REI’s resident staff member in Egypt is an internationally licensed and certified AMANI doula and childbirth educator who created and operates UniquelyYours Birth Center. Located on the outskirts of Cairo, the Center educates families in practices not previously observed in Egypt including prenatal nutrition, pregnancy exercise, natural childbirth and breastfeeding.
Drawing on the expertise of volunteer Egyptian OB-GYN and Pediatric Specialists, the Center hosts a monthly well-baby clinic with baby weigh-ins and “Mommy and Me” classes for young mothers and their youngsters. The center also equips “Doulas,” women specifically trained to assist in the natural delivery of babies.
For the past several years, an REI-sponsored doula named Lydia has been helping pregnant mothers and fathers in Cairo navigate pregnancy, childbirth and early infancy. Additionally, she has been teaching doctors and nurses in a state-of-the-art maternity hospital, as well as medical residents at two teaching hospitals in proper delivery room procedures. Now, the Lydia Center is UniquelyYours Birth Services!
As early as age 12, many Egyptian girls marry the cousins to whom they have been promised from a young age. Before the “Arab Spring” of 2011 the Egyptian Parliament even discussed the possibility of lowering the legal marriage age to 9 years old. Although the practice is legally banned, an astounding 80-85% of these young Egyptian girls are still ritually circumcised.