Notes From The Salon: Supporting Women Through Obstetric Emergencies

“I think we have so much to learn from women’s stories.” — Christine Morton, California Maternal Quality Care Collaborative


A startling fifty to seventy-five women die each year in California due to pregnancy-related causes.  Sociologist Christine Morton got interested in the stories of the women who didn’t die, the cases of severe obstetric emergency that didn’t lead to death. What makes the difference for those women?  And what are their emotional needs? This was the topic of last week’s Salon event: “Supporting Women Through Obstetric Emergencies.”



As with last month’s Salon on adoption experiences, one woman bravely telling her own deeply personal and powerful story added immeasurably to the night’s offerings.  Melissa Price told her story of surviving a massive postpartum hemorrhage because she was able to advocate for herself.

One of Melissa’s take-home messages was deceptively simple: “I would like to encourage moms to listen to themselves.” Listening to yourself and advocating for yourself in a hospital setting can be incredibly challenging, and is one area where doulas may be able to offer support.

Christine agreed to share a list of resources she’s compiled for mothers, doulas, and anyone helping to deal with these kinds of events:


RESOURCES – For women and their families:  After an obstetric emergency, many women seek to understand what happened to them and to find a supportive community.  Increasingly, online resources provide a space for women who experience these rare events to gather and share stories and information.
Amniotic Fluid Embolism  
 The Amniotic Fluid Embolism Foundation is the only patient advocacy organization serving those affected or devastated by amniotic fluid embolism. Our mission is to fund research, raise public awareness and provide support for those whose lives have been touched by this often-fatal maternal health complication.   Online Guides: Families in Crisis; Families Grieving the Loss of a Loved One; Fathers Grieving the Loss of a Spouse; Families Grieving the Loss of an Infant; etc.  
 The Preeclampsia Foundation is an empowered community of patients and experts, with a diverse array of resources and support to help you have the best possible pregnancy or to help you navigate the questions you’ll have if you don’t. We provide unparalleled support and advocacy for the people whose lives have been or will be affected by the condition – mothers, babies, fathers and their families.


My Heart Sisters (information and link to Facebook page) 
Fight PPCM (information and link to Facebook page) 
A Mother’s Heart (not active but some information)

Obstetric Hemorrhage (no organizations specific to this issue)
Pil, Tricia Babel: The Voices of a Medical Trauma, STORY & VIDEO
This is the true story of a hospitalization as told from three points of view: first, the recollections of the patient (who happens to be a physician); second, events as recorded in the medical charts by doctors and nurses; and third, the version put forth by the hospital.

MITSS (Medically Induced Trauma Support Services) is a non-profit organization whose mission is to support healing and restore hope to patients, families, and clinicians impacted by medical errors and adverse medical events. 

PATTCh is a collective of birth and mental health experts dedicated to the prevention and treatment of traumatic childbirth.  PATTCh began in 2008 when founders Penny Simkin, Phyllis Klaus, Annie Kennedy, Teri Shilling, Sharon Storton, and Kathy McGrath met in Seattle.

Solace for Mothers is an organization designed for the sole purpose of providing and creating support for women who have experienced childbirth as traumatic. Birth trauma is real and can result from an even seemingly “normal” birth experience.  Contact: 408.370.7311 or
Were you at the Salon? What did you learn?


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