Childbirth in the Midst of War
The war on Ukraine may have put many lives on hold, but children continue to be born amidst the chaos. As ominous air raid sirens pierce through Kyiv, pregnant women take shelter in basements, garages, subways, and hospitals. With their due dates fast-approaching, giving birth in the middle of a war seems inevitable.
Ukrainian maternity wards are having to operate underground, causing a myriad of new hardships for both the patients and healthcare workers. Despite the ongoing pressure of Russian forces strengthening their grip on the Ukrainian capital, doctors and nurses continue providing care to their patients. "About 70% of staff stay here permanently." Medical professionals are even having to perform C-sections and deliver babies in critical conditions. One hospital in eastern Ukraine had to set up a make-shift NICU in a bomb shelter, with some nurses tending to several newborns at a time.
Although over 1 million Ukrainian citizens (about 2% of their population) have fled to neighboring countries, there are still millions of innocent people trapped in a warzone. With the new order prohibiting men ages 18-60 years old to leave the country, women and children have no choice but to flee on their own.
This has left pregnant women in a difficult position. Fearing the dangers of leaving the country on their own, many have stayed to give birth in the Ukraine. The perilous conditions in some areas are even making it dangerous to reach a hospital, leaving many women to experience childbirth on their own, with no medical support. Even if they are able to make it to a nearby hospital, the underground rooms are crammed with up to "6 women, some even sharing beds as they await or recover from childbirth."
The war on Ukraine is ongoing, affecting countless lives, including those nearing labor. We cannot imagine the chaos and tragedy of their situation. While we continue hear updates on their situation, we will pray for these women and their children. Even though we do not understand, we trust in God's sovereign plan and meditate on these verses.
"Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid. The Lord, the Lord himself, is my strength and my defense; he has become my salvation.” - Isaiah 12:2
"Those who know your name trust in you, for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you." - Psalm 9:10
"When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust and am not afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?" - Psalm 56:3-4
If you would like to see images of the underground maternity wards, please click here. The DailyMail.com provides a wonderful article on this topic and the images capture the urgent need these women and healthcare workers desperately need.
If you would like to learn more about the situation in the Ukraine, or would like to make a donation to provide aid to pregnant women in the Ukraine facing the dangers of war, please click here. This ministry is a Christian non-profit in the Ukraine, which provides care to women facing unplanned pregnancies in the Ukraine, as well as children with disabilities.