What is it like to be an expectant mother in the USA? That is a very difficult question to answer but at least we have some useful pointers in the latest Save the Children report. This has just been published. But the figures for the USA are nothing to write home about and in fact the USA comes in at number 30 out of a list of 176 countries! That is why I have used the word ‘complacent’ in the title.
Save the Children’s report and Mother Index
This is the fourteenth annual report and it gives us a snapshot of what it is like to be a mother in various countries of the world. Finland and other Scandinavian countries occupy the top three while The Democratic Republic of the Congo comes last. Here there is a one in thirty chance that the mother herself will die giving birth.
The report looks at maternal health care before and after the birth. It examines statistics like the average income in the country and also gives us alarming figures about infant mortality.
The greatest risk for a newborn baby is its first day of life. Unfortunately in the USA, the numbers are double those of the European Union (11,300 compared to 5,800 in the EU). What are the factors involved here?
Ethnic and minority groups are at greater risk because of poverty, unemployment, poor housing and bad nutrition. All these will add to the risk factors.
Poor or patchy prenatal care can increase the chances of a preterm baby and its survival
Healthcare (such as prenatal clinics) is at risk from cuts. Indiana has already closed several of these clinics.
Poverty leads to poor nutrition and obesity which can cause complications at birth
Other factors such as diabetes, smoking and high blood pressure all add to the risks
Lifestyle and increase in stress will also impact negatively on the pregnancy.
USA has the highest number of teen pregnancies than any of the industrialised countries.
Teenagers who are pregnant are less likely to get proper prenatal care and ignorant of the risks involved and also tend to be poorly off.
country for first day infant deaths is India where the figures are over 300,000 a year which is almost 30% of the world total. The issues here are poor healthcare and also the fact that the benefits of the recent boom have not been shared more equitably.
Figures for elective C-sections
There are lots of pros and cons for choosing an elective caesarean especially when you want to schedule the baby’s arrival. But mothers who choose elective caesarean sections are increasing the risks of infant mortality. That was the finding of the CDC, published in Birth: Issues in Perinatal Care. According to this study, where there was a low risk pregnancy, the surgery involved doubled the risk of the infant dying at or shortly after birth.
The bottom line is that if you are poor or belong to an ethnic minority the chances of infant mortality are increased by 40% compared to mothers who are comparatively well off and have decent housing. They are in employment or have the support of a partner who has a job.
What needs to be done
Every mother and child has the right to high quality health care. Investing in motherhood is a no brainer because it ensures health and wellbeing for the young generation and this will be beneficial to every sector of the economy.
Every baby has the right to proper healthcare according to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child
Family planning needs to be encouraged and practised. In the USA, unplanned pregnancies are a staggering 49% of all pregnancies!
Increased participation of women in political decisions which will impact on the lives of women positively. In the USA, only 18% of women are in Congress!
Reduce teenage pregnancies by providing more sex education and counseling
Make contraception freely available
Urgent -Family leave needs to be increased
As regards maternity and paternity leave, USA is definitely at the bottom of the scale in that it joins ranks with Lesotho and Papua New Guinea. Elsewhere in the world, family leave is about three months paid leave for the mother and the fathers can also take paid leave.
In the USA, there are now petitions to ensure that the law be changed so that the birth rate might stop falling. Companies have found that when they actually pay maternal leave, the drop out rate was dramatically reduced. Google is a good example because it used to have three months partially paid leave. When it increased that to five months fully paid, the attrition rate among new moms fell by 50%!
In Norway, new dads can have up to ten weeks paid leave while in Sweden both parents get 480 days leave between them spread over a period of eight years. Utopia? Leave your comments and suggestions!
Robert Locke MBE is an award winning author and has written extensively on ADHD and parenting. You can visit his blog to find out more.
Take Stock in Children Palm Beach County to Enroll 200 New Students into Mentoring/Scholarship Program
Support of community partners and sponsors enables organization to expand its program to benefit more children and help break the cycle of poverty through education
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla., March 29, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Take Stock in Children strives to help at risk Palm Beach County students, ages 12 through 18, graduate high school by providing advocacy, college-readiness services and caring adult volunteer mentors. But the program doesn't end there—every student graduating the program receives a full-tuition college scholarship. Thanks to community partners and financial supporters, Take Stock in Children Palm Beach County will be able to provide this life-changing opportunity to 200 additional students by June 2014 .
