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Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Ibu Robin Lim Live in Manila!

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Sunday, September 28, 2014

Gentle Birth Philippines present Gentle Birth Forum with Ibu Robin Lim with guests

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Friday, September 05, 2014

HKG: Top 10 Kids' Bookstores: Favorite Reading Rooms

by Little Steps Asia Aug 28, 2014

A good bookstore is a destination for the imagination! From storytelling magic to the best deals on used books for kids, Little Steps has put together the top recommendations for exploring kid-friendly bookstores in the city. Pick up your kiddo’s next bedtime story at one of these top picks and enjoy!

A big box bookstore from Taiwan, Eslite’s stunning space in Hysan Place isn’t just a retail space but a megastore with a cafe and restaurant. There are books on virtually every subject, and there’s a good selection of English books for kids, too. If your wee ones need to stock up on school supplies, make a beeline to their stationary department for cutesy pens and notepads, and anything else they may need.
Eslite, 8/F-10/F, Hysan Place, 500 Hennessy Rd, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong, +852 3419 6789

When you teach your kids the “3Rs”, make sure you set an example on reduce, reuse, recycle by bringing their unloved books, DVDs, CDs and games to Flow Bookshop. The store has a special kid’s section - two, giant, floor-to-ceiling shelves stocked with everything that suitable for kids under 12. Let them run wild, while you sort through the latest arrivals.
Flow Bookshop, 1A Wing On Bldg, 38 Hollywood Rd, Central, Hong Kong, +852 2964 9483

Take the whole gang over to Ap Lei Chau and spend a few hours sorting through the vast collection at Pollux Books. Unlike other big box stores, here, they focus on your kids first with wall-to-wall shelves stocked full of picture books, educational booklets and audio books. There’s plenty fun reads that your little ones will love and cherish for years to come, the difficulty lies in choosing!
Pollux Books, Rm 2101, 21/F, Horizon Plaza, 2 Lee Wing St, Ap Lei Chau, Hong Kong, +852 2873 6962

There’s lots and lots to browse through at this Saikung secondhand bookshop, and if you feel at a loss for choosing, take a break and hangout with the store’s pet calico cat. They have a vast collection of youth fiction, as well as a good selection of illustrated books for kids. The best part is, you never really know what you’re going to get because new donations arrive daily. It’s also a good place to bring your unwanted books or simply add to your library.
Leisure Bookshop, 32A, G/F, Po Tung Rd, Saikung, Hong Kong, +852 2791 9629

BOOK and CO.
A relaxing little enclave for book lovers of all sorts, Book and Co is conveniently located in the Mid-Levels and is chock-a-block stuffed with books for every age. There’s plenty of books for adults, teens and ‘tweens and a limited selection for your mini bookworms. Plus, there’s a cute and cosy cafe to tuck into cake with a cuppa tea for a much needed break from all that shopping!
Book & Co., 10 Park Rd, Mid-Levels, Hong Kong, +852 2559 5199

There’s something truly wonderful about Swindon Books, and it’s hard to put a finger on the reason. It may be because of its well organised and easy to navigate aisles, or the it’s laid back vibe that invites you to flip through and read a few pages... The selection of books isn’t huge, but it’s carefully chosen and it spans many subjects. The ground floor has English books while the upstairs has English and Chinese.
Swindon Books, 13-15 Lock Rd, Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong, +852 2366 8001

This bookstore chain needs little introduction, and if you’re a parent and isn’t familiar with their location in the Prince’s Building, you really need to acquaint yourself. That particular branch does regular story time, book launches and all sorts of dandy events that inspire your child’s love for reading. Visit their website and see what are their upcoming events.

Bookazine Prince’s Building, Shop 309, Prince's Building, 10 Chater Rd, Central, Hong Kong, +852 2522 1785

If your Lord of the Rings trilogy is collecting dust and you’re looking for more updated reads, trade them in to BooksMart in Sheung Wan, a shop tucked away on the upper floor of an office building, which carries new and old books in English. There are books on virtually anything, including audio books, parenting, young adult novels and more.
BooksMart, Rm 1604, 16/F, Western Centre, 48 Des Voeux Rd West, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong, +852 2630 5035

Located in an industrial building in Wong Chuk Hang, Mirth is a one-stop shop for all of your needs from cutesy outfits and accessories to home wares for the perfect childhood room. They also have a small but well edited selection of books, with a great selection of beautifully illustrated books that junior will love, and also other coffee table books for mom.
Mirth Home, 23 Wong Chuk Hang Rd, Wong Chuk Hang, Hong Kong, +852 2553 9811

Bring your budding picassos to Basheer Books for a vast collection of art and design books. This is a bookstore for ‘tweens and teens interested in architecture, design, art and comics, or mommas and pappas looking for interesting reads or just beautifully bound coffee table books to show off your highbrow interests. There’s also nicenotebooks and stationary to stock up on.
Basheer Design Books, 1/F, Flat A, Island Building 439-441 Hennessy Rd, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong, +852 2126 7533

Thursday, September 04, 2014

Hong Kong: Order-In Food Delivery

by Appetite Urgency published on 04 September 2014

Too busy to whip up something in the kitchen but you can’t stomach another cup-a-noodle? Let these delivery services come to the rescue! Little Steps has compiled a list of our favorite food delivery options around town. Sit back, relax and let the food come to you!


With over 300 eatery listings complete with menus, you can now weigh your lunch or dinner options with this easy-to-use website. Select from cuisines spanning the globe, from Chinese, Indian and Thai to Western favorites. There are plenty of well-known restaurants linked to the site, including Soho Spice, Pizza Express and Mr Taco Truck.
Food By Web, +852 2805 1131


The leading global food delivery service with its fleet of zippy mopeds brings dinner straight to your door. It has signed up a large selection of restaurants including MANA!, eat Right, Maya Cafe, K-Roll, Sugo Sushi, and Bao Wow, to name a few. Foodpanda delivers straight to the office or direct to your door at home. They also have a mobile app that makes ordering food as streamlined as possible for Hong Kong locals and expats alike.
Food Panda, +852 3051 9292


Bringing everything edible from desserts, detox & juices, groceries, meals from restaurants, and even wine & spirits all under one roof, this visually-appealing website with beautiful photography makes browsing a breeze. Top picks include Chef Patrick Deli, Just Green, Kelly's Cape Bop, and Happy Cow. They currently deliver to offices only but is looking to deliver to homes starting next year.
Delivery, +852 3477 7777


A great online ordering service that allows you to pick your location - Hong Kong or Kowloon side from the get-go. Restaurants are clearly listed with the type of cuisine they serve, while the selection of restaurants they have on hand promises a great meal - selection includes BLT Burger, Dressed Salads, El Taco Loco and Ayuthaiya.
Cuisine Courier, +852 2596 0000


