Christians at the forefront of safe pregnancies | 5/23/2019 | Staff
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In many low- and middle-income countries, girls may marry as young as ten years of age, before their bodies can handle the stress of childbearing. Early pregnancies and childbirth are dangerous for these young girls and their babies. When girls, and women, have more pregnancies than their bodies can handle, infant and maternal mortality rises, as do devastating injuries to babies and mothers during birth. But one of the most damaging injuries is one you’ve likely not heard of, because the shame associated with it drives women into hiding.

Women - Birth - Injury - Childbirth - Fistula

When women give birth too young or too often, an injury of childbirth called fistula leaves women leaking urine and ****. They are left severely incontinent and are often abandoned or shunned by family and community due to their constant smell. Fistulas can be so severe they cause nerve damage and paralysis.More than 2 million women are thought to suffer with untreated obstetric fistula throughout Asia, sub-Saharan Africa and the Mideast. But it’s hard to know because so many of these women are outcast or hidden away. Fistula is so tragic that the World Health Organization has designated May 23, InternationalDay to End Obstetric Fistula, to help bring attention to this hidden shame and available solutions.

Many in our Christian community have become vocal advocates for safer birth. In addition to being strong advocates against risk factors like child marriage and female genital mutilation (FGM), our communities are also influential proponents for the Healthy Timing and Spacing of Pregnancies. I am part of a network of 150 Christian organizations working in global health in 31 countries. More than a decade ago we began promoting family planning because for those of us who believe in the sanctity of life, it is our moral calling. We must encourage girls and...
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