Bloggers for Birth Kits

When I had my home births, my midwife brought out a tote bin, approximately 18 gallon size, of supplies that stayed at the house from 36 weeks on.  It contained all of the various medical supplies that would possibly be needed for a safe birth at home.  In addition, she had us assemble a birth kit containing epsom salts, olive oil, extra towels and wash cloths, a dozen diapers, baby wipes, baby clothes, baby blankets, a hat for baby, receiving blankets, vinyl table cloths to go under me or the birth pool to keep other surfaces dry, pads for me for after the birth, witch hazel and extra sheets for the bed.  All of this filled up another tote bin of the same size.  For weeks, they sat in the corner of the dining room, keeping the supplies inside clean and dry, with the birth pool folded on top of them.

This was all I could think of when I read about the birth kits being assembled by Bloggers for Birth Kits to help birthing mothers in rural Papua New Guinea.

In rural Papua New Guinea, 1 out of every 7 mothers dies in childbirth.

Many of these mothers die simply because of a lack of sanitary supplies for giving birth.  This is where Bloggers for Birth Kits, and you, come in.

What can you do?

1. Make a birth kit. Assemble one yourself or gather a group of girlfriends, a moms group, work associates, or a church group to make a box full of them! Mail your kits to: Adriel Booker, Bloggers for Birth Kits, PO Box 6221, Townsville, Queensland, 4810, Australia. We will distribute the kits in some of the poorest regions of Papua New Guinea on our Medical Ship.
2. Donate for a birth kit to be made on your behalf. ($10 will buy 5 kits!) All donations for B4BK go toward the assembly and distribution of birth kits, as well as maternal care education. Make your online donation here. Please be sure to write Bloggers for Birth Kits in the “additional comments” box so the funds will be allocated properly.
3. Help raise awareness by posting about the cause on your blog, facebook, pinterest, and twitter (using #B4BirthKits), or add the Bloggers for Birth Kits button to your blog. (See the footer for code.)

What’s in a clean birth kit?

clean birth kit contents

The specifics:

1. Soap (for the birth attendant to wash her hands). Use a hotel-size soap or cut a regular bar of soap into 1/8-sized pieces. (Microwave the bar of soap for 30 seconds to soften it for cutting).
2. One pair of plastic gloves (for the birth attendant to wear).
3. Five squares of gauze (to wipe the mum’s perineum and baby’s eyes). Gauze pieces should be about 10×10 centimeters or 3×3 inches.
4. One blade (to cut the cord). You can buy individually wrapped sterile blades at the pharmacist or buy utility blades (much cheaper) at the hardware store. We teach the women to boil the blades for sterilization, so utility blades work just fine.
5. Three pieces of strong string (2 for tying the cord, 1 for “just in case”). String should be about 30 centimeters or 10 inches long.
6. One plastic sheet (for a clean birthing surface). Sheet should be approximately 1×1 meter or 1×1 yard and can be purchased at your hardware or paint store.
7. One sandwich-size ziplock bag (to pack the contents).
Click here for instructions on proper assembly of birth kit, if you chose to assemble your own.
The discrepancy in care is astounding to me.  While I took such great care knitting the perfect wool hats to fit my tiny babies and keep their heads warm, these women are dying for lack of a $2 birth kit.
So, this is your call to arms!  Can you donate $10 today?  Or assemble 5 birth kits?  How many lives can you personally save, by simply providing a clean surface for a baby to be born on?

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