Dial-a-Dinner delivers to most areas in Hong Kong Island, the Southside, and Kowloon with a minimum order for lunch and dinnertime deliveries ranging from HK$100 to HK$150. Restaurants on their roster includes everything from Grappa’s Cellar and Habibi Cafe, to Malaymama and Mr Bing. It also delivers emergency items such as batteries, toiletries and ice from its online convenience store and wine from its online wine cellar.
Dial-a-Dinner, +852 2598 1718


With a whole host of restaurants covering all the bases, from Sichuan at Chili Fagara, to Chicken on the Run and Kyoto Jo, Food Fone can deliver to just about everywhere in Hong Kong. You can even order a whole host of different dishes to suit every palate in the family - junior can tuck into a burger from Caliburger while mom and dad start with ahealthy salad from Life Cafe.
Food By Fone, +852 2868 6969,


Fancy a home-cooked Indian meal without all the fuss? Every Sunday, Sav Sinslow prepares and delivers a set menu of meat or vegetarian dishes using only the best organic ingredients from her home kitchen. Sav also runs private and group cooking classes. Check on her Facebook page for more info.
Sav’s Cooking, +852 9311 9273


Skip Pizza Hut and get Pizzeria Italia on your speed dial for a yummy pizza pie in under 30 minutes. Their 33 pizzas made fresh-to-order, including specialities like their Gamberoni - a thin-crusted margherita pizza with fresh prawns or Fior di Latte with fresh mozzarella cheese are must-tries. Complete the meal with soups, salads, ribs and chicken. Their deliveries by FoodXpress promises no detours, bringing the pies straight to you.
Pizzeria Italia, 43 High Street, Sai Ying Pun, +852 2525 2519

* Invisible Kitchen - By the people behind Hong Kong Personal Chef, this is your answer to hosting at home a fresh wholesome dinner without lifting a finger.

* Food Happy - Groovy new snack boxes delivered weekly.

* Koziness - By the people from Dial-A-Dinner and Soho Delivery, this app & site is a trusty ordering-in staple.

* Secret Ingredient - Fresh ingredients chopped and prepared so you can whip-up a meal in no time.

* Don't forget, it's always worth asking your favorite neighborhood restaurant if they deliver!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Milk Mama Diaries: Top 10 things to know about HIV and Breastfeeding

I am slowly moving to Wordpress to better suit the growing needs of this blog so kindly click on the link below for the details of this entry.  Enjoy!

Friday, August 22, 2014

Milk Mama Diaries present Guest Writer Lola Robin Lim: Human Rights: Infant Rights At Birth

Welcome to the Milk Mama Diaries Carnival (August). For this month, we write about the World Breastfeeding Week 2014 - Breastfeeding: A Winning Goal for Life and share how breastfeeding can help the Philippines achieve the 8 Millennium Development Goals developed by the government and the United Nations. Participants will share their thoughts, experiences, hopes and suggestions on the topic. Please scroll down to the end of the post to see the list of carnival entries.
I would like to welcome and with great honor again, my guest writer Lola Robin Lim, CPM! To know more about Ibu Robin, you can learn more about her on her previously written blog a few months ago regarding the Rights of a Mother or visit her website at

She will be giving her thoughts on an Infant's Rights at Birth. She's the Protector of the Babies!  The Tagalog/Filipino version of the essay at the bottom section as per special request. If you have not read her Part 1 entry, please do here.

Enjoy the reading as much as I love posting this up!

Human Rights ~ Infant Rights at Birth
Robin Lim CPM written on June, 2014

Parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, siblings, families, midwives, doulas, doctors, nurses, hospital administrators and legislators… we are BirthKeepers. It is our responsibility to ask the next and the next question, for as BirthKeepers, it is we who are given the sacred responsibility to protect our incoming humans, the newborns, at birth and as they grow, for they are the future EarthKeepers. My question now is: “Are we allowing our health providers to rob our babies, of their full potential of health, intelligence, immunity and longevity, at birth?”

According to the Red Cross, children under the age of 17 (16 with parental consent in some States) are not eligible to donate blood. Blood donations are generally no more than 1 pint, which is 1/10th of the average adult blood volume. Blood donors must weigh at least 110 lbs (49,895 kg).

Yet, all over the world, in nearly every single medical institution where babies are born, Newborn infants (usually weighing only between 2 and 5 kilograms) are being denied up to 1/3 of their blood volume.

At the moment of birth newborn infants are estimated to have a blood volume of 78 ml/kg (X 3.5kg = 273 ml) with a venous hematocrit of 48%.

When the umbilical cord-clamping was delayed for 5 minutes the blood volume increased by 61% to 126 ml/kg (X 3.5 kg or 7.7 lbs. = 441 ml). This placental transfusion amounted to 168 ml for an average 3,500 g infant, one-quarter of which occurred in the first 15 seconds, and one-half within 60 seconds of birth.

Is taking 1/3 of a mammal’s blood supply harmful? How then can it be legal, for hospital protocols and practices to harm newborns, by robbing them at birth, of so much of their blood? I have reviewed the research and the evidence, and found absolutely NO benefits for newborn babies, when their umbilical cords are immediately clamped and cut at the time of birth. In fact the studies prove this to be a harmful practice.

At the time of birth up to 1/3 of each babies’ blood supply is traveling from the placenta via the umbilical cord to the baby. Calling this blood “cord blood” is doublespeak, intentionally ambiguous language, meant to fool parents into misunderstanding that the blood in the umbilical cord is the truly BABY’S blood.

No parent would sign a waiver (often presented in fine print as part of a long informed consent, given to mother when she arrives in labor) giving away 1/3 or any amount of their baby’s blood. Yet, thousands of times, every day and night, parents are deluded into giving away part of their baby’s precious blood supply! The majority of parents in the world are not even asked if their babies umbilical cord may be immediately severed.

I am quite sure that if I went removed 1/3 of even one adult patient’s blood, without his or her consent, it would be considered a crime. There would be media outcry against me, and I would be prosecuted. How then is it that people tolerate the same unfair treatment of human neonates?

A mountain of research does point to the fact that by simply delaying the clamping and cutting of babies’ umbilical cords, our newborn children would suffer less trauma, fewer inner cranial hemorrhages, have higher stores of iron at 4 months of age, and even up to 6 and 8 months after birth.[1],[2],[3] The nutrients, oxygen and stem cells present in the blood transfused into babies by the placenta, when cord severance is delayed ensures the bodies’ tissues and organs are properly vitalized, supplied with energy, and nourished. This translates into improved health, heightened immunity, increased intelligence and potential longevity.

In addition, by not severing the umbilical cord at birth, the baby must stay skin to skin with mother. This eliminates or greatly reduces the potential for birth trauma. Research has proven that babies born without trauma enjoy an intact capacity to love and trust. (Michel Odent OBGYN “The Scientification of Love.)

