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Christy Turlington Burns Brings Awareness to Maternal Mortality

By Joy Prudek, News and Community
March 21, 2016

Twelve years ago, Christy Turlington Burns found herself facing complications immediately following the birth of her first child. She was able to receive the medical care she needed, but she quickly learned that many women all over the world are not as fortunate. An estimated 303,000 women around the world die every year because of complications during pregnancy and childbirth, and 98 percent of all mortalities from childbirth are preventable. This last statistic is what ignited Burns’ passion.

Burns recently addressed an audience in Wood River as part of the 9th Annual Family of Women Film Festival in Sun Valley. An additional presentation at St. Luke’s Wood River was the result of a partnership with the festival and the generosity of St. Luke’s Wood River Foundation.

She launched her foundation, Every Mother Counts, with the mission to make pregnancy and childbirth safe for every mother.

Burns has produced two films to help spread the word across the globe. The first film, “No Woman, No Cry,” debuted in 2010.

“It was clear that once audiences were aware of this issue through the film, they were inspired to take action and wanted to help make an impact,” Burns explained.

Burns’ second film, “Giving Birth in America,” premiered in 2016. The film follows four women, and their healthcare providers, in Montana, New York, and Florida.

“Together, they navigate the challenges of race, poverty, chronic illness, overuse of medical interventions and other inequalities that can be attributed to the U.S. being the only developed country whose maternal mortality has been consistently on the rise since 1990,” Burns said.

Burns said she was honored to participate in the film festival and appreciated the opportunity to speak at St. Luke’s.

“I was so impressed with the labor and delivery and the nurses and doctors I met. If more women had access to these individuals and facilities we would not have the maternal crisis we do here in the U.S.”

Learn more about Every Mother Counts.

About The Author

Joy Prudek works in the Communications and Marketing department at St. Luke's.