SYS-CON MEDIA Authors: Kevin Benedict, Gilad Parann-Nissany, Michael Bushong

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Most Unusual Place to Give Birth in Canada Is in a Fast Food Restaurant: Survey

Surprise Locations for Delivering Babies Are Rare in Canada, but Commonplace in Developing Countries

MARKHAM, ON--(Marketwired - April 15, 2014) - En route to the hospital, in a car, on the roadside and even in a fast food restaurant. According to a recent Ipsos Reid survey, these are the most unusual places Canadian women say they delivered a baby, or know someone who has.

The survey was conducted on behalf of Christian Children's Fund of Canada (CCFC) in honour of Mother's Day, which takes place this year on May 11. The CCFC survey found that:

  • The most unusual place to deliver a baby in Canada is in a fast food restaurant (seven per cent of respondents cited this type of birth)
  • The second most unusual setting is a water birth (13 per cent)
  • The third most uncommon location is birthing on a sidewalk (19 per cent)
  • The fourth most unusual location is in a car or taxi on the way to the hospital (46 per cent).

"Luckily for most Canadian moms, unusual birthing stories often end happily in safe deliveries because of timely access to adequate health facilities and follow up maternal care," said CCFC Chief Executive Officer, Mark Lukowski. "What many people don't realize is that it is very common for women in developing countries to give birth in unusual places, yet often the outcomes are unfortunately not happy."

Lukowski points to World Health Organization (WHO) reports that show more than one million babies die around the world unnecessarily every year due to complications at birth. More than 60 per cent of preterm births occur in Africa and South Asia (http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs363/en/).

Christina Beeston, a first time Canadian mom and a CCFC staff member, says: "The best thing about becoming a mom in Canada is the fact that we have so many resources, from health care to being able to go on maternity leave for a year, as well as Canada being a clean and safe place to have children."

Beeston wishes that mothers in developing countries could have adequate health care and knowledge. "My hopes and dreams for mothers in developing countries is that they have more access to knowledge. I think that's one of the best ways to go through pregnancy, understanding the many changes happening in their bodies, and also having the choice of birth experiences."

"Deliveries in the rural villages of developing countries most often occur without access to adequate health facilities or services, frequently resulting in the death of the child," Lukowski explained, adding that often the mother herself dies too.

Studies show that babies born in remote villages are usually delivered by traditional birth attendants who lack medical training, appropriate facilities, or equipment, he said.

Mother loses six babies in childbirth, seventh born healthy with CCFC, Government of Canada assistance

Amane Gemechu, 25, from Arsi Negelle district in Ethiopia, experienced the pain and agony of losing a baby during labour, six times in a row. Gemechu had six normal pregnancies which she took to full term, however she lost all six babies due to a lack of proper delivery services and awareness about safe delivery methods.

Women in Gemechu's community labeled her as the "unfortunate one" and some even said she was cursed. But recently, Gemechu's life changed dramatically through the intervention of CCFC in partnership with a local NGO. Hawi Fayssa, a local traditional birth attendant trained through CCFC's "Improving Maternal and Child Health" (IMPACT) initiative helped Gemechu successfully deliver her seventh baby.

"I am thankful that I finally became a mother," said Gemechu. "I had started to believe I would never have a child of my own. I used to feel ashamed. But now I am blessed with a beautiful baby girl."

To address the situation of unsafe deliveries in Ethiopia, the CCFC IMPACT project, with funding support from the Canadian government, provides training for traditional birth attendants, and supports communities by building and equipping up-to-date birthing facilities. Communities are gaining improved understanding that the lives of mothers and infants can be saved with access to professional health care and the skilled support of CCFC-trained traditional birth attendants.

Today, through the support of the Government of Ethiopia's commitment to increased maternal and child health, communities are improving the number of safe, live births, with a reduction in the mortality rates of both babies and mothers. According to WHO, the infant mortality rate decreased by 23 per cent, from 77 to 59 per 1000 live births in 2010, while the under-five mortality rate decreased by 28 per cent, from 123 to 88 per 1000 live births in Ethiopia. (http://www.aho.afro.who.int/profiles_information/index.php/Ethiopia:Analytical_summary_-_Health_Status_and_Trends).

IMPACT is reaching out to more than 120,000 mothers and children in Ethiopia who are now served by more than 70 health facilities. CCFC sustains the project activities using donations from Canadian individuals and foundations, and with Canadian government support.

"As a mother and having just come back from a visit to Ethiopia, I met many young expectant mothers who are hoping to have a safe birth. They also want to care for and feed their children, and they need help to do this," said Felicitas Adrian, Vice President, Fund Development and Communications, CCFC. "Mother's Day is an ideal time for Canadians to donate life-sustaining gifts that can help mothers and children survive the extreme poverty they face every day. We are grateful for the support we receive from Canadians and the federal government."

Baby care kits essential

CCFC asked new mothers in its six countries of operation -- Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Ghana, India, Nicaragua and Paraguay -- about the kind of gift they would like to receive on Mother's Day. The most popular gifts identified were a baby care kit, supplies for maternal health clinics, a dairy cow, and a goat to provide nutritious milk for their children. 

Gifts for new moms in developing countries can be purchased through the CCFC gift catalogue: http://bit.ly/ccfcanada-SpringGiftCatalogue-2014

For short video clips of interviews with both Amane Gemechu of Ethopia, who recently gave birth to a healthy baby girl after losing six babies, as well as CCFC staff member, Christina Beeston, who recently gave birth to a healthy baby boy, visit:

About CCFC

Christian Children's Fund of Canada is a member of ChildFund Alliance, a worldwide group of 12 child-centred development organizations working in 58 countries to implement long-lasting and meaningful changes for children and families. For more than 50 years, CCFC has been helping children and families of all faiths move from poverty to self-reliance.

For more facts on Childbirth visit: http://www.ccfcanada.ca/facts-on-childbirth

For survey highlights on most unusual place to give birth in Canada go to: http://www.ccfcanada.ca/survey-shows-most-unusual-place-to-give-birth-in-canada

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