at home with traditional birth attendants who have no formal training. For the few who do go to see a trained midwife it is a long walk, many of whom deliver on the way by the side of the road like Zinnah.

Sadly in 2013 many women have poor access to health care and still die in Childbirth. In many countries such as Sierra Leone 1 in 100 women still die. In the UK it is more like 1 in 12,000.

Thankfully labour is normal most of the time, and medicalisation of childbirth should be resisted. But should things go wrong in the UK we are fortunate to have free and rapid access to health care. This isn’t the same in Africa. (Anna’s Story)

They say that not everyone is born equal, but in 2013 there is still too much inequality in childbirth.

To help make other women’s experience more similar to Kate’s, please support the Save the Children Build it for Babies Appeal and sign this petition.

One Response to “I wish Kate and William well, but there is still too much inequality in childbirth”

  1. Johnson

    Well said. Keep up the good work.

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