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18th-Mar-2009 04:42 pm - Extreme Motherhood
rose & 10 hands
Extreme Motherhood

If there is a wholesome counterpoint to the gossip-rich travails of single-mom Nadya Suleman and her 14 children, it might be Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar, who had their 18th child just weeks before the arrival of Suleman's octuplets in January. The Duggar birth was televised on the Arkansas couple's popular TLC reality show, "17 Kids and Counting" (now "18 Kids and Counting"). Unlike Suleman, who was vilified as the freakish, government-assistance-dependent "Octomom," the Duggars' abundant progeny often attract admiration. Their children play violin, their palatial home is immaculate and the family matriarch is a soft-spoken multitasker who gently keeps order in her immense household.

Watching Michelle Duggar manage her Herculean tasks is addictive. We like to marvel at the logistics of life in oversized reality-TV families like the Duggars or the participants of the series "Kids By the Dozen" (also on TLC), which features families with at least 12 children each. How do they do all that laundry every week? Afford all those gallons of milk or cope with a joint birthday party for 13?

But there's one big omission from the on-screen portrayal of many of these families: their motivation. Though the Duggars do describe themselves as conservative Christians, in reality, they follow a belief system that goes far beyond "Cheaper by the Dozen" high jinks. It is a pro-life-purist lifestyle known as Quiverfull, where women forgo all birth-control options, viewing contraception as a form of abortion and considering even natural family planning an attempt to control a realm—fertility—that should be entrusted to divine providence.

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4th-May-2008 12:21 pm - Diary: Sierra Leone slum medic
Medical staff at a clinic in the coastal slum of Kroo Bay, in Sierra Leone's capital, Freetown, are keeping a diary of their working lives for the BBC News website.

Here, Bintu Koroma, who is a midwife at the clinic, talks about traditional beliefs and troubled pregnancies.

Instead of a conventional hospital birth, Heidi Teeple and her husband Rod brought baby Logan into the world while soaking together in a freestanding tub of warm water in their living room, with a fire in the fireplace and two midwives at their side.

The Teeples are part of a small but growing contingent of people choosing to give birth with midwives, caregivers who view birth as a natural, rather than medical, experience, and one that should be tailored to a mother's needs.

The trend has been slow but steady in coming.

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Washington Post Staff Writer, Friday, May 5, 2006; Page A03

Poor women in America are increasingly likely to have unwanted pregnancies, whereas relatively affluent women are succeeding more and more in getting pregnant only when they want to, according to a study analyzing federal statistics.

As a result of the growing disparity, women living in poverty are now almost four times more likely to become pregnant unintentionally than women of greater means, the study found.

Based on nationwide data collected by the National Center for Health Statistics and other sources, the researchers found that from 1994 through 2001, the rate of unplanned pregnancies increased by almost 30 percent for women below the federal poverty line -- now defined as $16,000 annually for a family of three. For women in families comfortably above poverty, the rate of unplanned pregnancies fell by 20 percent during the same period.

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1st-Mar-2006 12:33 pm - Should I stay or should I go?
By Sean Coughlan BBC News Magazine

As England cricketer Andrew Flintoff has found, a father's decision not to be at his child's birth raises eyebrows nowadays. But times have changed so much, midwives now worry about all a mother's friends and family turning up as well.

"There are people who seem to be treating births as a consumer experience," says Billie Hunter, Professor of Midwifery at the University of Wales, Swansea.

Rather than asking about whether the expectant dad should be at the birth, Professor Hunter is now more worried about the line-up of other relations and supportive friends wanting to be in the delivery room.

"The creeping number of people at births is a worrying trend. It should be very intimate - women need to be able to relax," she says.

"It almost seems that 'seeing a birth' has become one of those 101 things to do before you die. The reason for being there should be to support the woman - not to view the birth."

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19th-Oct-2005 03:09 pm(no subject)
Tue Oct 18,11:50 AM ET
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - In both the United States and Europe, the classification of pregnancy-related mortality using the International Classification of Diseases (ICD) cause-of-death codes leads to a significant underreporting, researchers report in the journal Obstetrics and Gynecology.

Lead investigator Dr. Catherine Deneux-Tharaux told Reuters Health: "To define effective strategies to reduce maternal mortality, it is crucial to accurately determine both the level and the causes of mortality."

"Using a standardized enhanced method," she added, "we found higher rates of maternal mortality than those officially reported in all study regions, and profiles of causes of mortality that greatly differed between regions."

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12th-Oct-2005 03:55 pm - Women's health fuelling poverty
Tackling female health would not only save millions of lives but reduce global poverty, experts say.
The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) says 99% of maternal deaths are preventable yet every minute a woman dies from pregnancy-related causes.

This loss impacts not only on the family and society, but also on the economy, its latest report says.

UNFPA says investment in reproductive health and gender equality could spur growth and sustainable development.

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