Embarazo y parto

Hace cinco años, una mujer brasileña en trabajo de parto fue detenida por la policía y obligada a parir por cesárea.

La mujer, Adelir de Goes, ya había tenido dos cesáreas previas (un procedimiento demasiado común en mi país) y esperaba parir a su tercer hijo vía vaginal, pero su bebé venía de nalgas. Los médicos pensaron que un parto vaginal podría poner en riesgo la vida del infante.

Obtuvieron una orden judicial para practicar una intervención quirúrgica forzosa. De Goes había dilatado casi por completo y se preparaba para ir al hospital cuando nueve policías tocaron a su puerta para llevársela.…  Seguir leyendo »

Esta imagen, tomada de un video proporcionado por el Servicio Forestal, muestra el momento en que una fiesta de revelación de género desató un incendio en Green Valley, Arizona, en abril de 2017. Credit Agence France-Presse -- Getty Images

Sé que te preguntas qué demonios ha provocado la ola de incendios forestales en 2018, un año en el que se han roto récords no solo en California (que tuvo el incendio más grande jamás registrado), sino también en Escandinavia, donde en julio por primera vez hubo un incendio al norte del círculo polar ártico.

El presidente Trump visitó California después de esta mortífera temporada de incendios y no ofreció consuelo ni empatía, mucho menos algún rastro de conciencia sobre el rol que podría haber jugado en ellos el cambio climático. En lugar de eso, dijo que uno de los errores de California era no “rastrillar la tierra del bosque”.…  Seguir leyendo »

Gabrielle, una joven inmigrante, con su hija de 2 meses, Naomi, en su hogar en Texas. Cuando Gabrielle se embarazó, solicitó un parto en casa porque temía que la deportaran si iba al hospital. Credit Lynsey Addario para The New York Times

Cierto día de febrero en 2012, cuando todavía estaba embarazada, miraba el cielo desértico tapizado en nuestra casa en el área rural de Arizona. El bebé ya había bajado y mi vientre se sentía rígido como una piedra. Casi a la medianoche estaba en pleno trabajo de parto, dentro de una alberca inflable para niños decorada con peces coloreados con crayón. Mientras pujaba y gritaba a todo pulmón, esas caritas parecían sonreírme; por fin, mi hijo se deslizó sobre los brazos de mi partera. Dos años después, la misma mujer recibió a mi segundo hijo, quien nos sorprendió a todos cuando terminó en el piso del baño.…  Seguir leyendo »

Durante la marcha internacional de las mujeres, el 8 de marzo de 2018, cientos de mujeres en San Salvador protestaron para exigir soluciones a la violencia de género y la prohibición del aborto. Credit Rodrigo Sura/Epa-Efe/Rex/Shutterstock

A los 34 años, Maira Verónica Figueroa Marroquín fue liberada de prisión después de cumplir quince años de su condena por homicidio. En 2003, cuando Maira tenía 19 años, y trabajaba como ama de llaves, quedó embarazada después sufrir una violación; hacia el final de su embarazo tuvo un aborto espontáneo. En El Salvador, el aborto está penalizado y en muchos casos equivale al homicidio.

Mi país es una de las seis naciones de América Latina y el Caribe donde el aborto está prohibido en cualquier circunstancia, incluso cuando el embarazo es producto de una violación o cuando la salud de la mujer está en riesgo.…  Seguir leyendo »

La estremecedora historia de las peligrosas complicaciones que tuvo la tenista Serena Williams tras el nacimiento de su hija es un recordatorio de que el parto puede ser mortal para las madres y los recién nacidos. El problema de Williams fue una embolia pulmonar (la formación de un coágulo en el pulmón). Ella demandó y consiguió la atención médica que le salvó la vida, pero millones de mujeres en todo el mundo no reciben el tratamiento que necesitan.

Cada año, más de 5,6 millones de madres y recién nacidos mueren durante el embarazo, el parto o el primer mes de vida.…  Seguir leyendo »

South Sudanese women march to end war on 9 December 2017. Women and religious groups are among the only groups still allowed to publicly protest and march in South Sudan. AFP/Stefanie Glinski

A few years ago, a woman in her sixties outside Banda Aceh in Indonesia told me about the rape and other torture she had endured during the conflict between the Free Aceh Movement and the government. Beyond the psychological trauma, her body still suffered from enduring physical pain. Many years on, while the open conflict had ended, she still had not received comprehensive health care and support. Instead, like too many survivors of physical and sexual violence, she was left in a vicious circle of isolation, carrying the burden of stigma and shame.

