Actress Melissa Joan Hart in Maternal Health Campaign

Every few seconds, in every corner of the globe, a mother welcomes a baby into the world. A recent U.S. online survey conducted by Harris Interactive on behalf of Merck (NYSE: MRK), known as MSD outside the United States and Canada, among 2,282 adults aged 18 and up showed that nearly every parent (93 percent) characterizes this moment as “life-changing.”

However, what is not often discussed is that childbirth can be a very dangerous time. According to the World Health Organization, every two minutes somewhere in the world a woman dies during pregnancy or childbirth. This obviously has a devastating impact on a family and their community.

To address this global crisis – known as maternal mortality – Merck, a global healthcare company, developed Merck for Mothers, a 10-year, $500 million initiative to help create a world where no woman has to die giving life.

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Merck for Mothers collaborates with actress and mother of three Melissa Joan Hart to launch “Once Upon a Birth,” a campaign designed to raise awareness of maternal mortality in the United States.

“I was lucky to have had three healthy pregnancies and deliveries with great medical care. I now know that this is not always the case, even for women here in the U.S. I was surprised and saddened to learn that, despite medical advancements, each day 800 women around the world die during pregnancy or childbirth,” said Melissa Joan Hart.

“As a mother, I’m passionate about this issue, and I was excited to share the story of the day my new son, Tucker, was born on Merck for Mothers Facebook page.”

Merck invites you to visit the Merck for Mothers Facebook page, www.facebook.com/MerckforMothers, to learn more about this issue and join Melissa Joan Hart in sharing a birth memory of the day someone you love was born.

Each story will trigger a donation from Merck to Join My Village, a social change initiative that empowers women and girls in developing countries by increasing their access to health programs, and educational and economic opportunities through the humanitarian organization CARE.

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