Poor quality maternity care, abuse by health workers, and health systems that are unaccountable to pregnant women and mothers all can subvert efforts brimming over with resources and political will.
On New Year’s morning in January 2003, my life took a shocking turn with my obstetrician uttering three simple but devastating words: no fetal heartbeat. Several attempts to induce labor finally lead us to my first and only daughter’s stillbirth at dawn on Friday, January 3, 2003.
Doctors in North Carolina performed a cesarean section on a woman who was not pregnant. The disciplinary action? A public “letter of concern.” A midwife would have had her license revoked. What’s wrong with this picture?
Angola is the seventh wealthiest nation in Africa. It has oil—and lots of it. But maternal mortality is high and the total fertility rate is nearly seven children per woman, on par with some of the world’s poorest countries.
Melissa Cheyney is a midwife and home birth advocate who has devoted her career to bringing new life into this world and who works to improve relationships between hospital and home birth providers.