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Health

What is it like to give birth in a conflict zone?

Giving birth is an inherently stressful activity. Most people in developed nations have the luxury of getting robust medical help, which makes it much less likely for complications or death to occur. 

But all around the world, women are giving birth in dangerous situations. Sometimes this danger takes the form of shoddy medical facilities and increased risk of infection. 

Other times it means giving birth in an area that is chaotic with conflict, where militias roam, bombs fall and infrastructure is devastated. 16 million children are born in such circumstances annually. That's 1 child every 2 seconds.

As UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake said, “Can there be a worse start in life?”

It's hard to grasp how challenging such a situation is for women and their families. 

So UNICEF created a film that merges the ordinary with the horrifying to bridge that disconnect for people. 

A man and woman placidly leave their home and get into their car. The woman is ready to give birth, but they act like they have everything under control. 

Soon, though, what seems like a routine trip to the hospital turns into a perilous journey through an embattled landscape. 

Helicopters fly overhead, smoke clouds from bombs bloom in the background and the weather intensifies. 

Finally, the woman can go no longer and must stop on a wind-swept mountain to give birth. 

This is the reality woman face around the world. This constant fear, this lack of help, this possibility of death. 

And it intensifies cycles of poverty around the world. When children are born into such dire circumstances, it can lead to phsyical and psychological trauma that stays with them indefinitely. 

The answer, of course, is an end to conflict everywhere. Because all children have the right to be born into peace. 

In 2016, world leaders have to rally around the Global Goals, especially Global Goal 16: Peace and Justice. 

You can raise awareness for the plight of families in conflict zones by going to TAKE ACTION NOW to #FightUnfair.