The simple, natural, common-sense practice of giving the placenta time to do its job, of delivering to the baby, his or her full blood supply, has been criticized and NOT implemented by the very doctors and hospitals who have taken an oath, to “Never Do Harm.”

An intervention, by definition is an action or process of intervening, or interfering, and so, the clamping and cutting of human babies’ umbilical cords is an intervention. However, in the medical literature, I have repeatedly seen the delay of umbilical cord severance called, an “intervention.”

Surgery is an intervention, in some cases a life saving one. I wonder, how not interfering with a natural, healthy process may be deemed an intervention.

The imposed medical habit of immediately clamping and cutting babies’ umbilical cords has not been with us so long (just over 200 years) and yet, it is considered “normal” and “necessary.”

“Another thing very injurious to the child, is the tying and cutting of the navel string too soon; which should always be left till the child has not only repeatedly breathed but till all pulsation in the cord ceases. As otherwise the child is much weaker than it ought to be, a portion of the blood being left in the placenta, which ought to have been in the child.”
~Erasmus Darwin, Zoonomia, 1801

The habitual practice of immediate umbilical cord clamping and cutting began in the 1960s when an unproved hypothesis or theory arose among physicians thinking that immediate cord severance would prevent jaundice. If this was true why do so many babies who had their cords immediately clamped and cut, need phototherapy for pathological jaundice? Research has proven that there is no greater risk of pathological jaundice for newborns whose cord clamping and cutting was delayed.

Another theory was that early cord clamping would prevent Polycythemia, or too much hemoglobin. Some research does show an increased concentration of hemoglobin in the delayed cord clamping group, but it has not harmed babies, nor is it a significant argument for immediate cord severance. [4]

When immediate umbilical cord clamping and cutting was introduced, it was never questioned. NO research was conducted to determine if it was a safe practice. It was just done for convenience. Doctors, nurses and midwives began to follow the trend, like sheep wearing blinders. Later, they justified it with myths about delayed cord severance causing jaundice. Few asked the questions I am asking today; “What about the Baby?” “What are the Babies’ human rights?” “Is the practice and protocol of immediate umbilical severance harming our children?” “Is it sabotaging breastfeeding and bonding?” “Is it impairing our children’s birthright to their full potential of health and intelligence?” At this junction on herstory and history, many BirthKeepers are asking these very questions.[5]

The research proves that immediate or early umbilical cord severance is detrimental to our newborn children, but no one seems alarmed? Are we hypnotized? Why are we trusting medical professionals, who profit from denying our offspring their very blood?

Thinking, caring parents and grandparents have concluded that OBGYNs and midwives, who insist on habitually severing the umbilical cords of newborn babies, immediately, are simply protecting their right to practice with impatience, and what they deem ‘efficiency,’ with no regard for the rights of the baby, who cannot protest.

Due to imagined Fear of litigation. In 1995 the American Academy of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) released an Educational Bulletin (#216) recommending immediate cord clamping in order to obtain cord blood for blood gas studies in case of a future lawsuit. They did this because deviations in blood gas values at birth can reflect asphyxia, or lack of. Lack of asphyxia at birth is viewed as proof in a court of law that a baby was healthy at birth.

Following an unpublished letter sent to ACOG by Dr. Morley, ACOG [6] withdrew this Educational Bulletin in the February 2002 issue of Obstetrics and Gynecology, the ACOG journal. This action released them of liability resulting from their previous bulletin #216 of 1995. Parents and all BirthKeepers must ask; WHY, if ACOG has withdrawn its erroneous instruction to doctors, to immediately clamp and cut babies’ umbilical cords, is it still universally and dangerously practiced?

Midwives and doctors who propose to preserve the healthy process of placental transfusion at birth, by delaying umbilical cord clamping and cutting, are criticized and charged with the burden of proving that letting nature take her course is, safe!

At Bumi Sehat we have received nearly 7,000 babies safely into the world, in high-risk, low resource settings. All of these babies enjoyed delayed umbilical cord clamping and cutting. Normally we wait 3 hours before doing anything with the Babies’ umbilical cords, and many parents choose cord non-severance, or, “Full Lotus Birth.” Both of my grandsons, had what is called, “Full Lotus Birth” their placentas were left intact. Full Lotus Birth is simply allowing the baby, umbilical cord and placenta to stay intact, until the cord naturally dries and falls away, with no violence. Normal Lotus Birth happens anytime we see the baby, cord and placenta trinity. This means we do not clamp or cut the babies’ umbilical cords, before the placenta has been safely born. Certainly we would never clamp and cut a baby’s cord, until all pulsation has stopped.

At Bumi Sehat we have experienced NO ill effects for the babies, even though we do not immediately sever their umbilical connection to the placenta. A small study was done which compared a small sample of 30 babies from Bumi Sehat (greatly delayed cord severance) and 30 babies from a local hospital with immediate cord severance. There was NO increased rate of Jaundice and the delayed cord severance group from Bumi Sehat enjoyed higher hemoglobin.

Our MotherBabies enjoy a breastfeeding rate of 100% upon discharge from all of our three Childbirth centers, in Indonesia and the Philippines. We attribute the success of Mother’s to breastfeed to the bright, enthusiastic way in which babies, born at our birth centers, bond wide-eyed, and go directly to the breast to self-attach and feed. Delayed umbilical cord clamping and cutting makes it possible for babies to be bright and energetic. Babies subjected to immediate cord severance, suffer from newborn anemia and all their bonding, breastfeeding activities are impaired.

Babies who are compromised by newborn anemia, caused by the immediate or early clamping and cutting of their umbilical cords, are withered in comparison, and have more difficulty finding the energy required to self-attach and robustly feed at Mother’s breasts. After all, babies who suffer the routine medical habit of immediate cord severance, only seconds after birth, have been denied up to 1/3 of their divine right to their natural blood supply and stem cells, of course they have trouble breastfeeding. Sever anemia makes any and all newborn activities; gazing, crawling toward the breast, nuzzling, staying awake, latching and suckling, nearly impossible. I sing praises to the determined mothers who manage to bond and breastfeed their infants, in spite of immediate cord severance. Humans are super resilient, but that is no excuse to abuse them at birth.

No other Mammal, except humans, routinely interferes with bonding and breastfeeding by quickly severing the umbilical cords of their offspring.

No matter if you are rich or poor; educated or not; brown, black, white, red, yellow or of mixed race, Muslim, Christian, Buddhist, Hindu, Pagan, Catholic, Jewish or Agnostic, very young or getting older, if you go to a medical institution for childbirth, your baby will be robbed of up to 1/3 or 33% of his or her/his natural blood supply.

