BirthKuwait Inagural Gala

BirthKuwait Inagural Gala
celebrating 4 years of giving (note: it's by invite only)

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Registration For DONA Doula Workshop April 26-28, 2012

To Register, Download the Registration Form

Monday, March 12, 2012

First ever DONA Doula Training April 26-28, 2012

BirthKuwait, in partnership with Royale Hayat Hospital, is pleased to announce the first ever DONA Doula training in Kuwait, April 26-28th, 2012.
What is a Doula?

A Doula is a person who provides non-medical care for mothers during and immediately after birth. A Doula:
  • Recognizes birth as a significant life experience.
  • Understands the physiology of birth and the emotiona needs of a laboring woman.
  • Provides continuous support, practrical comfort measures, and an objective viewpoint to aid in decision-making.
  • Complements the care provided by the woman's partner and birth attendants.
  • Protects and nurtures the memory of the birth experience.

Recent studies indicate the use of a doula:
  • Decreases labor length by 25 percent.
  • Decreases oxytocin use by 25 percent.
  • Decreases mother's request for pain medication by 30 percent.
  • Decreases cesareans by 50 percent.
  • Increases father's participation level.
Birthing families and caregivers are welcoming doulas as the newest member of today's maternity care team.

The Workshop:

The Doula Training Workshop will be April 26-28th at Royale Hayat Hospital 9:00am-5:00pm.

The course fee is 150 KWD, and includes course training materials and meals.

*Nursing babies are welcome if they are quiet or if you have someone who can take them out of the room if need be.

The intensive three-day workshop will help the participant:
  • Recognize the significance of chidbirth in the life of a woman.
  • Demonstrate at least three prental and postpartum support skills.
  • Devise a plan to offer optimal support in a variety of labor situations.
  • Appraise personal values and their relationship to labor support.
  • Assess standards of practice and plan methods of business management.
This DONA-approved Doula training workshop offers the expertise of a highly trained instructor, and uses supplementary text, videos, slides, and role-play to build theoretical knowledge and teach practical skills. A complete syllabus is included with the course. This training comprises one step in the certification process for Doulas of North America (DONA).

This course was designed and will be presented by Kristi Ridd-Young, an experienced midwife, doula, and childbirth educator. She is currently the President of the Midwives College of Utah and former DONA Administrative Director and board member. During her 19 years of teaching, Kristi has facilitated many doula trainings throughout the USA. She has been invaluable in helping many expectant mothers and their partners develop skills and the inner strength neeed to experience a positive birth. As a caring, compassionate doula, she has atteneded over 250 women. Kristi has been mentored by many of the leading experts in the field of childbirth, but most of all, she credits her six children and seven stepchildre for much of the wisdom and knowledge she shares.
Kristi @ recent doula workshop at Midwives College of Utah

Please email your registration form to or If you want to print up your form, you can drop off your form with the registration fee to Sarah Paksima (Amwaj Towers, Gulf Road, Salmiya (5536-8636). Registration deadline is April 1st, 2012.


This course is designed for those who have had some experience in the field of childbirth (practical (doesn't have to be your own) or academic). The course is ideal for mothers, sisters, nurses, nutritionists, or other health professionals. Our vision is for every family in Kuwait to have a doula! If you have NO childbirth experience, please email Kristi ( so she can help you design a prerequistie program.

Please complete as many of the books from DONA's required reading list as possible before the training. The list can be found at Birth Doula Required Reading List. It is not required, but recommended, that the reading be done prior to the program. If you need access tothese books before the treaining, please contact me ( to check them out from my library.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

What Do Numbers Tell Us?

Do you all remember this infamous article that circulated the internet in 2010 that said now“it’s more dangerous to give birth in California than it is in Kuwait or Bosnia?” I remember thinking when I read it, “Wait…is that an insult or a compliment?” Maybe the  author was looking for war zones to make a shocking comparison to and could only find a newspaper from the early 1990s. We’ll never know exactly why the author chose to make this seemingly random comparison. But – on International Women’s Day, I think it appropriate to look at the question: - how safe is it for women to give birth in Kuwait?