Founded in 1995, the organization helps provide students with resources they need to be successful in college and become productive citizens in the community. The youth benefiting from this program include those from single parent families, those with parents suffering from a disability or addiction/alcoholism and those where English is not the first language spoken at home. Many students are first in their family to obtain a college degree. Take Stock in Children believes that by changing the life of a child, the cycle of poverty and desolation can be broken.
The support of local partners and sponsors allows Take Stock in Children Palm Beach County to make this special impact on a child's life.
Thanks to collaboration with AVID, The School District of Palm Beach County, Workforce Alliance and the Take Stock in Children state office, Take Stock in Children Palm Beach County will have the opportunity to enroll 200 new students into its Program by June 2014. This partnership will expand the program to service 46 percent more children than ever before. In addition, the tireless efforts of Nancy Reese, Assistant Director, Safe Schools, and Keith Oswald, Assistant Superintendent, have been instrumental in helping to narrow the educational achievement gap for low-income and minority students in Palm Beach County.
The Literacy Coalition of Palm Beach County has also established a partnership with Take Stock in Children by way of its AmeriCorps Members. This partnership allows the organization to provide its students with college readiness services and SAT prep. As College Readiness Coaches, the AmeriCorps Members meet with students to discuss grade specific plans to better prepare for college.
Take Stock in Children Palm Beach County would also like to thank its funders that have supported the program: Tire Kingdom, TBC Corp., William R. Kenan, Jr. Charitable Trust, Florida Crystals Corp., P.B. Golf Association, Provenance Wealth Advisors, 3cInteractive, IBM, The Mary Alice Fortin Foundation, Jason Taylor Foundation, Sun Sentinel Children's Fund, Town of PB United Way, Jarden Consumer Solutions, Lattner Family Foundation, KPMG, Pavilion Development, the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office and many others that believe in the program, students and mission to provide scholarships, mentors and hope to the community's most deserving children.
To learn more about Take Stock in Children Palm Beach County, visit takestockpalmbeach.org or follow on Facebook (facebook.com/takestockpalmbeachcounty) and Twitter (twitter.com/takestockpbc).
Take Stock in Children is a 501(c) (3) non-profit organization with an 18-year history of providing mentors, educational scholarships and hope for Florida's low-income and deserving youth. The organization has helped more than 18,000 children in partnership with more than 800 public schools throughout 67 counties in Florida. It's the only scholarship mentoring program with a high school graduation rate of 95 percent in Florida. Upon successful high school graduation, students are awarded a scholarship to any college, university or vocational school in the state of Florida.
Operation Walk USA to Provide Free Knee, Hip Replacements Across the Country
Life-altering surgeries to restore mobility, provide pain relief for more than 200 individuals
While more than one million hip and knee replacements are performed in the U.S. each year, countless men and women continue to live with severe arthritic pain and immobility because they cannot afford joint replacement surgery. Through the 2nd annual Operation Walk USA, more than 109 orthopaedic surgeons, at 49 hospitals in 29 states, were provide free joint replacements to 200 individuals on Dec. 7, 2012.
Operation Walk USA provides all aspects of treatment – surgery, hospitalization, and pre-and post-operative care – at no cost to participating patients.
Arthritic disease is the most common cause of disability in the U.S., affecting approximately 48 million Americans, or more than 21 percent of the adult population. The debilitating pain of end-stage hip or knee degenerative disease often makes working, or completing even the simplest of daily tasks, excruciatingly painful or impossible. Hip and knee replacement surgeries are the most cost-effective and successful of all orthopedic procedures, eliminating pain and allowing patients to resume active, productive lives.
Operation Walk USA began in 2011 following the tremendous success of Operation Walk, an international volunteer medical service organization that provides treatment for patients with arthritis and joint conditions in developing countries. To date, more than 6,000 patients have received new knees and hips through the international Operation Walk.
"Regardless of circumstances, people in need should have relief from debilitating joint conditions and receive a new lease on life," said orthopaedic surgeon Adolph V. Lombardi, Jr., MD, President and founder of Operation Walk USA. "This is the essence of Operation Walk USA."
In 2011, Operation Walk provided life-changing hip or knee replacements for 85 patients.
"I had constant pain for decades," said Richard Conroy, a 2011 Operation Walk USA participant from New York. Since the surgery, "I look forward to going back to work, and golfing again – things that had been too painful for me to enjoy for many years."