Why? Stem cells are valuable, blood is valuable, hospitals sell babies’ blood for transfusions and for research.[7]  Many parents are asked to donate their babies cord blood to science or to help others. Is this blood not meant to help the baby it belongs to? If adults may only donate up to 10% of their blood, why are doctors taking up to 33% of our babies’ blood, without consent. There are hospitals and clinics who impede the natural transfer of blood from placenta to baby, only to throw it away as medical waste. Umbilical cords are marketed for transplants. Placentas have been sold to cosmetic companies to be used in beauty supplies.

Just say “NO, I will not allow anyone to abuse my newborn by immediately clamping and cutting my Baby’s umbilical cord!”

If you were born in a hospital or clinic, it happened to you. If you plan to have your birth in nearly any medical institution on earth, it will happen to your baby, unless YOU stop it.

Immediate or early clamping and cutting of babies’ umbilical cords is the biggest most widespread, medically sanctioned Human Rights issue on Earth!

[1] BMJ. 2011 Nov 15;343:d7157. doi: 10.1136/bmj.d7157.
[2] Indian Pediatr. 2002 Feb;39(2):130-5.
[4] J Perinat Neonat Nurs r Vo 2012, Rethinking Placental Transfusion and Cord Clamping Issues, Judith S. Mercer, PhD, CNM, FACNM, Debra A. Erickson-Owens, PhD, CNM

**************Tagalog/Filipino Version******************

Here are many thoughts and reasons why we should all advocate for mothers to breastfeed for the first 1,000 days of life #BF1st1000days

Milk Mommy Diaries: Guest Writer, 2011 CNN Hero Ibu Robin : Childbirth A Global Push

Welcome to the Milk Mama Diaries Carnival (August). For this month, we write about the World Breastfeeding Week 2014 - Breastfeeding: A Winning Goal for Life and share how breastfeeding can help the Philippines achieve the 8 Millennium Development Goals developed by the government and the United Nations. Participants will share their thoughts, experiences, hopes and suggestions on the topic. Please scroll down to the end of the post to see the list of carnival entries.

To continue with Breastfeeding Month and an extra entry to the Milk Mommy Diaries, it is with great honor (and awe) to present my guest writer today...and she is none other than 2011 CNN Hero - Lola Robin Lim, CPM!

For those who live under a rock...Lola Robin (Ibu Robin) is an Filipino American woman who has helped thousands of poor Indonesian women have a healthy pregnancy and birth.  She is certified midwife and founder of Yayasan Bumi Sehat (Healthy Mother Earth Foundation) health clinics, which offer free prenatal care, birthing services and medical aid to anyone who needs it. She and her team have been working since 2003 to combat Indonesia's high maternal and infant mortality rates, and the Bumi Sehat birth centers serve many at-risk mothers.

In 2011, she was awarded the 2011 CNN Hero of the Year award by CNN news network for helping thousands of low-income women in Indonesia with healthy pregnancy and birth services.

To know more about Ibu Robin, you can visit her website at

She will be giving her take in the discussion of UN MDGs that has an impact for both Mother-Babies.  As per special request, a Tagalog/Filipino version of the essay is indicated after the English version.
To read about her other entry on Infant Rights at Birth.

Human Rights in Childbirth A Global Push
Robin Lim CPM written on June, 2014

At the moment I am back in Bali. Since the November Super Typhoon, I have been mostly in the Philippines. To be honest, it is good to be here at home with my family, sleeping in a real bed. The floor of the tent in the disaster zone is challenging for the body. However, it is also torture to be away from the great need of the mothers and babies, in the Philippine disaster area.

We have now received over 500 babies, GENTLY in the tent, with no running water, illumined by solar lights. We have proven that the model of kind, respectful, excellent MotherBaby~Friendly, Midwife-to-Mother care in childbirth... works. Even in the most devastated, high risk, low resource places on Earth: Post terrorist bombed Bali, Aceh, after the tsunami, Jyogja, Padang and Haiti, after the huge earthquakes, and now in the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan, in the Philippines, natural gentle childbirth has proven to be the best way to preserve lives, with dignity.

Now Dr Niccolo Giovannini’s, proposed research in Mangiagalli hospital, Milano, Italy, involving 7,000 babies in one year, has the potential to document the benefits of the Bumi Sehat model of care. (Dr. Niccolo was a volunteer at Bumi Sehat for 6 months, in Bali in 2012.) There is indeed already a mountain of evidence that proves; we MUST delay the clamping and cutting of our babies' umbilical cords. The study Dr. Niccolo will conduct, will put ALL doubt to rest. Niccolo came to Bumi Sehat Bali, just to touch in and see the project. What he saw moved him, so he stayed nearly 6 months. He says that he has never seen babies so bright, in any other birth setting. He observed how babies born gently, respecting and honoring the mother, with delayed umbilical cord clamping, would gaze wide-eyed at their mothers, crawl to her breast and feed.

The MotherBaby Placenta Trinity, when protected, is the best recipe to support healthy beginnings for all babies, especially in low-resource settings.

Even with a vast body of evidenced based medicine, to support the Gentle Model of reproductive healthcare, the abuse continues. I have seen it in hospitals in many countries, even today. Caring Midwives and Doctors and Nurses seem to become sheep, allowing anyone they perceive as being in a position of authority (hospital administrators, Departments of Health, even Insurance officers), to abuse our MothersBabies (even in writing I do not wish to separate them). Even worse, the Midwives, Nurses and Doctors who vowed to care, are the perpetrators of the policies of abuse. This is simply Stockholm Syndrome, in the Labor and Delivery rooms all over planet Earth. It must stop with us. It must stop now.

We can list the problems:

1) Bullying in Vaginal exams as I have seen them in Hospitals in 4 countries; a stranger, with NO permission, often not even aware of the woman's name, puts his or her hand into the woman's vagina, even forcefully, usually painfully. In any other setting, this is called Rape! In hospitals, it is medically sanctioned rape. Imagine if men were made to remove their pants and shoes, and lay down on an OB table, and in front of strangers, open their legs and place their feet in the stirrups.

The response of many many women is the same as when they are raped; a part of her leaves her body, she becomes numb and disengages, she simply goes away. In the context of becoming a Mother, this has a sad and terrible impact on the MotherBaby relationship. The so-called "normal" protocols surrounding hospital birth sabotage bonding and breastfeeding, they sabotage the future generation's capacity to trust and love.

2) The immediate clamping and cutting of babies' umbilical cords. We already know the impact. Clearly the Baby cannot protest. Yet, routinely, at nearly every birth on earth today, babies will be robbed of up to 1/3 of their own blood supply and stem cells. It's a wonder so many mothers persevere, and manage to bond and breastfeed their babies. This gives me hope that love heals all. Even so, the good outcomes for mothers and babies, in spite of the abuse, are NO excuse for continuing the abuse.

