Those of you who have been following my blog for any amount of time know that I only promote things that I believe in. Well, today I have Kristyn from CleanBirth.org, a non-profit which supplies pregnant women in Laos with birthing supplies that prevent maternal and infant death. As a labor and delivery nurse I know how important it is to have a clean birthing environment. I also know that we take our clean birthing conditions for granted and we don’t often think about the conditions in other countries. Well, I think it is time that we start thinking about it and doing something about it if we can. Tell us more Kristyn:
I started CleanBirth.org because I am a mother and an advocate for mothers.
In 2005, my life changed: I became a mother. My baby boy, now 10, was breech and required the assistance of an experienced attendant – in my case an OBGYN who preformed a Cesarean section. A vaginal breech delivery would also have required a very skilled attendant. My daughter came a few years later and her position in the birth canal made the presence of well-trained attendant crucial. Had I lacked an experienced attendant at either of my births, I might not have survived. Or I might have lost a child.
Not only was it important the skilled attendant to be there, but the clean environment was crucial to my postpartum healing. This ensured that I didn’t have an infection days, weeks, or even months after I gave birth.
In 2009, I moved with my young family to work with trauma survivors on the Thai-Burma border. While there, I learned that midwifery care was non-existent. Wanting to find ways to support pregnant mothers, I trained as a doula and, later, as a Lamaze childbirth educator.
I also began researching maternal and infant health in the developing world. I found out that 1 million women and infants die of infection after birth each year. These infections are largely preventable.
As I researched, I learned that Laos, where I had traveled extensively, has one of the highest rates of maternal and infant mortality in the world. A staggering 80% of births occur at home and only 20% have a skilled attendant present.
My research also led me to innovations that prevent maternal and infant death. One in particular caught my eye: $5 Clean Birth Kits.
- Sterile gloves
- 2 Padded blood absorbing sheet for comfort and easy clean up
- Medicated soap to prepare a safe birth environment
- Sterile surgical blade for cutting the umbilical cord
- 2 Cord clips for precision and to help prevent infection
- Biodegradable bag
- Pictorial instructions
The best part is the kits and education for a mother and her family costs just $5. Two lives saved for $5.
CleanBirth.org provides our Lao non-profit partner, ACD, with Clean Birth Kits, funds for distribution of kits to remote areas and funding to train local nurses in the use of the kits. With the help of midwives from Yale School of Nursing, who travel at their own expense with us , we also offer training for the nurses in the WHO’s Essentials of Newborn Care.
To date, Cleanbirth.org has provided 3,000 birth kits and funded training for 240 nurses. 100% of donations go to fund programming for moms and nurses in Laos. No US-staff is paid.
Please consider supporting moms in Laos this holiday. We have gifts starting at $10 on our etsy store: https://www.etsy.com/shop/CleanBirthGifts.
From one mom to another, I thank you!
Kristyn Zalota is a mom of two and the founder of Cleanbirth.org, a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Working with a local Lao partner, Cleanbirth.org empowers nurses to provide women in their communities with Clean Birth Kits and safe birthing education.