Friday, April 15, 2011

Looking at Ina's Quilt

As we all know, Ina has created her Safe Motherhood Quilt as a way to memoralize mothers who die due to pregnancy issues. This is a very noble cause. I think it's great to remember those who have passed on.

Now, things get sticky when you start breaking down numbers and stories. Of all the women listed, there is no proof that 26 of them ever existed. There are news stories, SSDI registries, and/or websites for the rest of these women. I have to wonder if Ina even bothered to verify the existence of these women.

On top of these women whose identities cannot be confirmed, we have women that died from actual non-pregnancy related issues. There is one woman who died after being abused by her partner, one who was in a car accident the night before, one who was diagnosed with terminal cancer, one who had an asthma attack, etc. Several mothers died due to h1n1. That took the lives of many people, not just pregnant mothers. Women who dealt with illness or heart problems also died. Pregnancy doesn't give you heart problems. Pregnancy can give you something called cardiomyopathy. This can make a mother very ill and possibly take her life. Now, in some women with existing heart conditions, it can certainly exacerbate the problems. There are women who had pulmonary embolisms or aneurysms. Two Jehovah Witnesses chose to bleed to death after refusing transfusions.

Another one of the things that caught me eye is the fact that she claims death due to pregnancy/childbirth some time later. One death was blamed on two cesareans with the last being 25 years earlier! One mother was brain damaged for two years due to septicemia after carrying around a dead fetus. She was a midwife client planning her 5th homebirth. One mother was said to of developed congestive heart failure due to pregnancy and succumbed to it two years later. Yes, the mom with brain damage, we can attribute that to the issues related to pregnancy, but the others aren't.

So, if we count all the mothers who died due to other issues and unconfirmed identites, you remove 78 women. Causes of death related to pregnancy are due to things like infections (several abortion related are listed making me think Ina scours a certain pro-life site), hemorrhage (yep, a few here are also from a pro-life site), amniotic fluid embolism, and blood pressure issues (HELLP, toxemia, eclampsia, pre-e). These make up 61% of the mothers on the quilt,

Ina claims the maternal mortality rate is 1.5 to 3 times higher than is reported. Her quilt is proof of why she thinks this. If you add in women who die of any cause within 1 year, women who die that ever had a c-section, and women who are diagnosed with an illness either during pregnacy or within 1 year postpartum the numbers are going to be higher. However, this is an incredibly dishonest way to try to manipulate numbers and people's trust. Now that I'm thinking about it, isn't this how natural birth advocates try to say cesarean babies die three times as often as vaginally birthed babies?? It's quite interesting how Ina and her followers love to manipulate data to claim that doctors and hospitals are so evil!

ETA: I found that I missed a woman. Make that 27 women with unconfirmed identities!
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