Who is Birthing Reform?
Birthing Reform was launched in early 2020, and is made up of a rich and diverse collection of BAME/ BIPOC* individuals who are aiming to join the dots on a collection of related social justice, birth and reproductive rights issues. We hope our work will minimise the chances of the most vulnerable people and women in our community falling through the cracks of the system, and in particular the maternal healthcare system.
Birthing Reform is passionate about bringing compassion and understanding to situations where there is suffering, trauma and injustice in our society.
* BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, Person Of Colour) or BAME (Black, Asian & Minority Ethnic)
How do we plan to do that?
One of the ways we are hoping to do this is by improving maternal health outcomes and reducing health inequalities in the community, the NHS and within women's prisons, with a particular emphasis on supporting those who are who are from a BIPOC or BAME background.
To do this, we are launching our 3 initiatives.
What are Birthing Reform's 3 initiatives and how will our funds be used?
Initiative 1: Aims at reforming women's birth, mental health and wellbeing in prison in order to: aid rehabilitation, reduce reoffending, reduce trauma and increase societal understanding of birthing related issues for birthing people in prison.We fully believe that society can be measured by how well it treats its weakest members/ prisoners (Gandhi, Churchill, Dostoyevsky).
Initiative 2: Aims at supporting disadvantaged birthing people in the community generally. This includes people/ women who have experienced domestic violence, sex trafficking, modern slavery, rape, homelessness, mental health issues, substance misuse and survivors of trauma (this list is not exhaustive).
Initiative 3: NHS Doula Scheme - Providing birthing people who are on NHS labour wards and in birth centres with access to fully trained birth and full spectrum doulas.
How our funds will be used: Set up costs, volunteers expenses, raising awareness, commissioning data and reports, strategy and implementation.
Why are these 3 initiatives so critical?
The reason our work is so important right now is because of the growing body of evidence** telling us that:
- Black women, Mixed-Ethnicity women and Asian women are 5x, 3x and 2x more likely to die in childbirth in the UK compared to their white counterparts.
- 14% say their opinions and decisions when planning for giving birth were overruled.
- 11% say there was an attempt to overrule their opinions and decisions.
- 24% of the mothers surveyed say their decisions and opinions about their care were not respected.
- 30%, worryingly, say their decisions and opinions were not sought at all.
- Women in prison are discriminated against and say they have experienced racism in prison from both staff and other prisoners.
- The impact on families where the mother is in prison was far-reaching, with children often separated from their mothers.
- According to the Birth Trauma Association approximately 30,000 people a year experience a traumatic birth.
**MBRRACE Reports, Birth Trauma Association, Mumsnet, Birth Rights.
Why support Birthing Reform?
1. Birthing Reform believes that a diverse society is a strong society.
It is outrageous that birth inequalities (see evidence above) are only beginning to receive Civil Society attention. Birthing Reform is a team of professional Doulas, legal, policy experts and activists applying critical action to improve birth chances across society. Our professional skills when combined with our diversity and lived experiences in the United Kingdom are our strength, meaning that we are uniquely placed to provide support, education and training to improve maternal outcomes in the community.
2. Birthing Reform’s 3 Key Initiatives serve the most vulnerable mothers and birthing people in our society, in the community, in the penal system and on maternity wards.
Birth circumstances are universally acknowledged to affect life chances, and society as a whole must be concerned with preventing preventable infant mortality and birth related trauma. It is time to bring the wisdom of a diverse society to bear upon the most critical questions of our age, including how we birth and raise future generations.
3. It is also shown that systemic affluence and political awareness of these issues has hitherto been unable to satisfactorily address birth inequality.
Birthing Reform aims to change this, both at a practical level through the work of our dedicated doulas, councillors and birth companions, and at the level of policy, through our ambassadors programme and advocacy initiatives.
4. Birthing Reform speaks truth to power in the area Birth Rights whilst actively serving and engaging with the needs of the most vulnerable.
As a not for profit, non-governmental organisation, our work relies entirely on the support of the public and volunteered support.
We invite you to become part of Birthing Reform in whatever way feels right for you, if these issues matter to you then we want to hear from you! We welcome ideas as much as donations. There are currently opportunities to mainstream Birth Reform through volunteering, social media and by becoming a Birthing Reform Ambassador (get in touch to find out more).
How you can support Birthing Reform:
1. You could be a brand ambassador and advocate for us in your community, your company or on social media. Get in touch with us directly to find out more about this option.
2. Provide funding support through donations which will go directly towards improving maternal health outcomes in the community, the NHS and within prisons, particularly for those who are BAME/ BIPOC.
3. Leave us in your will. Birthing Reform's goals and aims are not just for today, but we exist for future generations too
Contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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