A Day of Prayer for Childbirth
Why Childbirth Matters
Children are a blessing from God
There are many ways God refers to our children, and all of them are positive. But for families all over the world the birth of a new child is met with fear, pain, and tragedy. Instead of a blessing, childbirth all over the world seems more like a curse.
In 17 countries, the maternal death rate is over 1%. That means at least 1 woman dies for every 100 babies that are born. When you consider the average number of pregnancies for women in these areas, some experts estimate that as high as 1 in 16 women will die because of preventable problems during pregnancy and childbirth. It should be unacceptable to us as Christians that women die because they lacked adequate food, clean water or help during their pregnancies.
Genesis 49:25; Deuteronomy 7:13, 127:3; Psalm 127:4, 128:3-4, 144:12; Proverbs 17:6; Isaiah 8:18, 29:23; Hosea 9:11
God is the designer of life and birth
God has demonstrated that it is he who is in control of who has children. He forms the children in the womb, designing each child according to his purposes. The entire system of pregnancy and giving birth is generally safe and effective at achieving the goal of a healthy mom and healthy baby.
Cesarean rates are increasing around the world, with rates in many countries between 20 and 40%, and Brazil reporting as high as 90% cesarean rate in private hospitals. The current trend among many mothers seems to be "why bother with birth." The ability to give birth is not seen as a blessing or gift, but something violent towards a woman's body and to be avoided.
What families are not told about cesarean birth is the potential damage major abdominal surgery can do to a woman's body. Women are not told how cesarean increases the chances she will lose too much blood during birth or increase her risk of needing to be hospitalized again within the first weeks after giving birth. Women are not told each cesarean increases the risk for infertility or problems with the next pregnancy that can result in the need for a hysterectomy. Cesarean surgery and other interventions can be lifesavers when the mother or baby is in danger. However the World Health Organization cautions that when rates of cesarean birth rise above 15% women are being put at unnecessary risk.
Genesis 20:17-18, 29:31-32, 30:22-24; 1 Samuel 1:5-6; Ecclesiastes 11:5; Psalm 139:13; Jeremiah 1:5
Healthy childbearing is a matter of stewardship
Jesus demonstrated a love for women and children that was as revolutionary in his time as it is in ours. He reached out to the weak, the helpless, the individuals society cast aside or counted as worthless. He called us to serve each other in love, meeting the needs of the weak and teaching others to continue this good work. God has entrusted us to use the resources he has given us for his purposes.
You can determine the health of a community by the health of its women and children. In many areas of the world women and children are still seen as inferior, with limited or no access to health care or basic education about how to maintain their family's health. We live in a world that has more than enough resources to ensure basic health care for all our world's citizens. Through ensuring basic health care we can prevent more costly and dangerous and devastating health needs.
Matthew 21:15-17; Luke 18:15-16; John 4:1-26; Acts 20:35; 1 Corinthians 4:1-2; 1 Peter 4:10; Titus 2:3-5