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Amazing documentary tonight on BBC1 at 10.35pm - Four Born Every Second - a kind of global OBEM

(215 Posts)
MmeLindor Mon 19-Nov-12 19:25:23


I saw a preview today and it is both shocking and inspiring.

287,000 women die from pregnancy related causes every year, 99% of them in developing countries.

The film shows the difference between UK and US births and those in Cambodia and Sierra Leone.

It does contain quite distressing scenes of still birth, so maybe not for you if you are currently pregnant.

I blogged about it today (link on profile) to give you an idea what it is about and will be watching again tonight.

duchesse Tue 20-Nov-12 23:33:39

mini- of course a great many people responded yes on that thread! You don't generally get people going onto a thread of that nature to say "actually, no, I had easy births and not a hint of risk".

Also I think it's worth considering that medical intervention that doesn't kill the mother and/or baby has been available in the developed world including the UK for three generations, which might conceivably be contributing to retaining certain attributes that might otherwise be lost through "natural selection", in other words maternal and infant mortality.

MmeLindor Tue 20-Nov-12 23:57:55

Not 1 in 8 pregnancies, but 1 in 8 women die in childbirth.

So if a woman has 5 or 6 births, often very close gaps between children, she gets weaker and weaker over the years.

The interview I posted earlier with the film-maker, Brian Hill - he said that in Sierra Leone everyone knows someone who has died in childbirth. It is very unusual in western countries, but part of life there.

duchesse Wed 21-Nov-12 00:18:40

33% of the population living to 100 is only scary if those people are in poor health. Since in all likelihood they will be the healthiest generation ever, will be working till they're over 80 (if retirement age is 70 now for people currently aged 30-40, it'll be way more than that by then), they will hardly be a burden in what will their late middle age!

honeytea Wed 21-Nov-12 07:42:01

The idea that lots of tests makes pregnancy safer is not true in Sweden where I live. A woman giving birth in Sweden is around 50% less likely to die in childbirth than a woman giving birth in the Uk, the infant mortality rate in twice as high in the UK.

In Sweden you get one scan at 20 weeks, the midwife listens to the baby's heartbeat at around 25 weeks, they take your blood sugar and blood preasure about once a month. There is little choice when it comes to birth, no water births, no home births. If you hae a high BMI they don't give you consultant care, no gestational diabetes test. Really it is all very very scarily hands off, but it seems to work. I know this is lots more testst than a woman in a developing country would have, but also lots less tests than a British woman would have.

Once the baby is born the "rules" are very relaxed, they suggest co-sleeping but don't tell you how to do it safely, no one even mentions formula feeding. The attitude is that you just need to get on with it.

I wonder if the maternal and infant deaths would be lower if the Swedes tested more like the NHS do.

PolkadotCircus Wed 21-Nov-12 08:02:00

Mini I disagree the MSf doc said a lot of these women wouldn't be in such a dire situation if they'd had the tests and pre-natal care before hand.

FunnysInLaJardin Wed 21-Nov-12 11:15:01

I tried to watch this on Iplayer last night and after 10 mins was advised 'I didn't have enough band width'. Very frustrating. I will try again tonight as it looked very interesting and illuminating.

I am also rather dissapointed that the discussion on here is not about the global injustices of poverty, but rather that someone in the UK might have <gasp> children and be on benefits. Spectacularly missing the point I would say. Why not reserve your ire for the factors which lead 1 in 8 women to die in childbirth. Now that truly is shocking

ginnybag Wed 21-Nov-12 11:56:10

WRT different countries and different rates, has anyone ever factored in genotype?

(This is NOT a post about Race, btw, simply about genetic differential!)

There have been studies done on heart disease, cancer etc etc but not aware of one for pregnancy complications etc.

There are so many factors that it would be a tough one to trial, but hearing that Sweden does less in pregnancy and delivery but has better results than the UK makes me wonder. Sweden is more genotype homogeneous than the UK, and definitely than the US. Is that a part of it? We had lower incidence rates 60 years ago, when communities were smaller and the population less diverse. What about the US? Canada? Australia?

Is there an equivalent '3rd world' country that shows better results, despite similar conditions.

I remember reading something, somewhere, years ago about the 'order' in which newborns were 'hardiest', and caucasian female babies did best.

I ask the question because I'm wondering if, by some bastard twist, the very women and children with the most against them background wise, and the least access to compensating factors are also the ones most likely disposed to issues.

And I ask, because it might be another way to tackle it. Poverty in Africa won't make the headlines, something like this might, if only because some people need it to be relevant in their own back yard before they'll give a damn.

honeytea Wed 21-Nov-12 12:16:14

That's interesting Ginny.

Sweden is actually more diverse in terms of modern immigration than the UK, close to 20% of Swedes were born in a foreign country where as the UK figure is close to 10%. The climate is very harsh here so maybe the survival of the fittest has made the indigenous Swedes hardy people.

The level of poverty is low and the gap between rich and poor is smaller than the UK, maybe that makes a difference.

mumwithtwokids Wed 21-Nov-12 12:56:39

FunnysInLaJardin - The program highlighted so many things particular how tough and injust life is for so many mother's in other countries. Not only do they get zero help from the state but they and their children are also denied all aspect of basic healthcare however this problem has always been there. The whole benefits system in this country is a very sore point because it's terribly abused by some, not appreciated by others and those who desperately need help get f**k all - some of the things my husband has had to witness is absolutely disgraceful.

With regards to posts asking where the fathers are - some of these women have children through choice but there are also many who fall pregnant because they have been raped, sometimes this happens repeatedly and also affects children. Just before the world cup there was another documentary which was called 'The Real Johannesburgh' which focused on this problem. It's awful that women have to live this way.

MmeLindor Wed 21-Nov-12 12:58:57

That is an interesting point, Ginny. I haven't seen research on that, but will have a look.

I suspect though that you would have to look beyond maternal health care, eg average age of the mother, support in workplace, maternity leave, general health care when the mother was a child, nutrition etc

Perhaps the Swedes are more used to making decisions themselves, and trusting their instincts, rather than sticking to a prenatal health check chart.

I would also question how they deal with worries of the mother. Can they swiftly access a scan if they have concerns, and how does that compare with UK.

honeytea Wed 21-Nov-12 13:12:32

They are very very good in Sweden about giving scans if the mother is worried, although 1 scan is normal I have had a 12 week scan as I was worried about downs syndrome, also a 32 week scan because I was worried about the size of the baby's head, these are not routine scans but they were very kind and let me have them anyway.

olgaoctopus Wed 21-Nov-12 15:19:24

I would imagine the difference between Sweden and the UK is more to do with socio economic factors than medical care per se.

FunnysInLaJardin Wed 21-Nov-12 22:22:54

I managed to watch all of it tonight. Stunning programme. And so sad about the poor baby in Cambodia.

The thing that struck me was how sad the Cambodian woman and her family looked. Far different from the others featured.

Medicins Sans Frontier do a fantastic job, and very telling that Sierra Leone is so rich yet it's citizens are living in the dark ages.

Something more must be done to redistribute wealth on a global scale.

MmeLindor Wed 21-Nov-12 22:35:44

I am guessing that they were still struggling with the abuse and abandonment of the father, and the fact that he had infected the mother with HIV. Poor little boy had a lot to deal with.

FunnysInLaJardin Wed 21-Nov-12 22:47:02

yes Mme far more than a 12 yo boy should have to deal with.

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