While healthcare is life-saving, birth itself is over medicalised, and unnecessary medical interventions are rampant even in healthy pregnancies. Cesarean section rates are higher than ever before and in many hospitals account for more than half of all births.
Other contentious issues include:
This is a small part of a large list of practices that go on daily, without question and unknowingly causing the woman and baby fear and undue harm.
Women are led to believe that such medical interventions are a necessity, while there is no research or evidence to support this.
Women are subjected to disrespect and abuse during childbirth. Mistreatment is common in labour. Labour wards leave women with haunting memories of disrespectful care:
Our work over the past decade, has documented that the situation is doubly bleak for women with limited resources. Birth experiences of poor, pregnant women in and around Bangalore are shocking. For women who come from the lower economic strata, there may be no skilled provider in their area or available transportation.
In the ten years since the BBN was established, we have played a key role in nurturing an environment where local families have access to birth professionals through
BBN’s Lactation Pilot Program
Breastfeeding counselling at government health centers is strongly needed. These gaps in services put already vulnerable women, babies and families at even greater risk. To address this, a certified antenatal and lactation counsellor visits the public healthcare facility, and counsels up to 30-40 women a week. This program addresses basic maternal and newborn health problems at the root, before they become life threatening. Breastfeeding significantly lowers newborn mortality.
Counselling Skills for 250+ Nursing Students
The nurses training program is aimed at boosting the knowledge and skill quotient of the nurses with research based findings, and strong scientific evidence based knowledge. This is done by imparting short duration and high impact training to enhance counselling skills.
Maternal Health Survey
Private hospitals are not required to report their practices, procedures and outcomes, and government hospitals are poor at keeping records. In response to the lack of data on childbirth practices, we have created a comprehensive maternal health survey asking women about their obstetric, prenatal and postnatal experiences in urban India.
BBN is also working along with a group of individuals and organisations, to advocate for midwifery education and training, and create awareness among the general public as well as doctors, nurses and hospitals on how obstetric care can be transformed.
We have worked hard over the years to keep a small, volunteer-based, non-profit fueled solely on passion, grit and the support of friends we made along the way. For the longest time we never had a bank account or money to put in it. In the past few years this has shifted. We are now a registered non-profit society, and two years ago we received seed funding to strengthen and grow the work and its impact. Our growth has been significant in the last year – the seed funding helped us move up our reach from a mere hundred women in 2007 to around 8000+ today.
To reach a wider audience we require further funds to target an impact of 15000 people (and more) over the next few years.