It’s not often that I write about my personal interests outside of running and fitness but it’s rewarding when I can bridge the two. As you may (or may not) know, women’s health has been an interest of mine for years. I have worked in the clinical/public health field on this issue for a while and within it, there are so many important areas that need to be addressed – from coverage for annual visits to contraception to access to prenatal care – areas where we as a country are, oftentimes, supremely lacking. One of these areas that desperately needs more attention than it receives is maternal mortality.
I am abundantly happy to say that I am working with the organization Every Mother Counts to raise awareness about this public health emergency that is happening in our backyards and globally. I will be fundraising and running the Philly Marathon for EMC on November 18th – as a daughter, a sister, a friend.
What is Every Mother Counts (EMC)?
Founded by Christy Turlington Burns after the completion of her documentary film, “No Woman, No Cry” in 2010, Every Mother Counts is an advocacy and mobilization campaign to increase education and support for maternal mortality reduction globally. Every Mother Counts seeks to engage new audiences to better understand the challenges and the solutions while encouraging them to take action to improve the lives of girls and women worldwide.
How prevalent is maternal mortality?
In the US, more than 2 women die every day from complications of pregnancy and childbirth. Approximately half of these deaths are preventable. Rates in the US rival those across the world and in some states, even rival those in sub-Saharan Africa. African American women are nearly 4 times as likely to die from pregnancy complications than Caucasian women, a number that has remained unchanged for over 2 decades. In a country that boasts top notch health care women still face extreme obstacles to obtaining the care they need. For those women in countries like Bangladesh, Tanzania, and Guatemala additional obstacles exist such as cultural barriers, physicial and geographical limitations, and legal hurdles. While the reasons why women are dying here and abroad are multi-faceted, the crisis remains the same – women are dying unnecessarily. A seemingly joyful life event can turn tragic within moments.
Why focus on maternal mortality?
A healthy mom means a healthy baby. We either have been pregnant ourselves, want to become pregnant, or know women who have been pregnant and this crisis affects us all equally. While a maternal death is a somewhat rare occurrence, at least in the US, many more women experience preventable complications such as hemorrhage and pre-eclampsia. Imagine a nation where this was no longer a concern. Imagine a world where a woman living in Africa didn’t have to walk 26.2 miles to the nearest clinic just to deliver her baby, a clinic that still had inadequate resources but was the safest place at that particular time to deliver.
What can you do to help?
I will be running the Philly Marathon in support of EMC and on behalf of all those women who so desperately want to give birth free of medical complications and barriers and those who died while doing so. I truly believe that together we can raise awareness and educate our friends, families, and the public about this public health emergency. Here is what you can do to help make this happen:
1. My goal is to raise $500 within the next month. Please consider donating through my Team EMC Philly Marathon Crowdrise page by clicking here.
2. Follow @everymomcounts on Twitter and use the hashtag #TeamEMC.
3. Share your story with me. While this is an extremely personal issue, nothing is more educational and empowering than your personal account. If you have a story that you would like to share, I would love to feature you in a blog post. E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
4. Find out where Team EMC is running and get involved by clicking here.
5. Find stats on the maternal mortality crisis by clicking here.