The birthing experience is really important, isn’t it? We spend lots of time and money on antenatal classes and books before the big day arrives. We write our birth plans. We pack and repack our hospital bags. We wonder what the birth will be like with mixed emotions – excitement and apprehension! For some of us it’s a wonderful experience of near magical proportions, for others it’s horrendous, for others it’s dangerous and life-threatening. But no matter what our birthing experience is like, there’s something about giving birth that unites us women together. To have gone through it and to have come out the other end with a gory story gets you in the club!
But for many women in the world the experience is filled with much more fear and anxiety. Many women lack the care and health services that we so often take for granted in the West.
- Every day, approximately 830 women die from preventable causes related to pregnancy and childbirth.
- 99% of all maternal deaths occur in developing countries.
- Maternal mortality is higher in women living in rural areas and among poorer communities.
The sad fact is that with skilled care before, during and after childbirth, the lives of these women and newborn babies could have been saved.
There’s a great charity which helps to tackle this. They’ve come up with a brilliant idea. You can twin your pregnancy with a pregnancy of a woman in Malawi (Malawi is one of the poorest countries in the world, and a woman in Malawi is 60 times more likely to die having a baby than a woman in the UK). It costs just £40 (that’s £1 for each week of your pregnancy) to support a women and her baby to have a safe delivery. After the baby has been born you even get a photo of the mum and baby to see who you’ve directly helped to have a positive and safe birth experience. As well as that they give you the exact GPS coordinates of where in the world your birthing twin is. Pretty cool!
Giving birth in a hospital maternity unit costs the NHS £1,631. Then on top of that is the cost of health visitors, breast-feeding support workers and Children’s Centres to give support and guidance throughout the early years. These services are free to access, although paid for by taxpayers, and all those staff and resources must add up!
Contrast that with a one-off gift of £40. It’s great value for money. For your gift of £40, the mum-to-be receives: “transport to a health clinic for antenatal check-up; pregnancy advice, emotional support and a listening ear from a local Mother Buddy with a total of 8 visits (3 during pregnancy, 3 in the first week of delivery and 2 follow-up visits); the opportunity to give birth safely at a clinic rather than at home; visits for six months after the birth to give advice on nutrition, hygiene and staying healthy; and help with accessing ARV treatment if she is living with HIV, making sure that her baby is born HIV free.”
Check out this video to find out a bit more:
Listen to this testimony of a mum who was helped by Pregnancy Twinning:
“My Mother Buddy advised me to go to antenatal classes, which I didn’t know about before, and to get treatment for HIV. I was keen to follow her advice and my baby was born HIV negative! We did not know that this was possible, or that an HIV positive mother can breastfeed. She advised me on cooking nutritious meals for my family too. This programme needs to continue and expand so that it can reach other pregnant women in other villages.”
We think it’s a fantastic charity, and so we wanted to raise awareness on here with a few ideas for how you might support it. Here are a few suggestions:
- If you’re pregnant, why not twin your pregnancy?
- If your friend or relative is pregnant why don’t you twin their pregnancy for them, as a gift?
- Perhaps you could organise a friend’s baby-shower? Ask each guest to donate £4, and use the donations to support a woman and baby to have a safe labour. With just 10 guests, the pregnancy would be twinned. A birth experience would be transformed. Lives could be saved.
We decided to twin my pregnancy. It’s exciting knowing that there’s another woman across the world with roughly the same due date as me. I’ll be keeping her in my thoughts and prayers as D-day approaches. I can’t wait to get my photo to see what mum and baby look like – to think that we were able to help them is pretty cool!
If you’re reading this blog and currently pregnant… all the best for the big day!
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