The large number of orthopaedic surgeons and medical staff who volunteer their time and expertise each year, at participating hospitals throughout the U.S., "is really a testament to what a rewarding program this is, and what it does for everyone involved," said Lawrence D. Dorr, MD, the founder of Operation Walk (international), and an Operation Walk USA participant. "The ultimate service is unconditional giving of knowledge and skills. This is why we all chose medicine."
Device manufacturers Biomet, DePuy, MAKO Surgical, Smith & Nephew, Stryker, Total Joint Orthopedics (TJO), Inc. and Zimmer donated the hip and knee implants for Operation Walk USA 2012 patients. Ortech Data, Inc. is providing a complimentary data system for OpWalkUSA patients. Ortech will provide this data to the national arthroplasty registry, the American Joint Replacement Registry.
For more information about total joint replacement, visit orthoinfo.org.
About Operation Walk USA 2012:
Operation Walk USA is based on the successful experiences of Operation Walk, which has provided hip and knee replacements to thousands of patients throughout the world since 1996.
To find a list of participating orthopaedic surgeons and cities, visit www.opwalkusa.com, or follow Operation Walk USA on Facebook.
A Nation in Motion. More than one in four Americans have bone or joint health problems, making them the greatest cause of lost work days in the U.S. When orthopaedic surgeons restore mobility and reduce pain, they help people get back to work and to independent, productive lives. Orthopaedic surgeons provide the best value in American medicine in both human and economic terms and access to high-quality orthopaedic care keeps this "Nation in Motion." To learn more, to read hundreds of patient stories or to submit your own story, visit anationinmotion.org
About the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
SOURCE American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons; Operation Walk USA
A new report released by the National Council on Disability (NCD) has received accolades from disability organizations and people with disabilities across the United States. NCD's report "Rocking the Cradle: Ensuring the Rights of Parents with Disabilities and Their Children," the first of its kind issued by a federal agency, examines the discrimination faced by the more than four million parents with disabilities in raising their families. Estimates indicate 6.1 million children in the U.S. have parents with disabilities. This amounts to nearly 1 in 10 American children.
In the report, NCD reveals that parents with disabilities are the only distinct community of Americans who must struggle to retain custody of their children. Removal rates run as high as 80 percent among parents with a psychiatric or intellectual disability. It also shines a spotlight on the hidden hardships faced by parents struggling to keep their children, adopt children, or even access reproductive assistance.
"Rocking the Cradle" ends on a hopeful note by sharing parental success stories and making recommendations for ways state and federal government can correct unjust practices.
Support from the disability community has affirmed the overdue need for NCD's report and its findings:
Stephen Bennett, President & CEO of United Cerebral Palsy said Rocking the Cradle "highlights an awful truth: parents with disabilities are facing tremendous challenges and discrimination as they try to raise their families. The situation is appalling, and action needs to be taken."
Peter V. Berns, CEO of The Arc said NCD's report "uncovers the heartbreaking reality for too many families across the country – parents with disabilities are treated unjustly when it comes to their rights as parents, and far too many families are broken apart by outdated and discriminatory practices."
Dr. Marc Maurer, President of the National Federation of the Blind, stated: "Blind people often find their fitness as parents questioned solely on the basis of blindness, and in some cases misconceptions about their capabilities result in the children of blind parents being removed from their homes by the state. Situations like this are not only heart-wrenching for the parents, but also violate federal law and their constitutional rights."
Stories of real parents with disabilities inform and personalize the broader issues covered in the report. Among them:
Kevin and Karen, adoptive parents to Dominika, their five year-old daughter with Apert syndrome. Karen is a wheelchair user and Kevin was born with hemophilia, and was diagnosed with HIV in high school. When adopting, Kevin and Karen bypassed international adoption because most countries deny prospective parents with disabilities. They live in Chicago.
Carrie is a single mother of four adopted children, all of whom also have disabilities. She is a power wheelchair user who is ventilator dependent. Carrie has been inappropriately referred to Child Protective Services on numerous occasions. She lives with her family in Denver.
Rebecca (pseudonym used to protect confidentiality), a mother with an intellectual disability, gave birth to a daughter six years ago. Because her daughter was premature she had trouble feeding and was eventually sent to live in a foster home. Rebecca has undergone several parenting assessments since then all with positive results. She has worked full-time at the same job for 17 years and has owned her home for 15 years. Rebecca is available to available to speak to reporters with her advocate. The case is still being litigated. She lives in Connecticut.