In war and its immediate aftermath, it is easy to forget those who are voiceless or invisible in the public space.…  Seguir leyendo »

En las últimas décadas se han producido increíbles avances en la sanidad de mujeres y niños. Desde 1990, las muertes evitables de niños han bajado en un 50% y la mortalidad materna lo ha hecho en un 45%. Pero demasiadas madres y recién nacidos todavía mueren de causas prevenibles. Con acceso a matronas calificadas, muchas de sus vidas se podrían salvar.

Cada año un promedio de un millón de niños siguen muriendo en su primer día de vida; más de un millón de bebés nacen muertos y más de 300.000 madres mueren durante el embarazo y el parto, con lo que la cifra conjunta supera a toda la población de Namibia.…  Seguir leyendo »

While much focus this week has been on whether President Trump will honour the covert deal made by prime minister Malcolm Turnbull and the Obama administration to accept some of the refugees held in Australia’s offshore detention camps, a medical crisis has been rapidly worsening on Nauru for a young woman suffering from life-threatening health complications.

More than 36 weeks pregnant with symptoms of pre-eclampsia and a history of miscarriage, her baby is currently breech. Based on medical opinion, these symptoms present a challenging and risky birth for a well-equipped Australian hospital staffed with highly qualified medical experts. Doctors raised the alarm weeks ago.…  Seguir leyendo »

Maria acaba de dar a luz. Lo ha hecho en casa, en Barcelona, acompañada de sus seres queridos. Un parto domiciliario que ha sido posible gracias al apoyo económico de 109 personas que han financiado a través de un proyecto de micromecenazgo el trabajo de las comadronas que la han atendido. Un apoyo económico sin el cual Maria no hubiese podido dar a luz como ella quería, ya que no tenía capacidad de asumir dicho coste. En España, el sistema público de salud no asume el parto en casa. Ilusas de nosotras, las mujeres creemos poder decidir sobre nuestro parto: dónde y cómo queremos parir, quién nos va acompañar, qué hacer en tal o en cual situación.…  Seguir leyendo »

On a Saturday afternoon in late September, I sat in the brand-new auditorium of my former high school in Beijing, watching the gala for my 10-year reunion. Near the end, teachers stepped onto the stage to deliver speeches.

“Girls, I hope you will focus on finding your life partners,” said the Chinese-language teacher, with the same stern air as when she urged us to succeed on the college entrance exam. “Marriage cannot be delayed,” the biology teacher said. The physical education teacher offered to set up single alumnae with eligible bachelors at her husband’s company.

At the dinner afterward, the conversation at my table turned to career changes.…  Seguir leyendo »

Don’t get pregnant.” Not now. Maybe not for two years.

This was the advice governments gave women in a number of South American countries when the connection was established between the Zika virus and microcephaly, a serious birth defect that can result in seizures and developmental delays. But details on how they were supposed to accomplish this in countries with limited access to contraception and strict abortion restrictions weren’t provided.

Now Zika has been locally transmitted in the continental United States. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention issued a similar warning, saying women and men who visit affected areas, including Wynwood in Miami, should wait at least eight weeks before trying to get pregnant.…  Seguir leyendo »

The Zika Virus and Brazilian Women’s Right to Choose

Brazil is in a state of crisis. Since October, there have been more than 4,000 suspected cases of babies born with a neurological syndrome associated with the Zika virus. The Health Ministry has suggested that women avoid pregnancy until the epidemic has passed or more is known about it.

I am a Brazilian woman. My friends who are planning to have children soon are worried about Zika. But they don’t need to be too concerned. In our well-to-do neighborhood in Brasília, the capital, there has not been a single case of a baby with the birth defects associated with the Zika epidemic.…  Seguir leyendo »

The Pope’s Unforgiving Message of Forgiveness on Abortion

Pope Francis announced this month that for a year, beginning in December, women who had terminated pregnancies could be granted forgiveness from Roman Catholic priests, instead of facing potential excommunication for their sins. It sounds like a step in the right direction: Mercy for women who have had abortions certainly seems preferable to condemnation.