Here in Bali we have done a study, which proved that babies with delayed umbilical cord clamping and cutting did NOT have higher incidence of Jaundice. The story that was medically perpetrated went like this: if we don't immediately clamp and cut the babies' umbilical cords, they will have too much blood, and develop pathological jaundice." This story is NOT researched based. It is a medical Myth, designed to scare us all and undermine our innate instinct to protect our babies. Indeed, there is, according to Michel Odent, evidence that when the mother sees the clamps and scissors used to sever her baby's cord, her levels of oxytocin drop. The interruption of the Love Hormone, puts mothers at increased risk for postpartum hemorrhage! When we harm children right before the eyes of their own mothers, we have achieved a level of cruelty that is staggering, and life threatening. This is NOT Science, it is barbarism. We must consider that the under-reported numbers of women dying, in the prime of their lives, from complications of childbirth are still 800 per day, and wonder if protocols that undermine a new mother’s flow of hormones, are at least a part of the cause.

If we talk about the "inconvenience" of just letting the Baby, Umbilical Cord, Placenta trinity be, for some time after birth, I feel disgust. How can we question that our hospital staff, the protocols and even the furniture (the birth "tables" are so narrow, there is no place to put the bowl with the placenta beside mother and baby) MUST Adapt to what is BEST for MotherBaby, not the reverse, which is the situation now.

For example, I witnessed a premature breech birth at the East Visayan Regional Medical Center, a few days ago. The OBGYN wanted to immediately clamp and cut the umbilical cord, so that baby could be resuscitated, even though in the Philippines, protocol is to DELAY. I stopped her from immediately severing the baby's cord, though only for two precious minutes, and we began resuscitation for the tiny neonate, there in the delivery room. However, the terrible narrow steel delivery table, with stirrups, makes it impossible to really care for the compromised infant immediately, on the spot, which is bad planning. Thankfully there are people developing neonatal resuscitation units, which roll right up to delivery table. (Our baby was fine, even though the OBGYN had already told the mother that her baby had no heartbeat, it was not true, she was quite easy to resuscitate, and even at just 30 weeks gestation, is doing well, with skin-to-skin and breast milk.) This brings me to my next point….

3) Archaic/cruel Obstetrical furniture. I say we need to throw out the steel table and stirrups as the "place to deliver.” Except for a few obstetrical procedures, there is no need for these tables at all. These OB tables are demeaning. These high steel tables go against a woman’s natural instinct to give birth close to the Mother Earth, in privacy. The very design is cruel and undermines a woman’s natural flow of the hormone oxytocin, for oxytocin is shy and cannot bear being chilled. How can a woman’s oxyticin flow, when she is placed up high, in full view of strangers, with her yoni and most of her naked body exposed? This set-up causes any human to feel cold and ashamed. When a woman’s natural flow of oxyticin is sabotaged in childbirth, the process becomes much more difficult, labor is longer, and in third stage the risk of postpartum hemorrhage is greater. Once the baby is born in such a setting the table is narrow, so healthcare providers are reluctant to put the baby on mother, skin to skin, for fear the baby will fall. Also the table itself makes it difficult to delay the clamping and cutting of the babies’ umbilical cords.

What I am saying is: “The OB tables women are forced to give birth on are cruel, demeaning, medically counter indicted as they sabotage the natural process of childbirth, increase the risks for mother, and make breastfeeding and bonding nearly impossible. They must be changed, totally eliminated in our healthcare facilities, if birth is to become universally more gentle.

4) Choices in Childbirth, a Human Right. World wide birthing women are being forced into bigger and bigger, less personal medical facilities to give birth. This is the emerging reproductive health agenda set in motion by the medical authorities, with no regard for the choices and rights of women.

Clearly gentle Midwifery-to-Mother care, in the setting of the Birthing Mother’s choice, is the safest most humane option.

In a Recent Lancet Executive Summary, Midwifery to Mother care was defended:

The Executive Summary states: The essential needs of childbearing women in all countries, and of their babies and families, are the focus of this thought-provoking series of international studies on midwifery. Many of those needs are still not being met, decades after they have been recognized. New solutions are required. The Series provides a framework for quality maternal and newborn care (QMNC) that firmly places the needs of women and their newborn infants at its centre. It is based on a definition of midwifery that takes account of skills, attitudes and behaviours rather than specific professional roles. The findings of this Series support a shift from fragmented maternal and newborn care provision that is focused on identification and treatment of pathology to a whole-system approach that provides skilled care for all. “Midwifery is a vital solution to the challenges of providing high-quality maternal and newborn care for all women and newborn infants, in all countries”

Midwives can and do safely support women birthing in all settings, including, for healthy low-risk women, the choice to be supported to birth in the privacy and comfort of their own homes.

Regarding these 4 points: unethical vaginal exams, immediate or early clamping and cutting of babies' umbilical cords, cruel obstetrical furniture, and choices in childbirth; I believe that in less than 10 years time (IF we keep working for Human Rights in Childbirth) no healthcare provider or BirthKeeper will believe that these human rights infractions were common practice.

Perhaps we will live to see a day when no one would dare to immediately clamp and cut a child's cord, or do a vaginal exam without the woman’s full consent and only when necessary. There will be a day when the OB tables, where women have been forced to give birth, will exist only in museums of sad history. Homebirth for healthy low risk MotherBabies will be a supported choice.

We must push for these Human Rights… There is a violent war being fought on the battlefield of our bodies, because medical institutions profit from technology in childbirth. If we are to reclaim our rights to gentle birth, we must fight on our own terms. I say, let us defend our rights in the Woman’s way, our way, diligently, with the fierce strength of Mother lions defending our young, we must fight this battle with LOVE.

In Love,
Lola Robin Lim, Grandmother and Professional Midwife
Advisory board for Human Rights in Childbirth (

*********Tagalog/Filipino Version**************
Karapatang Pantao sa Panganganak, Pandaigdigang Kamalayan
Robin Lim CPM
June, 2014

Sa kasalukuyan ako ay nandito uli sa Bali.  Simula noong malakas na bagyo ng Nobyembre, madalas akong nasa Pilipinas.  Sa katotohanan, ang sarap sa pakiramdam na nandito ako sa aming tahanan sa piling ng aking pamilya, natutulog sa totoong kama.  Ang lapag sa tolda ng disaster zone ay masakit sa katawan.  Gayunpaman, masakit sa kalooban na napapalayo ako sa mga ina at sanggol sa mga nasalantang lugar sa Pilipinas na lubos na nangangailangan.

