Birth in Haiti

Birth was already arduous in Haiti before the earthquakes hit.

The poor Caribbean nation has the Western Hemisphere's highest rates of maternal and infant mortality.

Of 100,000 Haitian women who gave birth in 2005, 670 died, compared with 11 in the United States and 1 in Ireland, which has the world's lowest rate of maternal mortality. Fifty-seven Haitian infants died out of every thousand born in 2007, compared with seven in the United States and two in Singapore, which has the lowest rate of infant mortality.

The United Nations estimates that 63,000 women in the earthquake-ravaged areas of Haiti are pregnant, according to a story in the New York Times.

The rule of thumb is that as many as one in five of those births will have some complications, and the NYT story reports that facilities that have been thrown up in the shambles of the capital and other hard-hit areas are being strained to the limits. Some Haitian birth attendants were still looking for their own family members, the story reports.

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