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the mommyhood memos: bloggers for birth kits: help reduce maternal mortality

Monday, May 2, 2011

bloggers for birth kits: help reduce maternal mortality

Every minute a women dies of complications related to pregnancy and childbirth. Ninety-nine percent of these deaths occur in developing nations.  For every woman who dies in childbirth, another 30 women incur injuries and infections, which are often preventable. (Source: World Health Organization.)

Chances are if you’re a mother reading this blog, you are not one of them. Most likely you delivered your baby safely and hygienically in a hospital, birth center, or possibly even at home under the expertise of an experienced midwife. (Unless you are Amy who delivered hers on the side of the road!)

No doubt you had access to doctors, nurses, midwives, and other medical professionals throughout your pregnancy, delivery, and postnatal care, as well as access to drugs and medication and surgical procedures when necessary.

But hundreds of thousands of mothers around the world aren’t as lucky as you.

The organization that my husband and I volunteer for (YWAM Medical Ships) regularly sends teams of volunteer doctors, dentists, optometrists, ophthalmologists, nurses, midwives, educators, and other volunteers to address the needs of the poor in Papua New Guinea. (This is where Ryan is now.) We provide dental services, eyeglasses, cataract surgeries, vaccines, primary health care, education, and other crucial services to those who most need it.

{my friend and coworker, jennifer perry, distributes birth kits to women in rural papua new guinea.}

We have campaigns going all over the world to gather toothbrushes, toothpaste, eyeglasses, and other medical supplies… but we are running desperately low on birthing kits.

This is where you come in.

Bloggers for Birth Kits is a simple initiative from the Mommyhood Memos to rally bloggers to reach out and help other moms in Papua New Guinea. These moms may live in a different nation to you, speak another language, look a little different, or have a very different lifestyle… but they are mothers with the same heart. Mothers who desire to deliver healthy, happy babies just as we do. (The idea was born out of this post: Four Healthy Mamas, Four Healthy Babies as well as the positive feedback I got from other bloggers in the comments, emails, and tweets that ensued.)

Because in rural Papua New Guinea... 1 in 7 women die in childbirth and that rate is simply unacceptable.

There are plenty of resources in the world to help these mothers and babies... they just need to be collected and redistributed.

So why not consider giving back from what you’ve received in order to help another mom deliver her own baby safely?

It’s so easy to make a difference. Here’s a few ways that you can get involved:

1. Make a birth kit of your own and send it to us. We will distribute it within the poorest regions of Papua New Guinea through the YWAM Medical Ship. (Instructions on assembly below.) Mail your kit to: 
    Bloggers for Birth Kits c/o Adriel Booker
    YWAM Ships
    PO Box 6221
    Townsville, QLD 4810

2. Make a donation to YWAM Medical Ships designating Bloggers for Birth Kits in the comments section and we will assemble/distribute a kit on your behalf. $10 can provide five mums and babies with kits. All funds go directly toward supplies and distribution.

3. Blog about this initiative and rally others to join in the cause.

4. Display the Bloggers for Birth Kits badge on your blog. 
The Mommyhood Memos Bloggers for Birth Kits

5. Share this post with others. Tweet this post using the hashtag #B4BirthKits, link to this post on your facebook, or email this post to friends and family, church and social groups that you think might be interested in getting involved.

How to make a birth kit:

According to the Birthing Kit Foundation birth kits are very simple, containing six basic items:
  • 1 plastic sheet (approximately 1m x 1m or 1 yard x 1 yard) – for a clean birthing surface; to prevent mother and child from coming into contact with the floor or ground
  • 1 bar of soap – for clean hands; to prevent the birth attendant from transmitting germs to mother and baby; for cleaning the stump to prevent infection
  • 1 pair of plastic gloves – for clean hands; to prevent the birth attendant from transmitting germs to mother and baby
  • 1 sterile scalpel blade – for a clean cut of the umbilical cord
  • 3 cords/pieces of strong string (24cm or 10 inches long) – for clean ties for the umbilical cord (with an extra string included just-in-case); to prevent bleeding from the umbilical cord from mother and baby
  • 5 gauze squares – to wipe secretions from the baby’s eyes and mothers perineum

If you’d like to assemble one yourself, it’s simple. Just gather the above items, prepare a clean surface, wash your hands thoroughly, and assemble the items into a normal sized ziplock bag. The idea is that the kits are small enough to pack in large quantities (space is incredibly limited on our ship) and simple enough to not deter women who are accustomed to very little medical services and who often are illiterate.