MARAHAN kaming tumanggap nang mahigit na 500 sanggol sa aming tolda na walang dumadaloy na malinis na tubig at napapailawan lamang ng solar lights.  Napatunayan naming ang modelo ng mahabagin, magalang, mahusay na Mother-Baby Friendly Midwife-to-Mother na pag-aaruga ay… gumagana.  Kahit sa pinakamahabagin, pinakamapanganib, pinakapayak na lugar sa mundo: ang mga kinahinatnan matapos ang pambobomba ng mga terorista sa Bali, Aceh, tsunami sa Jyogja, Padang at Haiti, matapos ang malalakas na lindol at ngayon ang pinsalang dulot ng Bagyong Haiyan sa Pilipinas, napatunayan na ang natural at marahang panganganak ay ang pinakamabuting paraan para pangalagaan at bigyan dignidad ang buhay ng mga sanggol at ina.

May pinapanukalang pag-aaral si Dr. Niccolo Giovannini sa Mangiagalli Hospital, Milano, Italy na kabibilangan ng 7,000 na sanggol sa isang taon.  Ito ay may posibilidad na mailathala ang benepisyo ng Bumi Sehat Model of Care.  Maraming-marami na ang ebidensya na nagpapatunay na DAPAT ipagpaliban ang paghugpong at pagputol ng umblical cord ng sanggol.  Ang pananaliksik na gagawin ni Dr. Niccolo ay magpapasawalang bahala sa LAHAT ng mga pagdududa dito.  Pumunta si Dr. Niccolo sa Bumi Sehat Bali para lang makita ang proyekto noong 2012.  Ang kanyang namasdan ay nagpaantig ng kanyang puso kaya’t nahimok siyang manatili ng halos anim na buwan.  Ayon sa kanya, doon lang siya nakakita ng mga bagong silang na sanggol na walang kasingsigla.  Napagmasdan din niya na ang mga sanggol na pinanganak nang may marahang pag-aaruga, nang may paggalang at parangal sa ina, na pinagpaliban ang pagsugpong ng kordon, ay mulat na mulat na titingin sa kanilang ina at gagapang papunta sa dibdib para sumuso.

Ang pagkalinga sa “MotherBabyPlacenta Trinity” ay ang pinakamagandang paraan upang itaguyod ang mabuting panimula para sa mga sanggol lalo na ang mga nasa payak lugar.

Sa kabila ng malawak na kaalaman sa medisina na sumusuporta sa Gentle Model ng reproductive healthcare, nananaig ang pang-aabuso.  Nakikita ko ito sa mga ospital sa maraming bansa hanggang ngayon.  Ang mga komadrona, doktor at nars ay tila nagiging tupa at pinapahintulutan ang mga nasa posisyon (administrator ng ospital, Department of Health at kahit ang opisyal ng mga Insurance) para abusuhin ang mga InaSanggol (kahit sa pagsulat ay hindi ko magawang paghiwalayin sila).  Ang lalong malubha, ang mga komadrona, nars at doktor na nanumpang mangalaga ay nangunguna sa pang-aabuso.  Ito ay tila “Stockholm Syndrome” sa mga paanakan sa buong mundo.  Ito ay dapat matigil sa atin.  Ito ay dapat matigil ngayon din.

Ililista ko ang mga suliranin:
1)      Pang-aabuso sa pagsusuri sa ari ng babae.  Nakita ko ito sa mga ospital sa apat na bansa: isang taong hindi kakilala, na WALANG pahintulot at madalas ni pangalan ng nanay ay hindi alam, ay ilalagay ang kanyang kamay sa ari ng nanay ng papilit at madalas ay nakakasakit.  Sa ibang pagkakataon, ito ay tinatawag na Panggagahasa! Sa mga ospital, ito ay panggagahasa na may pahintulot ng medisina. Ipagpalagay kung ang mga kalalakihan ay pinagawang tanggalin ang kanilang pantalon at sapatos, at pinahiga sa harap ng mga hindi kakilalang tao, pinabuka ang mga binti at pinalagay ang mga paa sa tungtungan.

Ang tugon dito ng maraming kababaihan ay tulad nang nagahasa, isang bahagi ng kanyang sarili ay nawawala.  Siya ay nagiging manhid.  Ang kalooban nya ay lumalayo. Sa konteksto ng pagiging ina, ito ay may malungkot at nakakatakot na epekto sa ugnayan ng InaSanggol.  Ang sinasabing “normal” na pamamaraan ng mga ospital sa pagpapaanak ay pinapahamak ang magandang pagsasama at pagpapasuso ng InaSanggol.  Pinapahamak nila ang kapasidad ng susunod na henerasyon para magtiwala at magmahal.

2)      Agarang pagsugpong at pagputol ng umblical cord ng Sanggol.  Alam na natin ang epekto nito.  Malinaw na hindi makalaban ang Sanggol.  Subalit, regular at halos sa bawat pagsilang sa mundo ngayon, ang Sanggol ay nananakawan ng hanggang ikatlo ng kanilang suplay na dugo at stem cells.  Kamangha-mangha na maraming ina ang nagsusumikap at matagumpay na napapasuso ang kanilang anak.  Ito ay nagbibigay sa akin ng pag-asa na hinihilom ng pag-ibig ang lahat. Gayunpaman, ang mabuting kinahantungan ng InaSanggol sa kabila ng mga pang-aabuso ay HINDI dahilan para ipagpatuloy ang pang-aabuso.

May ginawa kaming pag-aaral dito sa Bali na nagpatunay na ang mga Sanggol na pinagpaliban ang pagsugpong at pagputol ng kordon ay HINDI nagkaroon ng mataas na insidente ng paninilaw ng balat. 

Ang paniniwala na pinalaganap sa medisina ay ito: kapag hindi agad sinugpong at pinutol ang kordon  ng sanggol, magkakaroon sila ng masyadong maraming dugo at magkakaroon ng patolohikal na paninilaw ng balat.  Ang paniniwalang ito ay HINDI base sa masusi at siyentipikong pag-aaral.  Ito ay isang haka-haka lamang na ginawa para manakot at maliitin ang ating likas na kakayahan upang protektahan ang ating mga sanggol.  Sa katunayan, ayon kay Michel Odent, mayroong patunay na kapag nakita ng isang ina ang panumpong at gunting para putulin ang kordon ng kanyang sanggol ay bumabagsak ang antas ng oxytocin sa kanyang katawan.  Ang pagkakaantala sa love hormone ay nilalagay ang ina sa masmataas na posibilidad ng matinding pagdurugo pagkatapos manganak! Kapag sasaktan natin ang mga bata sa harap mismo ng kanilang ina, matatamo natin ang antas ng kalupitan na napakatindi at nakakapeligro sa buhay. HINDI ito siyensya. Ito ay barbarismo.  Ating bigyan ng karapatang pansin ang dami ng mga babaeng namamatay sa rurok ng kanilang buhay dahil sa komplikasyon sa panganganak ay nasa 800 kada araw.  Mapapaisip ka kung ang mga pamamaraan na minamaliit ang daloy ng hormon sa isang bagong ina ay kasama sa dahilan ng mga kamatayang ito.

