Childbirth as a Human Rights Issue.

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Photo: University of Salford

Expressed in an important film.

The film by One World Birth looks at human rights as it pertains to women and childbirth.

And the imprisonment of Agnes Gereb, the Hungarian midwife. She has over three thousand births under her belt, yet because homebirth is illegal in Hungary she sits imprisoned in her own home.

But the film also goes beyond Agnes’s plight. It looks at birth throughout the Western world.

This is an issue close to my own heart. As a childbirth educator, I see women every day who feel like they’ve been steamrolled by the system. Women who feel like everything during their birth was done to them and not for them.

I see women who are told they are not “allowed” to eat food as they labor; not “allowed” to walk or get out of bed during labor (as routine procedure); not “allowed” to have the support team they need; women who’s concerns are brushed off; women who have been told they are inadequate and are not “allowed” to try to labor at all; women who have been sent for c-section because they are laboring too long…

This is way beyond feminism, or civil rights—these are human rights. Compassion begins at birth.

“Birth isn’t something we suffer, but something we actively do and exult in.”

~Sheila Kitzinger

One World Birth needs to raise money for this film. If you are interested in helping, please click here.

Also check out what Lamaze International is up to with their new campaign, Push for Your Baby. Makes me proud to be part of the Lamaze organization.

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About Deena Blumenfeld

Deena Blumenfeld RYT, RPYT, LCCE is a certified Yoga instructor at the 200 hr level, a certified Khalsa Way™ Prenatal Yoga instructor and a Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator. She is also a mom of two – a son, born via c-section and a daughter, her VBAC. She is an active member of the local ICAN chapter and a member of the Coalition for Improving Maternity Services. Deena is also the owner of Shining Light Prenatal Education, where she teaches prenatal yoga, childbirth education, breastfeeding and much more.


6 Responses to “Childbirth as a Human Rights Issue.”

  1. nylassej says:

    Thanks for this post! Aspiring midwife here – YES this is a human rights issue. It used to be framed as a "women's" issue and more recently as a "consumer" issue, which, admittedly is a good tactic when it comes to lobbying and the way things (unfortunately) work in the U.S., but denying the root HUMANITY of birth is a major problem, for women, families and care providers.

  2. climblaughlive says:

    Thank you for this post! Passionate student nurse midwife here! I work now as a post-partum nurse and I share tears of sorrow with women who ended up with primary c-cections and I share tears of joy with women who have successful VBACs. My personal vow is to help birth be viewed as a HUMAN rights issue. I am reminded every day just how backwards our country is when it comes to birth and "birth choices"….there are nearly none and if you dare make an informed choice you will be criticized, amongst other things. This film is hugely important and I will definitely be there to donate $$ in its support.

  3. HiD says:

    Canadian student midwife here. Yes this is important! If we don't allow women to birth on their own, our bodies will evolve to permanently need medical assistance to birth. As mammals, if we watch how other mammals birth we could learn a thing or two about how the process works. Last time my dog gave birth under the stairs she did it all by herself….

  4. Birth really is a human rights issue! According to the 2011 State of the World’s Midwifery Report by the UNFPA, approximately 350,000 women die while pregnant or giving birth every year— almost 1,000 a day. Of these women, 99 percent die in developing countries. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), “Investing in health systems—especially in midwife training and in making emergency obstetric care available round-the-clock—is key to reducing maternal mortality”, yet more then 58 countries lack enough qualified midwives to provide timely access to skilled healthcare for mothers and infants.

    That's why Midwife International has partnered with Mother Health International to bridge the maternal healthcare gap by offering a 1-year midwifery training program that combines hands-on skills training and academic study with leadership education. Learn more about the program serve mothers and babies while studying midwifery in Haiti, Uganda, Cambodia, Guatemala, Jamaica or Kenya in 2013:

  5. *hugs* to all the Midwives, Educators, Doctors, Doulas and other birth workers who are working for change. Love and Light to you all!

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