But mercy may actually be worse. While the pope’s announcement has been hailed as evidence of the church’s new, softer approach, it’s actually the latest example of the modern anti-abortion strategy: Portray women as victims who need to be protected from themselves with laws that restrict abortion rights.…  Seguir leyendo »

A lo largo de la historia, el acto de traer nueva vida al mundo siempre supuso para las mujeres un riesgo cierto de morir durante el parto. Pero ahora que los países pobres han hecho grandes avances en reducir ese tipo de muertes, otra amenaza a la salud femenina podría revertir esas mejoras. Por primera vez, la mortalidad anual por cáncer de cuello de útero va camino de superar la derivada del parto.

En parte, esto refleja el éxito del esfuerzo por reducir la mortalidad materna. Desde 1990, la cantidad de mujeres que mueren como resultado del parto se redujo casi a la mitad, a 289 000 por año.…  Seguir leyendo »

If you’re a woman worried about how to balance work and family, it’s a good time to job-hunt in Silicon Valley. This week it was revealed that Facebook and Apple will include egg freezing in their benefits packages. After receiving your job offer, you can order your hormone shots and be on your way to stashing away some good eggs so you can ascend to Sheryl Sandberg-esque greatness and still have a chance of having a biological family in your 40s and beyond.

Reactions to the news have varied from accolades for making the expensive procedure available, to the cynical accusation that corporate America is avoiding creating family-friendly work environments under the guise of reproductive empowerment.…  Seguir leyendo »

Marriage is disappearing. More than 40 percent of new mothers are unmarried. Many young adults drift into parenthood unintentionally. They may be cohabiting at the time of their child’s birth, but about half of these couples will have split up by the time their child is 5 years old. College-educated young adults are still marrying before having children and planning their families more intentionally. The rest of America, about two-thirds of the population, is not.

We’ve been worrying about these trends for years, and wondering: Can marriage be restored as the standard way to raise children? As much as we might welcome a revival, I doubt that it will happen.…  Seguir leyendo »

The Way to Beat Poverty

As our children were growing up, one of their playmates was a girl named Jessica. Our kids would disappear with Jessica to make forts, build a treehouse and share dreams. We were always concerned because — there’s no polite way to say this — Jessica was a mess.

Her mother, a teen mom, was away in prison for drug-related offenses, and Jessica had never known her father. While Jessica was very smart, she used her intelligence to become a fluent, prodigious liar. Even as a young girl, she seemed headed for jail or pregnancy, and in sixth grade she was kicked out of school for bringing alcohol to class.…  Seguir leyendo »

Everyone knows that being the parent of an infant is hard. There’s the sleeplessness, the screaming fits to tend to, the loss of autonomy, the social isolation and the sheer monotony of it.

Everyone also knows that there is only one socially acceptable response to this predicament: a dogged insistence that the adoration you feel for your child makes all the sacrifices worthwhile. It’s “the toughest job you’ll ever love.” The only valid excuse for feeling sad or despondent is a postpartum hormonal crash. What other justification could there be for greeting your bundle of joy with despair?

This is the ideology of modern parenting, and it can lead to unnecessary feelings of guilt and shame, for it ignores an inconvenient truth: that many women and men experience significant psychological distress in response to becoming a parent and that much of this distress isn’t caused by a hormonal epiphenomenon of the birth process.…  Seguir leyendo »

Last May, when Tanzanian officials announced that folic acid would be added to the country’s flour supply, their partners at Britain’s Department for International Development, who provided seed funding for the program, applauded the news.

“This is a great day for women and children’s health,” said Marshall Elliott, the head of the department’s Tanzania division. “Fortification is great because it is easy and cheap, and does not require people to do anything different.”

Mr. Elliot was right. But there was a certain irony in such praise from the lips of a British official.

In 1991, a randomized, controlled trial of 1,817 pregnant women, published in The Lancet, showed that folic acid could reduce the risk of fetal neural tube defects, like anencephaly and spina bifida, by an estimated 72 percent.…  Seguir leyendo »

«It’s a miracle,» she told me. «We can now have a baby that won’t have Huntington’s disease. I thought I’d never be able to have any kids — because of the disease.» Her father had died from this disorder, which results from a gene mutation. She feared that she might have the mutation, too. But she was too scared to undergo testing for it. She also worried that if she had it, she might pass it on to her children.

This disease causes severe neurological and psychiatric problems, and eventual death at around the same age as one’s parent died of it — usually in one’s 40s or 50s.…  Seguir leyendo »