Life in rural America can be tough, with challenges starting right from birth. Increasingly, rural women lack access to maternity services, jeopardizing their health and that of their newborns at a time when U.S. maternal mortality is rising.

Giving birth is hard enough, but racing 100 miles to the nearest hospital down winding country roads is a particularly harrowing way to experience labor. Evidence confirms what common sense suggests: Drive time affects outcomes. A Canadian study shows that the babies of mothers who travel more than an hour to give birth are more likely to require intensive care or to die within their first year of life.

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines provides the shortest maternity leave in Southeast Asia and it's about time that this be changed, a coalition of women's organizations and labor groups said.

The existing law only grants 60 days of paid leave for women who just gave birth. This is just a third of the 180-day leave given by Vietnam, which tops other countries within the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

In the remote farming village of Sakreang, in Cambodia’s far north-east, Romam Pcheuk visits pregnant women in their homes.

“I keep my eye on the girls who are pale, and those that get pregnant very young,” she explained. “It’s my job to warn them of danger signs.”

Ms. Pcheuk once helped women give birth the traditional way – at home, often using dangerous practices.

“I pushed their bellies down harder when the baby wouldn’t come out,” she remembered. “If there were problems, it got dangerous. We didn’t have any equipment or medicine on hand.”

Kantor

Pusat Kebijakan dan Manajemen Kesehatan (PKMK)
Fakultas Kedokteran
Universitas Gadjah Mada


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