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Never Underestimate the Power of a Stool With a Cause

 infant mortality, "birthing stool", Ghana MDG, maternal health, birth position

Today there will be roughly 200,000 babies born into the world. To put that into perspective, that’s just shy of the entire population of Richmond, Virginia which boasts 205,000 or so residents. Progress towards meeting UN Millennium goals 4 & 5 are gaining more and more momentum, largely due in part towards the push to increase the presence of Front Line Health Workers in the most under-served countries.

But what is a mom to be to do to help herself and her baby’s outcomes? The answer may lie in her position during delivery. Recently, the ‘Birthing Stool’ has seen resurgence in popularity. It’s widely accepted that the supine or laying flat on her back is the most popular delivery position with more than half of women adopting it . Is it always the best option? Not necessarily. There are strong cases made for the reduction of injury and even back labor pains to both mom and baby if the woman is sitting or squatting while in active labor.

Let’s take a look at a recent report out of Ghana indicating the successful results achieved when the birthing stools are incorporated. As a strategy to prevent Ghanaian women from dying a maternal death, Mrs Juliet Magdalene Acquah, an expert in safe motherhood skills, has initiated birthing stools, designed for sitting and squatting during labour to make the process easier for pregnant women.”

The results so far are impressive. More women are seeking out supervised deliveries, where many had previously given birth at home. This is a huge accomplishment as Ghana struggles to change the perception of health facility assisted births in more remote locations. The reduction of complications such as obstetric fistula and perineal tears is encouraging.

The fantastic Birthing Stool pictured with this blog is available at Rubylane

a.e.cote, 2013