All posts filed under: Health

The Young Mother: The Story of an Arranged Marriage

The sun was getting real low and there was nothing whatsoever to do in my dingy room at the guesthouse. I was stuck. Viengthong District, a small, rural town deep in the mountainous heart of Bolikhamxay Province, is a town with absolutely no single point of interest. Surrounded on all sides by mountains and lush, green forests; the main road cuts through the heart of the town, a point that originates from an intersection that diverts to Lak Sao. Lak Sao, a logging hub once bustling with commuting traffic in and out of Vietnam, remains the destination of the road. Lak Sao, located in the the northern reaches of Laos, not Viengthong District, is why you might encounter another human being. I was bored. Pulling the cobwebs from my mind, I let my natural search for adventure guide me. I slipped on my running shoes and stepped out for a walk. Walking around, you’d see what you’d typically see in a lightly developed, rural town in Laos: cattle roaming freely on the road, the occasional …

Maternal Health Care: Midwives in Canada and Laos

This is the first piece in a series exploring the profession of a midwife and their value at birth. “Here comes another one.” The fetal monitor spiked as another contraction began. I paced the floor, trying to block out the beeping machines and freezing operating room. After three home births, this was no doubt unchartered territory. But the high-risk nature of delivering twins dictated that even a natural birth should take place here. Our babies arrived healthy and without complication. Working to make this happen was a medical team consisting of an obstetrician, nurses, and an anesthesiologist standing by in case of emergency. At the core of this group were two midwives whose support remain invaluable to this day. Midwifery is an anomaly to many in the modern world. The term often conjures images of home births with basic medical supplies. This is a snapshot of prenatal care in much of the developing world. In rural Lao PDR, midwives are stationed at the front lines of maternal and newborn health. A single clinic serves several …