Make Childbirth Safe for All

Join What to Expect and International Medical Corps on Wednesday, July 25, 2018, for the fourth annual #BumpDay, by posting your favorite bump photo on FacebookTwitter or Instagram. Learn more and donate to International Medical Corps here or via

For many moms-to-be, pregnancy is a life-affirming journey, from the moment they see the candy pink lines of a positive pregnancy test to the day they cuddle their newborn for the first time. 

But pregnancy and childbirth have historically been — and unbelievably, continue to be  — dangerous, even life-threatening. Although the maternal mortality rate in the United States declined steadily from 1900 to 1997, a 2016 study revealed that it has started creeping back up  — by far the highest, in fact, in the developed world. Globally, 830 women per day die from complications related to childbirth. For every woman who dies, another 20 to 30 experience life-threatening complications. In 2015 (the year for which we have the most recent data), the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 303,000 women died during pregnancy or childbirth, most of them in developing countries.

Perhaps the worst part: The vast majority of these deaths are preventable, and we know exactly how to prevent them: with universal access to prenatal care, skilled birth attendants, a safe birth space, proper sanitation (including soap and clean water) and infection control during and after delivery, and postpartum care. These basic components of a safe pregnancy and a healthy birth  — so basic that we largely take them for granted  — significantly increase both mom’s and baby’s chances of survival and improve their long- and short-term health, no matter where in the world they live.

Yet sadly, too many moms and babies around the world don’t get the care they need, and far too often, they get no care at all. The most vulnerable  — those living in areas of extreme poverty, hunger, natural disaster and conflict  — typically suffer the most. In Syria, women who’ve fled brutal civil war are displaced from their homes and forced to deliver their babies in makeshift settings, with few or no resources. In South Sudan, a region where civil war has raged for over 50 years and violence, displacement, hunger and disease are rampant, the maternal mortality rate is the highest in the world  — with 1 in 7 women likely to die in childbirth during their reproductive lifetimes. In Afghanistan, which rivals South Sudan when it comes to maternal death rates, infant mortality is also astronomically high  — 119 babies dying for every 1,000 live births. In areas of West Africa  — like Liberia and Sierra Leone  — where the Ebola epidemic devastated an already fragile health care system, rates of maternal death are expected to rise by as much as 100 percent. In the United States, moms of color bear the highest risk, with black moms dying three and a half times more often of pregnancy-related complications or in childbirth than white moms.

How can this be? How can it be that in 2018, moms and babies are still dying of preventable causes — both here at home and abroad? This is heartbreaking — and unacceptable.

And it doesn’t have to be this way. We can help put preventable maternal and infant death in the past and help deliver healthier beginnings and healthier futures for all moms and babies  — and you can help.

For the fourth year in a row, What to Expect is proud to team up with International Medical Corps to support healthy pregnancies worldwide on #BumpDay. Through the What to Expect Healthy Birth Project, this partnership has pledged to deliver 1 million more healthy moms and their babies over the next five years. And you can help us reach that goal by participating in #BumpDay Wednesday, July 25, 2018, on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

#BumpDay is the only day devoted to healthy pregnancies and safe delivery, and it’s easy to participate. Just post your bump (past or present) or the bump of someone you love on FacebookTwitter and Instagram with the hashtag #BumpDay. Raise awareness about the need for better maternal and infant health care, too, among your friends, family and followers, by posting messages and encouraging them to join the conversation.

You can also help by donating, or inviting others to donate. All donations provide the most vulnerable women and children with the resources they need most: regular prenatal visits and checkups; access to highly skilled midwives, nurses and doctors; and basic equipment needed to deliver a baby safely, like soap and clean water, gloves and surgical scissors. Your donations will also allow The Healthy Birth Project and International Medical Corps to support existing health care infrastructure like midwifery schools and prenatal clinics as well as make sure that health professionals are equipped to provide emergency newborn and obstetric care.

They’ll help women like Dhiba, who was nine months pregnant when she fled the civil war in Syria. She made it to the Azraq Refugee Camp in Jordan, where she gave birth in a 24-hour International Medical Corps clinic to a healthy baby girl, named Amnah.

Your donations will help women like Amelia, who was living with her family in a refugee camp in South Sudan when fighting broke out around them. Although they initially fled, they returned when Amelia went into labor. Thanks to an International Medical Corps-trained ob-gyn, Amelia was able to deliver a healthy baby girl in a makeshift hospital even as the fighting raged around them. Amelia named her daughter Mujwok, which means “Gift from God.”

Every bump, like every baby that will follow, is one-of-a-kind. But every woman deserves access to the care she needs and deserves to safely deliver a healthy future for the baby she loves. Every day, moms-to-be and babies around the world die from easily preventable causes. This #BumpDay, let’s commit — together — to make sure that never happens again.

Join What to Expect and International Medical Corps on Wednesday, July 25, 2018, for the fourth annual #BumpDay, by posting your favorite bump photo on FacebookTwitter or Instagram. Learn more and donate to International Medical Corps here or via


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