A new project from WaterAid — a foundation which aims to bring clean sanitary water to people in developing countries — captured what women around the world take with them when they're about to give birth in a powerful photo series.
What's most striking about the pictures are the differences (and similarities) in what women bring in their maternity bags, depending on where they're located. While almost all the women had blankets, clothes and a water bottle, some had to bring additional items in preparation for their hospital's conditions. For instance, Ellen, who lives in Malawi, had her own razor blade to cut the umbilical cord and sheets to give birth on since there is no clean water at the hospital to create a hygienic environment.
"All of us want every newborn baby to get the best possible start in life," Barbara Frost, WaterAid's chief executive, said in a statement to A Plus. "Midwives and hospital staff want to be able to do the job that they trained for – to deliver life. But this isn't possible without safe water, toilets and good hygiene. When I see these photographs, and meet women in similar situations, I am always struck by the harsh reality they face when giving birth in such risky conditions. That is why our Deliver Life appeal is focused on water and sanitation facilities to help ensure a clean environment and good hygiene, giving hope for mother and baby. Simple but true."