Giving Birth in America is a documentary series that examines some of the reasons for the alarming current statistics about maternal mortality rates in the US, where the US finds itself with maternal mortality stats ranking at the very bottom of the developed world. The series is presented by Every Mother Counts, the non-profit founded by Christy Turlington Burns in 2011, dedicated to making childbirth safe for women everywhere. This fifth and most recent episode, California, focuses on Dr. Cristina Gamboa, an OB-GYN in Watsonville who provides pre-natal health care to an immigrant farmworker from Mexico with a high-risk pregnancy.
Christy Turlington Burns discusses her new documentary, made with ‘Every Mother Counts’ and ‘Giving Birth in America’ director/producer Clancy McCarty in the October 2018 issue of C Magazine.
“California was a good choice for a lot of reasons, mostly because it’s been kind of an example for other states as to what to do,” explains Turlington Burns. “They have this sort of report card system for hospitals, and they also have Medi-Cal, where, if you’re pregnant, you’re eligible [for care] regardless of your situation. We wanted to do something around postpartum care, and we wanted to do something with the Latina population. We looked at so many locations—Northern California, Southern California—and then, we were like, ‘No. Central Valley.’ ” The grandparents of Cristina Gamboa, an obstetrician interviewed in the film, were Mexican immigrants, and she studied medicine to return to serve a community similar to the one she grew up in. “We just fell in love with the clinic [Salud Para La Gente] because of her,” Turlington Burns says.
AOC profiled the dramatic improvements in maternal health in California in 2017. Overall the US is at the very bottom of 50 countries in the developed world in maternal death. States like Texas have maternal death rates comparable to those of a third-world country.
Alongside her advocacy, Christy has been recognized as one of Time’s 100 Most Influential People (2014) and one of Glamour Magazine’s Women of the Year (2013). Christy shared the Glamour honor with Liya Kebede, also honored by Glamour in 2013 for her work in maternal health. In March 2016, Every Mother Counts was named one of Fast Company magazine’s Top 10 Most Innovative Companies in Not-For-Profit (2016).
In this 2017 ABC News feature on ‘Every Mother Counts’, Christy takes us to Tanzania to feature their work in this African country beloved by Turlington Burns and her family. The Every Mother Counts blog share more news and memories of the organization’s Tanzania experience.