Nasusuklam ako tuwing pag-uusapan ang “abala” na dulot ng pagpaparaya ng ilang saglit sa kordon ng sanggol at placenta trinity pagkasilang ng sanggol.  Bakit ang mga kawan ng ospital, ang pamamaraang gamit at kahit ang kasangkapan (ang “mesa” kung saan nanganganak  ay masyadong makitid, walang paglalagyan ng inunan sa tabi ng ina at sanggol) ang DAPAT makibagay sa kung anong PINAKAMABUTI para sa InaSanggol at hindi ang kabaligtaran na siyang nangyayari ngayon?

Halimbawa, nasaksihan ko ang pagsilang ng isang premature breech sa East Visayan Regional Medical Center kamakailan lang.  Ang OBGYN ay gusto agad pagsumpungin at putulin ang kordon para magkamalay tao ang sanggol, kahit na ang protokol sa Pilipinas ay IPAGPALIBAN.  Tinigil ko sya sa pagputol agad ng kordon.  Nagawa ko lang ito nang dalawang minuto at saka namin sinimulan ang pagbuhay sa napakaliit na bagong silang na sanggol.  Gayunpaman, ang teribleng makitid na mesang paanakan na may tuntungan ay hindi akma para bigyan ng agaran at karapatang pag-aalaga ang bagong silang.  Ako ay nagpapasalamat na mayroong mga taong nagsusulong at gumagawa na ng neonatal resuscitation units na nailalagay sa tabi ng mesang paananakan.  (Ang sanggol ay mabuti naman kahit na sinabi ng OBGYN sa ina na walang pulso ang bata.  Hindi ito totoo.  Sa katunayan, madaling napanumbalik ang malay tao ng sanggol kahit na 30 linggo lamang ito sa sinapupunan.  Ang sanggol ay mahusay ang kalagayan gawa ng skin-to-skin at ng gatas ng ina.)  Pinasisimulan nito ang susunod kong punto…

3)      Sinauna o walang habag na mga kasangkapan sa panganganak.  Sinasabi ko, kailangan nang itapon ang bakal na mesa bilang lugar para bigyan silang ang isang sanggol.  Maliban sa ilang gawaing obstetrikal, hindi ito kinakailangan.  Ang mga ito ay walang pakundangan sa mga ina.  Ang mga matataas na mesang bakal ay hindi naaayon sa natural at likas na simbuyo ng isang ina upang magluwal ng sanggol sa pribadong lugar at malapit sa Inang Kalikasan.  Ang kanyang disenyo ay walang habag at pinapasawalang bahala ang natural na daloy ng oxytocin dahil ang oxytocin ay mahiyain at hindi kaya ang lamig.  Papaanong dadaloy ang oxytocin kung ang ina ay nakaratay ng napakataas at kitang-kita ng mga hindi kakilala ang kanya kaluluwa at halos hubad na katawan?  Ang kalagayang ito ay nagpapahiya sa kahit sinong tao.  Kapag ang natural na daloy ng oxytocin ay nasabotahe sa panganganak, ang proseso ng pagluwal ng sanggol ay tumatagal at masnagiging mahirap, at sa pangatlong yugto ay tumataas ang posibilidad ng matinding pagdurugo matapos ang panganganak.  Kapag ang sanggol ay maipanganak sa makitid na mesa, ang mga tagapangalaga ay may alinlangang ipatong ang sanggol sa ina para sa skin-to-skin dahil sa takot na mahulog ito.  Ang naturang mesa ay balakid din para maisagawa ang pagpapaliban ng pagsugpong at pagputol ng kordon ng sanggol. 

Gusto ko ipahiwatig na ang mga mesang ito kung saan pilit na pinapagamit sa pagluwal ng sanggol ay walang kahabag-habag at hindi naaayon sapagkat sinasabotahe nito ang natural na proseso ng pagsilang ng isang sanggol, nagbibigay nang masmataas na posibilidad na kapahamakan sa ina, at nagpapahirap sa ugnayan at pagpapasuso ng ina sa kanyang anak.  Ito ay dapat mabago at mawala nang tuluyan sa lahat ng pasilidad na nangangalaga sa kalusugan kung gagawing marahan ang pagnganganak.

4)      Karapatang pantao ang makapili ng paraan ng panganganak.  Sa lahat ng dako ng mundo, ang mga nagdadalang-taong ina ay pinipilit na manganak sa malalaki at tila pampublikong lugar.  Ang walang paubaya sa karapatan ng kababaihan at sa kanyang kakayahan pumili ang umuusbong na kalakaran sa reproductive health sa pangunguna ng mga awtoridad sa medisina.

Malinaw na sa mga pagpipilian ng nagdadalang-taong ina, ang marahang pangangalaga ng komadrona sa ina ang pinakaligtas at makataong paraan.

Sa isang Lancet Executive Summary na nailathala kamakailan, ipinagtanggol ang pangangalaga ng komadrona sa ina:

Ayon dito: Ang pangunahing pangangailangan ng mga nagdadalang-tao sa lahat ng bansa, ng kanilang sanggol at pamilya, ay ang paksa sa serye ng mga pag-aaral sa midwifery.  Matapos ang isang dekada mula nang makilanlan ang mga pangangailangang ito, marami pa rin ang hindi naibibigay sa mga kinaukulan. Bagong sulosyon ang kailangan.  Ang Serye ng pag-aaral sumesentro sa pangangailangan ng ina at sanggol ay nagbibigay ng balangkas para sa kalidad ng pangangalaga sa ina at bagong silang (quality maternal and newborn care).  Ito ay batay sa kahulugan ng midwifery na sumasaklaw sa kakayanan, kilos at ugali sa halip na propesyonal na tungkulin.  Ang Seryeng ito ay sumusuporta sa pagbaling mula sa probisyong nakatuon sa pangingilala at paglapat ng lunas ng patolohiya kaya’t nagkukulang ang pangangalaga sa ina at bagong silang, patungo sa tunay na makabagong pamamaraan na nagbibigay ng dalubhasang pangangalaga sa lahat. “Ang midwifery ay isang importanteng solusyon sa mga hamon na kinakaharap sa pagbigay ng mataas na kalidad na pangangalaga sa ina at sanggol para sa lahat ng kababaihan, bagong silang, sa lahat ng bansa.”

Ang mga komadrona ay may sapat na kakayahan upang suportahan at tulungan ang isang malusog at low-risk na ina na manganak ng ligtas sa kahit saang lugar na piliin niya at kahit sa kaniyang sariling tahanan.

