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Much Birth Junkie!Geekery Below

Posted on 2006.14.03 at 17:23
How I feel about it all: geekygeeky
Soundtrack: Traffic outside and tokka-takka-tikka on the keyboard
Tags: , , ,
kukupello (and others on my flist from Finland) might be interested to know that as of 1997, Finland has the lowest infant mortality rate in the world, with 3.9 out of 1000 infant deaths in the first year of life.

The others in the top five are:

2.Singapore (4.0)
3. Japan (4.0)
5.Switzerland (5.0)

mr_t00by, you might want to tell your friends in Munich that Germany ranks ninth with 5.1 out of 1000.

Anyone want to guess where the UK, Canada and the US are on the list?

The UK and Canada are at #23 and #24 respectively, both with 6.2 (although I don't know why they don't share a ranking instead of the UK being first, considering it's a tie. #2 and #3 are tied, too, so I dunno.
The U.S is at #30, with 7.3. Former Secretary of Health and Human Services, Dr. Louis Sullivan, called the US performance "shameful and unconscionable".

After a bit of googling (I got the original stats from my ALACE training materials), the stats have gotten a little better since 1997, when this list was published, and Singapore has overtaken Sweden by a small fraction. Also, to put everything in perspective, the highest rate is Angola, with 191.2, which is tragic.

More stats:

The infant mortality rate for black infants was twice that for white infants from 1998-2000. Poverty and lower levels of education are cited here as a couple of reasons, but I don't see a citation of source for that info.

Hispanic infants have a lower IMR than whites. It's speculated by some that this is due to the fact that Hispanic women are more likely to use midwives (in Texas in 1986, when midwives attended 5,832 births for mostly Hispanic women, the IMR for the midwives was 3.6 per 1000, compared to the doctor's rate of 9 (Stats from ALACE CBE training manual, quoted from Friends of Homebirth Newsletter).

I'm getting SO much information out of this course, and I'm just finishing the reading on the first module.

Oh, and book rec for anyone who either is or whose partner or loved one is thinking about becoming pregnant, is pregnant, or is either a birth professional or might like to be one. Also for anyone, anyone at all who doesn't think that birth is a feminist issue (and a lot of those who dont, surprisingly are women!.

Birth As an American Rite of Passage by Robbie Davis-Floyd

I read parts of the first edition of this book back when I was first starting to investigate All Things Midwife (for a profession, not for myself). I actually didn't read much of it, although it was sitting on my shelf for years. Now I have to buy it again, because I no longer have it, and just reading one part of it that's reprinted in my training manual makes me want to start reading it again right this second (it should be here tomorrow or Thursday at the least). Fortunately, it's one of my required reading books for the course. The books on this list sound so very good, I don't think it's going to be a chore at all to read them. Elizabeth says that what I'm learning with ALACE should dovetail quite nicely with her midwifery course. Speaking of which, I should be able to send off the deposit for THAT programme tomorrow!

Things are going well. Except for not being packed, not having clean clothes, not having pre-trip shopping done yet, not having a set schedule for Mary and Caleb to (alternately) feed my cats/fish. I'm gonna have to force myself to do most of that tomorrow. Ah, my dear friend Procrastination, I can always count on you!


on_a_hill at 2006-03-14 23:30 (UTC) ()
best post ever. may I repost?
try to catch the deluge in a paper cup
primroseburrows at 2006-03-14 23:37 (UTC) ()
Sure! *blush*

(Deleted comment)
try to catch the deluge in a paper cup
primroseburrows at 2006-03-15 15:31 (UTC) ()
You're welcome! Most of this comes from my ALACE training manual. There's just so much info in it!

kupukello at 2006-03-15 07:40 (UTC) ()
:)) Yeah, Finns have been on top of that list for quite a while. (Background: my now retired mother did her life's work as a midwife, most of it as the head of the nurses in the biggest maternity hospital in Finland). The reason for the low infant and prenatal mortality rates is that Finland has had an excellent and free prenatal care system for almost a hundred years already. Midwives handle both the prenatal care and births; doctors get involved only if the midwife can't handle things on her own. Because of the system, "risk mothers" are found very early in the pregnancy and their problems can be addressed right away.

The thing to lure everybody to use the free prenatal care system is that only mothers visiting the maternity clinics get the free "maternity pack" (or money, if they want that instead) AND you need to have a statement from the clinic in order to get the state maternity allowance (about 70% of your salary for about ten months, mothers get that for three months and the last seven months can be split between the mother and father any which way).

Oh, and the child enters "the system" right after the birth: free child health clinics check all children on preset intervals, take care of the shots etc, and once the child goes to school, the school takes over the health care.

As a side note (hee!), even though my mother is a hard-boiled and enthusiastic professional, she was utterly useless when I was giving birth to my daughters (she wasn't my midwife, though). I think the logic in that was something like "EEEEEP! My BABY is having a BABY!!"
try to catch the deluge in a paper cup
primroseburrows at 2006-03-15 15:39 (UTC) ()
Wow. I'm impressed by the maternity pack. So many pretty baby things! And I don't see a bottle or packet of formula anywhere in it, which is another plus.

What kind of school did your mum go to? I'm curious about midwifery in different countries. In the US, there are various paths to becoming a midwife.
kupukello at 2006-03-15 16:24 (UTC) ()
Oh my, you have many!!! O.O

*interrogates Mom* *googles*

My mother became a nurse first, then studied more to become a midwife and public health nurse, and later um, surgigal nurse or what ever that is in English, oh and nursing administration also. *bogles* I didn't even know she had studied that much! She was and has always been a midwife through and through, though.

Nowadays (this is the googling part *g*) there are "EU midwives", their studies last 4.5 years and the students become midwives right away not having to study general nursing first. That degree qualifies them to work as midwives in every European country and other countries that accept the degree.

And no, bottle feeding and even pacifiers are a big no-no here, breastfeeding has been encouraged for a long time now, since 70's or so, even more vigorously since the 80's. My mother just said that she had to secretly breastfeed my big bro (born 1965) and that she was a bit ashamed to do it since it was so "old-fashioned" :))

The maternity pack is a big hit, the clothes and things are of very good quality and all new mommies can't wait to get it :)) Originally in 1920's the pack was just for poor mothers but very soon after that it became a benefit for all mothers. All Finnish babies sleep their first few weeks in that cardboard box, it comes with a mattress :))
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