This is a difficult question to answer, but here is what we do know.  According to the information that is available to us through Kuwait’s Annual Health Report (2010) and the WHO ROEM Report 2009, despite recent increases, maternal mortality rates are still very low (compared to other developed countries), but  little is known about maternal morbidity (injury, infection, or harm related to birth).
  • While the Maternal Mortality Rate has increased from 1.9 (2006) to 5.2 (2010) this number is still considered low. If these numbers are accurate, this means that Kuwait is probably a very safe place for a woman to give birth. For a comparison, depending on where you are in the US- rates range from 6 - 15. These numbers have changed dramatically over the last decade around the world as countries have strengthened their reporting policies to get a more accurate view of maternal mortality- which is why you will find that rates in the US have nearly tripled in the last decade - though not all of the increase comes from reporting practices, some of the increase is actually attributable to increased incidence of mortality due to cesareans and other unsafe medical practices.
  • Kuwait’s reported Cesarean rate is less than 12% according to the WHO ROEM Report 2009- but it is unclear whether this number reflects private hospitals as well. That is a commendable rate- the US has a rate of nearly 32%
  • There is no public data available on maternity care practices (episiotomies, assisted fertility, artificial induction or augmentation, assisted delivery with forceps or vacuum extraction etc.)    
  • There is also no public data available reporting iatrogenic morbidity (harm caused by medical intervention in the first place) associated with maternity care practices (maternal infections, placenta accrete or placenta abruption, pre-term babies attributable to elective cesareans or elective inductions etc.)
How about from a baby's perspective? How safe is it to be born in Kuwait?

Despite an ever increasing volume of evidence highlighting the importance of breastfeeding in infancy and later life, and International recommendations promoting exclusive breastfeeding as the optimal method of infant feeding for the first six months of life (WHO: Global strategy for infant and young child feeding. Geneva: WHO; 2003), according to the only recent study on breastfeeding initiation in Kuwait (Dashti et al. “Determinants of Breastfeeding Initiation among Mothers in Kuwait” International Breastfeeding Journal; 2010):
  • The rate of exclusive breastfeeding among mothers in Kuwait at the time of discharge and at the three-month follow up is only 10%, with prelacteal (feeding the baby with a bottle before initiating breastfeeding) and partial feeding being the norm.

We don’t have enough evidence to fully understand the cause of low breastfeeding rates, but according to Dashti et al., cultural beliefs and norms and medical practices (such as cesareans) might be contributing. While the authors fail to mention it, hospital and government policies surrounding the promotion and subsidizing of breastmilk substitutes might also be contributing.

Low breastfeeding rates should be a concern for everyone, as they pose serious deleterious short and long-term health effects for the mothers:
  • increased risk of breast and ovarian cancer, postpartum weight gain, type-2 diabetes, and myocardial infarction,
And their babies:
  • increased risk of infectious morbidity, SIDS, childhood obesity, type-1 and type-2 diabetes, and leukemia.

Likewise, while the overall perinatal mortality rate has decreased, short-gestation remains the greatest threat to infant mortality in Kuwait
  • Perinatal Mortality Rate has decreased from 10.4 (2006) to 9.2 (2010).
  • The number of Low Birth Weight Babies per 1000 live births (babies born weighing less than 2500 grams) has remained almost the same (8.4% or 84/1000 in 2007) and (8% or 79.7/1000 in 2010).
  • And nearly a quarter (24.4%) of all infant deaths in Kuwait are attributed to short gestation and low birth weight.

The good news is that there are many in Kuwait working to help mothers and babies breastfeed. In the last year alone, the Kuwait Lactation Consultant Society was formed, along with peer breastfeeding support groups like La Leche League Kuwait and The Breastfeeding Support Club. Hopefully, next year we'll have even more progress.

It’s hard to interpret data. Looking at reported maternal mortality rates along, you could say “It’s safer to give birth in Kuwait than it is in California,” but by looking at perinatal mortality rates you could just as easily say "It's safer to be born in California than it is in Kuwait." You might just as easily say that you can’t make any comparisons from one country to another because reporting practices are too variable from place to place and you can’t get a fair comparison. In the end, your own personal practices have a far greater impact on your own health outcomes than general statistics- so don't make your decisions completely based on the numbers. Always evaluate the context of those numbers. You will soon learn that no place in the world will guarantee you the "perfect birth"- but no matter where you are, you can always take advantage of the resources that can support and help you to have the best birth possible- prenatal fitness classes, childbirth education and preparation classes, midwives, doulas, peer-breastfeeding counselors, etc. You now have access to many of these great resources in Kuwait- so be sure to make your health decisions from an empowered position!