"Currently, every state allows disability to be used when determining parental rights in family or dependency court without additional cause or concern. Whether actions are taken at the state or federal level the need to correct this unfair bias could not be more urgent or clear," said Janice Lehrer-Stein, Vice Chair of the National Council on Disability, the independent federal agency that issued the report. "The positive response to "Rocking the Cradle" from disability groups, parents with disabilities and service agencies from across the nation confirms the need we saw to do this report and further bolsters our commitment to ensuring the rights of parents with disabilities and their families."
About the report: "Rocking the Cradle: Ensuring the Rights of Parents with Disabilities and Their Children" explores the pervasive prejudices faced by parents with disabilities by exposing the disparate treatment often encountered by parents with disabilities and their children within court and service systems and offers draft model state and federal statutory language to correct the discrimination faced by parents with disabilities in the United States.
NCD thanks Through the Looking Glass, the NIDRR-funded National Center for Parents with Disabilities and Their Families, for their valuable assistance in writing sections of this report. Their insight and guidance during the research and drafting of "Rocking the Cradle" was instrumental in its development and completion.
New Study Finds Bullying and Cyberbullying are Parent's #1 Fear More Than Kidnapping, Domestic Terrorism and Suicide
Three out of Four Parents are Taking Action to Prevent Bullying or Cyberbullying Among Their Children
Parents Blame Technology for Meaner Kids
Whom do parents fear more, Stranger Danger or a Facebook friend? According to a national survey commissioned by Care.com, Inc. (http://www.care.com), bullying and cyberbullying have eclipsed kidnapping as the greatest fear parents have regarding their children's safety.
Nearly one in three (30%) parents of children 12-17 years old fear bullying and cyberbullying over kidnapping, domestic terrorism, car accidents, suicide or any other incident. And of parents whose children are under 12 years old, more than one in four (27%) parents say they are most afraid of bullying and cyberbullying, with kidnapping only slightly higher (30%).
Care.com, Inc., the premier source of trustworthy family care options, including profiles of hundreds of thousands of babysitters, nannies, and senior caregivers, found that parents are taking the issue seriously. In response to recent news coverage of teens being bullied or cyberbullied across the country, 75% of parents are now monitoring text messages and social media activity. They report also now speaking with their children about the dangers of bullying.
Is Technology to blame? Parents clearly feel that it is. Almost two out of three (62%) parents agree that increased use of texting, social media activity and the playing of more violent video games are resulting in meaner behavior among kids. This concern increases in the South (71%) and Northeast (67%), but decreases to half (50%) of parents in the Midwest.
Parents want their children's schools to take action. More than one in three parents surveyed, report encouraging their schools to create anti-bullying programs and have teachers address bullying as well. Nearly half (46%) feel that the schools are listening, giving their children's schools a grade of A or B. However, one out of five parents (19%) feel that their schools are doing a poor job or simply failing their kids when it comes to this issue.
"Mean kids and bullies are not new, but the access to social media networks and cell phones that can make bullying both anonymous and seemingly innocuous is the new danger. And parents are genuinely afraid," said Wendy Sachs, editor-in-chief of Care.com. "Our study found that parents are also stepping up and want their schools and communities involved."
The failure increases in the West where more than one out of four parents (29%) give their children's schools a poor or failing grade. By comparison, more than half (57%) of parents in the Northeast believe their schools are doing a good job at handling bullying. Other findings include:
Fathers fear bullying and cyberbullying the most, of which a quarter of men (25%) cite it as the number one fear compared with a third (35%) of mothers who perceive kidnapping to be the greatest danger.
In New York, one in three parents (31%) cite bullying and cyberbullying as a greater fear than domestic terrorism (19%) despite the WTC attacks less than ten years ago.
The Midwest is the most concerned about bullying and cyberbullying, where a third of parents (33%) felt it was the most significant fear for them.
Western states parents remain most concerned about kidnapping with 43% versus bullying and cyberbullying (20%). However, when asked to evaluate what their child's school has done to educate kids about the dangers of bullying and cyberbullying, one out of four (24%) gave a poor or failing grade (D or F).
In the South, kidnapping and bullying and cyberbullying are of equal concern to parents with a quarter of parents (24%) acknowledging that they are fearful of them.
The Care.com survey was conducted via a national telephone survey among a weighted sample of 394 adults 18 years of age and older living in private households in the continental United States. Interviewing for this CARAVAN Survey was completed during the period October 8-11, 2010.