Sunday, May 10, 2009

The Safe Motherhood Quilt Project

I am proud to become involved in the Safe Motherhood Quilt Project, an initiative by world-renowned mother of modern midwifery Ina May Gaskin. Gaskin's vision is that each mother who has died in pregnancy or childbirth in the United States since 1982 be honored with a square on the quilt, raising awareness to the fact that the U.S. has not improved maternal mortality rates since that time.

Did you know...that the United States ranks behind at least 40 other nations in maternal mortality rates according to the World Health Organization? In 2005, the United States reported 15.1 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births, up from 7.5 per 100,000 in 1982.

Did you know...that black women in the United States have 4 times the risk of dying from childbirth or childbirth related complications? Hispanic women in the United States, similarly, are 1.6 times more likely than non-Hispanic white women to die from pregnancy-related causes.

Did you know…that the Centers for Disease Control estimated in 1998 that the US maternal death rate is actually 1.3 to three times that reported in vital statistics records because of underreporting of such deaths?

Did you know…that reporting of maternal deaths in the United States is done via an honor system? There are no statutes providing for penalties for misreporting or failing to report maternal deaths.

Did you know…that the Centers for Disease Control estimates that more than half of the reported maternal deaths in the United States could have been prevented by early diagnosis and treatment?
The quilt is made up of individually designed squares; each one devoted to a woman in the U.S. who has died of pregnancy-related causes since 1982. One quilt square is designed and dedicated to each mother's memory and may mention the date and place of death and the name of the woman. The Safe Motherhood Quilt is the voice for women who can no longer speak for themselves.

To be honored and remembered on The Safe Motherhood Quilt:

* The woman died as a result of a complication of pregnancy or birth
* The woman's death occurred since 1982
* The woman died within a calendar year after the end of her pregnancy (documented by an obituary, death certificate, relative's or witness' account).

I volunteered to do some quilting work for this project, and my first assignment was to commemorate Susan Goodrich, who died giving birth to her fourth baby, Charles Moses. Read more about this quilt square here.

Do you know of a woman's story you'd like to share? Please contact me for more information.


  1. Do you know if a square has been made for Liz Logelin? I searched the site and did not see one. She died from a pulmonary embolism 23 hours after a cesarean and left behind a premature little girl and a husband. He blogs at Matt, Liz & Madeline.

  2. Thank you, Mama to Monkeys.

    I will certainly find out. Can you email me more information about her--date / place of death, and the names of her children (I'm assuming Madeline was the premature little girl)? If she has not been honored, we will certainly find a quilter, unless a family member or friend would like to do so!

  3. Mama to Monkeys: Yes, Liz's aunt made a beautiful square for her, with a photo of her pregnant belly. It is actually on the panel I'll be quilting. I'll be sure to post photos when it's finished.

    So sorry to hear her story. Apparently she was kept on bedrest for 3 weeks or so before the c-section, and according to her aunt, there was something of a family history of blood clotting disorders--which is one of the risks of being kept on bedrest.