Birth & Midwifery in Turkey
Resources for parents and practitioners

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Some of the following sites may not be in English; an online translator may be useful.

Birth Situation Room Report

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Elizabeth Soubelet and Esra Çömezoğlu

Elizabeth Soubelet says: “There is a lot of work to be done here as we have the same problem as Brazil: nearly 100% of middle-class women have cesareans! It is impossible to have a VBAC and there are no birth centers or independent midwives in the cities (the countryside is another story, of course). The positive news is that almost everybody breastfeeds for a few months at least and most doctors are well informed about the subject.”

Esra Çömezoğlu was born in 1981 in Balikesir, Turkey. She completed her primary education in Tokat and Balikesir. In 1999 she attended Balikesir Zühtü Özkardaslar high school, majoring in English. She graduated from the Edirne Healty Upper School of Midwifery at Trakya University in 2003 and received a master’s degree from Marmara University in 2007. Her thesis was entitled “Analysis of the Factors Affecting Midwives’ Job Satisfaction.” Esra worked at Private Bilim Üniversity Avrupa Florence Nightingale Hospital in the delivery room as a midwife from 2004 to 2007. She has been a member of the executive board of the Midwives Association since 2006. She currently works for the association and as an independent midwife.

Birth/Midwifery

  • The Turkish Midwives’ Association www.turkebelerdernegi.com—(in Turkish and English)
  • Midwife Without Borders www.midwifewithoutborders.com/gamzesbirthstory.htm Gail Johnson, CPM, came to Turkey recently to help a Turkish couple realize their dream of having a home waterbirth. She has since created "Midwife Without Borders."
  • fullcirclehealing.org Julia Steils, a Doula and Massage Therapist in Istanbul, is dedicated to helping women reclaim birth and heal the earth.
  • Dr.Hakan Çoker, OB/GYN www.dogaldogum.com—(website in Turkish only) Dr.Hakan Çoker, OB/GYN, is a Lamaze certified childbirth educator and a Hypnobirthing Practinioner in Marmaris. They organize courses in Marmaris and other cities in Turkey and also give private lessons if asked. Dr. Çoker speaks English and would be pleased to give help about any natural-birth subjects in Turkey.
  • “Natural Birth” YahooGroup in Turkish: health.groups.yahoo.com/group/dogaldogum2008

Cesareans Increase in Turkey [1 April 2008]

Turkey, like many other countries around the world, is seeing a huge increase in cesareans. In 2007, only 51% of women gave birth vaginally, with the highest percentages occurring in the parts of the country where people are more educated and affluent. Factors driving the rate up include older moms, a lack of health care staff needed for longer labours, and litigation, among others. And doctors also claim that women have the right to a caesarean, if they choose, failing to mention that they save time and make more money from cesareans and have an incentive to understate the risks.

Some mothers like the idea of pain-free childbirth and the element of control that cesareans give them. In addition, some choose to have their babies based on superstition regarding certain days. Television shows also overstate the risk of birth, so women are afraid of normal birth.

Like the other countries with excessive rates of caesarean surgery, Turkey is also seeing its health care costs balloon.

Today’s Zaman, 21 Sep 2008. www.todayszaman.com/tz-web/detaylar.do?load=detay&link=153801&bolum=101