Since I am not purchasing supplies in bulk, my kit cost me a total of $3.10 to make at home – still a very minimal price for the chance at life! 

This vlog is a demonstration of how to put a birthing kit together. (Listen to the story at the beginning, or fast-forward to the middle for step-by-step instructions for assembling a kit yourself.)

Dear friends, please let me know if you’d like to participate. Leave me a comment below (include any questions that you have) and make sure that I have your email address. Let’s get started immediately!

in support of moms everywhere,

Update May 10, 2011: In six days we've had 637 kits donated/sponsored, 37 blog posts, 200+ links on facebook (I lost track after that), and tons of tweets. Absolutely incredible. Well done ladies (and gentlemen)! You ARE making a difference by giving and by spreading the word. Thank you.

Note: Photos courtesy of YWAM Medical Ship's I Want to Live campaign in Papua New Guinea. 

adriel booker | the mommyhood memos | 2011
do not reproduce without written permission

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At May 3, 2011 at 12:59 AM , Blogger Cari said...

God Bless! Done and done.

Thanks for sharing this and letting us be a part of it:)


At May 3, 2011 at 1:16 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is great, thanks for bringing the awareness. How can I send you my email address? I'd like to post a link on my fb page and blog if you are okay with it! :)

At May 3, 2011 at 3:12 AM , Blogger Pam said...

I've shared on my blog, fb and twitter! Glad to help spread the word!

At May 3, 2011 at 3:35 AM , Blogger Casey Martinez said...

I too would love to pass this along on facebook by sharing a link to your blog if you don't mind? I def. plan on participating!

At May 3, 2011 at 12:05 PM , Blogger Heather M said...

What a wonderful cause, I will do what I can to help! I just cant imagine what a wonderful organization!

At May 3, 2011 at 1:31 PM , Blogger Adriel (The Mommyhood Memos) said...

anonymous, i don't know how to respond to you since you left no link or email. hoping you check back here!

please leave your email here or email me at themommyhoodmemos{at}gmail{dot}com. thanks!!

At May 3, 2011 at 2:42 PM , Blogger Melissa (Confessions of a Dr. Mom) said...

What a wonderful cause Adriel. Count me in to donate $. Let me know where I can send it.

At May 4, 2011 at 12:25 AM , Blogger Lindsey said...

Great cause. I'm headed over to the site to donate now. Add 5 kits to the count.

Lindsey @

At May 4, 2011 at 1:27 AM , Blogger flyrish said...

This is an awesome cause. I would love to participate and donate. I will try to get a blog post up (linking back here) this week!

At May 4, 2011 at 3:12 AM , Blogger Adriel (The Mommyhood Memos) said...

very exciting ladies!! thank you! as of today there have been 8 other blog posts about this and 26 birth kits sponsored already. thanks for helping to get the ball rolling on this important issue!! x

At May 4, 2011 at 3:43 AM , Blogger Mandy said...

Such a great cause!!! Will be donating for sure! :)

At May 4, 2011 at 6:46 AM , Anonymous Gemma said...

This totally stopped me in my tracks and caught my heart, a great cause.

I have shared this on my blog, twitter and fb.

At May 4, 2011 at 1:12 PM , Blogger Adriel (The Mommyhood Memos) said...

We're up to 60 birth kits in 2 days! Woohoo!!! Amazing.

At May 5, 2011 at 10:42 AM , Blogger Cameron said...

Hey I shared this on my blog!! Hope it helps!!

At May 5, 2011 at 12:50 PM , Blogger Ro Little said...

I know what I'm giving all the moms on my list now. Thank you for this beautiful idea and wonderful cause. I'm going to post this on my blog as well.
Happy Mother's Day!
Ro Little

At May 5, 2011 at 2:01 PM , Blogger nicole aka gidget said...

This is so cool. I can't even remember how I ended up on your post (someone tweeted it) but I'm going to talk about the birth kits in a Mother's Day vlog on one of my blogs this friday (
Great idea!

