As you're busy prepping your maternity bag for the hospital, you might debate which nipple cream to pack or if you should bother with cosmetics or leave them at home. You likely don't think to include a razor blade for midwives to cut the umbilical cord, and you certainly don't have on your checklist a large plastic tarp, which many pregnant women around the globe bring to cover their delivery beds, because there is no clean water to sterilize the surfaces between deliveries.
International charity WaterAid aims to shed light on the drastically different conditions in which women give birth around the world by opening up their maternity bags and revealing a remarkable range of items, from life-saving essentials to simple luxuries.
Whether these moms-to-be live in New York City, London, Zambia, or Madagascar, they do have some items in common. Nearly everyone packed baby blanket or an outfit for their newborn, as well as a water bottle, flask, or thermos.
What's most interesting, however, is what set those women in developing nations apart. Their checklists were dictated by whether they could rely on hygienic conditions, sanitations, and water safe enough to clean medical equipment — or even allow doctors to wash their hands — during labor.
Thanks to WaterAid's DeliverLife project, meet seven different pregnant women from every corner of the globe, look at what's inside their maternity bags, and take a moment to recognize the strikingly different experiences these moms will have giving birth.