On Thought Leader last week I wrote about Aidan’s birth, and what it taught me about the astonishing feat that is childbirth. From the piece:
When my wife Michelle gave birth to our first child, Aidan, last year, I learned some things about the world. I learned that nature doesn’t take prisoners. That labour wards are only pragmatic places, designed to extract one human being from another. And that every news headline, every day, should read ”Woman gives birth to child”.
A hundred years ago, Michelle would not have survived Aidan’s birth. She had a post-partum haemorrhage (PPH), the condition that still kills more new mothers than anything else.
The simplest drug treatment for PPH is Misoprostol. But in many hospitals, especially in the developing world, nurses and midwives aren’t allowed to give Misoprostol (apparently because it can also be used to induce abortion). Only doctors are allowed to prescribe it, even though there are often no doctors around to do so. And many, many women die as a result. It is the most terrifying evidence of our world’s callous misogyny.