At May 6, 2011 at 12:30 PM , Blogger Laura said...

post this on the blog tonight! we'll be making a donation as well! gotta have as many safe babies and mamas as we can!! so glad you did this!

At May 7, 2011 at 3:48 AM , Anonymous Bill Hutchison said...

I know that I probably don't really fit in with most of the readers of your blog, but I love the initiative and have blogged about it on 8 of my personal and ministry blogs. If you want the list of blogs I can send them through to you...

Good work and I really hope that you can reach far above your goal of 300 birth kits. Heck, that's only $600!

At May 7, 2011 at 7:44 AM , Blogger Angel said...

I have shared this on my blog, twitter, facebook, and talked about it to pretty much anyone who would sit and listen to me! :-P This is an amazing cause, you really are awe-inspiring! Thank you for sharing this!!! Have a wonderful weekend!!!

Chasing Serenity

At May 7, 2011 at 2:18 PM , Blogger Becky said...

I shared on Facebook and put the badge on my blog! I will try to post about it this weekend...and share with others as well. This is an awesome program!

At May 8, 2011 at 3:54 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Adriel - I love this idea - so simple yet so powerful. I've written about in in my weekly blog & have put a comment on Facebook. Keep up the fantastic work!

Blog link:

At May 9, 2011 at 10:18 AM , Blogger Hippie Housewife said...

Done and shared. Thank you!

At May 9, 2011 at 2:12 PM , Blogger TomatoJam said...

Hi. I want to be involved and send some made up kits but I want to check - are you collecting kits and money for them as an ongoing thing? Can we send you some kits in, say, a month or two, or only at this time close to mothers day for one trip over? Thanks.

At May 9, 2011 at 10:33 PM , Blogger Adriel (The Mommyhood Memos) said...

@TomatoJam - I'm not sure how to reach you since you don't have an email account connected to your profile. I checked to see if you had blogs and you had a few so it wasn't clear where you are active. ANYWAY, I posted on one and will post here as well in case you check back.

Yes, this is ongoing. I wanted to do a big push for Mothers Day weekend since it was so appropriate, but we will need kits way beyond MD! Our ship is in PNG for most of this year and we send staff and volunteers back and forth every 2-3 weeks from our home base in Australia. Whenever we have kits available, they get sent up with staff just like the rest of our medical supplies.

So yes, please do send us some kits whenever you are ready! We will make sure they are distributed to women who need them! Thank you so much for wanting to lend your heart and voice and resources to this important cause! And please let me know if you have any questions. I can be reached at themommyhoodmemos @ gmail. com

Also, just curious... how did some of you ladies find me/this post? Amazing how the word can spread so fast...

At May 9, 2011 at 10:42 PM , Blogger Adriel (The Mommyhood Memos) said...

I'm having trouble getting into Blogger to edit my posts today for some (frustrating) reason. Just wanted to post an update:

As of today (9th May):
-35 blog posts promoting the cause.
-Link shared on facebook over 200 times (I lost count after that!).
-The post has been viewed well over 1000 times.
-The video has been viewed 209 times.
-And most importantly, 325 BIRTH KITS DONATED from six different nations!!!

Thank you everyone for such an incredible response in just 5 short days! Lives will be changed because of you! xx

At May 10, 2011 at 3:54 PM , Blogger Tahnie said...

I love that you are doing this! While I was afraid I wouldn't get to meet my daughter because of entirely different circumstances, these statistics are scary and we all need to ban together and make a change!


At May 11, 2011 at 9:38 PM , Blogger TwoMuths said...

Hi - just found out about this a few minutes ago! What a fantastic cause! God bless your efforts! (and, I'm praying for a safe & healthy pregnancy for you too!!)

At May 20, 2011 at 1:36 PM , Blogger DREYA said...

I have just come back to the blogger world...LIFE WITH TWO LITTLE ONES UNDER 2.5 (Simply adventurous!)
Going to start with the renovation of my site, but just had to let you know I absolutley LOVE this!! I am an Early Childhood Educator and have always had a dream to go and educate and help less fortunate children. Life has got a bit hectic with the joining of my two little ones, but I know I will be able to accomplish my dream ! Please tell me if there is any other type of help I can offer.
Will definetly post this everywhere possible and get the word out!!!!



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