"A pregnant woman has one foot in the grave." This common saying reflects the reality in many developing countries: bearing a child is one of the main risks to a woman's life. In the poor countries of the world, giving birth is both one of the most significant days in a woman's life but also a time when she is closest to losing it.
When my dad was a kid, he would have the same conversation over and over again. He would patiently listen as people shared the stories about the events surrounding their birth and the role his grandmother, a midwife, had played. It surprised my dad that she had delivered so many babies, and that so many years later, they wanted to express deep gratitude.
Once trained, a single midwife can provide care for 500 women every year, including safe delivery of 100 babies. An estimated that 350,000 more midwives are needed around the world to help reduce maternal and child deaths -- but training is prohibitively expensive for most women in the developing world.