Tungkol sa apat na puntong aking nabanggit: pang-aabuso sa pagsusuri ng ari ng babae, agarang pagsugpong at pagputol ng kordon ng sanggol, walang kahabag-habag na mga kasangkapan sa panganganak, at kakayahang makapili ng paraan ng panganganak; naniniwala ako na hindi aabot ng sampung taon (kung masigasig nating itataguyod ang Karapatang Pantao sa Panganganak), walang tagapangalaga sa kalusugan ang maniniwalang ang apat na ito ay nakaugalian gawin.

Marahil balang araw, makikita natin na walang magtatangkang pagsugpungin at putulin agad ang kordon ng isang sanggol, o kaya’y mag-eksamina ng ari ng ina ng walang pahintulot nya at kung kailangan lamang.  Darating din ang araw na ang mga metal na mesa na paanakan ay magiging bahagi na lamang ng mga museong naglalaman ng malungkot na kasaysayan.  Ang desisyon ng mga malusog na InaSanggol na manganak sa sariling tahanan ay balang araw magiging suportado din.

Kailangan nating itaguyod ang mga karapatang pantaong ito!  Mayroong marahas na labanang nagaganap sa ating mga katawan dahil ang mga institusyon sa pangangalaga ay nagpapayaman sa teknolohiya ng panganganak.  Kung gusto nating mabawi ang ating karapatan sa marahang panganganak, kailangan nating lumaban sa sarili nating paraan.  Ipaglaban natin ang ating karapatan gamit ang pamamaraan ng kababaihan.  Labanan natin ito gamit ang PAGMAMAHAL.

Nagmamahal, Robin Lim, Lola at Propesyonal na Komadrona
Advisory Board for Human Rights in Childbirth

Here are many thoughts and reasons why we should all advocate for mothers to breastfeed for the first 1,000 days of life #BF1st1000days

Improving Maternal Lives Through Global Coorperation: a Milk Mama Diaries

Welcome to the Milk Mama Diaries Carnival (August). For this month, we write about the World Breastfeeding Week 2014 - Breastfeeding: A Winning Goal for Life and share how breastfeeding can help the Philippines achieve the 8 Millennium Development Goals developed by the government and the United Nations. Participants will share their thoughts, experiences, hopes and suggestions on the topic. Please scroll down to the end of the post to see the list of carnival entries.************************************************************

As part of the blog roll, I wrote about what the 8 Millenium Development Goals are on a previous entry. In this installment, I would like to focus on Improve Maternal Health (UN MDG #5) and Global Partnership for Development (UN MDG #8).

Why should we care?

"The risk of a woman dying as a result of pregnancy or childbirth during her lifetime is about one in six in the poorest parts of the world compared with about one in 30 000 in Northern Europe. "
- The Lancet, Volume 368, Issue 9542, 
30 September–6 October 2006, Pages 1189–1200

South Asia's maternal mortality rate, as report in 2014 by the UN, has decreased from 360 to 190 (Maternal deaths per 100,000 live births, women aged 15-49) based on the chart on the UN MDG website. This is about a 47% decrease for South Asia.  We still have a long way to go if we need to reach 75% and with just one year to go, it makes me wonder if this is doable.

(The comparable statistic for developed countries improved from from 65% in 1990 to 83% in 2012.)
And although the improvement in the South Asia statistic is a good thing, it is likely that the reality is that a significant number of the women do not receive the recommended amount of health care they need.
Take for the example: a woman living in the fringe of the city (rural, isolated area) with an obstetric emergency may find the closest facility equipped only for basic treatments and education.  She may have no way to reach a regional center where resources she needs exist.  Upon arrival at the closest facility, she may also not get immediate treatment due to the shortage of qualified staff, and essential supplies, coupled with administrative delays and possible clinical mismanagement.

Why is this?
In the Philippines, here are the main reasons why there are delays to seek medical care by mothers:-
  • Poverty, lack of financial aid/support
  • Distance of health clinics between cities
  • Lack of understanding of quality of care methods
  • Inadequate equipment and staff in rural facilities 
Poverty and distance between health care facilities is the first hurdle. Although health centers do not charge for check-ups, many would-be mothers cannot even afford the cost of transportation and vitamins. Most of the health centers are located near major cities so for pregnant mother who live in the rural areas, maternal care checks are hardly done.

In addition, many facilities are not properly staffed and equipped. Early detection of high blood pressure (i.e. preeclampsia), diabetes, anemia, etc will better equip the mom and even her obstetrician on how ensure a safe birth.

Given the above reasons, I strongly believe that until we resolve the problems faced by women, progress to decrease maternal mortality cannot be achieved.

What can we do? 
It is a given that inequalities in the risk of maternal death exist everywhere especially in the Philippines but targeting the proper interventions to resolve these is important.  The rural populations and poor, is essential if substantial progress is to be achieved by 2015.

1.) Reach out to them!
Re-energize governmental efforts and focus to grassroots endeavors through open forums in concerned rural areas with no health care center within a 5-10 mile radius.  This is to better understand where exactly help is needed so studies can be forwarded to proper authorities who can further handle and help.

2.) Promote maternal care!
Private and public sectors in the area should look into investing in providing global/universal health care to poverty stricken rural areas.
Local municipalities can start implementing projects that can help alleviate distance by providing scheduled shuttle service to bring pregnant mothers each month to health care centers for their check-ups.  Local authorities should look into acquiring adequate equipment (i.e. proper ultrasound machines) for their main health center that they will use to shuttle these mothers to.
Also, pharmaceutical companies and other private, medical corporations can help by providing new and more advanced health care be more accessible all over by maybe providing new and testing machines to rural areas.  With the advancements in telecommunication technologies, video conferencing can enable more experienced doctors to be contacted without having to be at the hospital where the emergency would be, plus in the process, train the already existing staff to handle situation.  It saves crucial time for transporting the emergency mother to another area where the specialized doctor would be.  
3.) Empower women and girls.
Respecting the rights of women to their own bodies through sex education, access to contraception (Reproductive Health Bill) and family planning.  A lot of some of the teen moms I have met have no real knowledge on what could happen if she had unprotected sex. A few of these are below the legal age of 18.
A lot of them have the same thought on being unexpectedly pregnant...that they regretted getting pregnant so early in their life and due to the lack of education, she is limited to what job she can take. Due to this, maybe the government can provide livelihood training to these women who have limited education or assist them in continuing their education to help alleviate their current situation.

4.) Speak Up and Take Action! 
Reach out to your local government bodies (barangay, municipality, city hall, etc) and civil society on suggestions to improve the situation - discuss and educate them on the topic and influence people to take decisions which will improve our lives and the lives of others.
Social media can also work on your end aside from writing directly to the concerning parties. Bloggers like us can write about it and use the hashtag #MDG momentum AND #BF1st1000days

One community, one mother at a time...all together!

I also discussed UN MDG #6 - HIV and Breastfeeding correlation here.

Here are many thoughts and reasons why we should all advocate for mothers to breastfeed for the first 1,000 days of life #BF1st1000days