Category Archives: Maternal Health

9 Maternal Health Stories Worth Reading This Weekend

Now that 2020 is in full swing I decided to catch up on the many maternal health and mortality articles that were published during the holiday season. There has been a lot of stellar reporting that you might have missed. I did. Here is a compilation of some of the articles I found the most compelling starting with a wrap-up post, 7 things I learned from spending a year reporting on mothers in Alabama,  by Anna Claire Volle about the excellent year-long reporting she did on mothers in Alabama.  I particularly liked 

Black Maternal Health

[Self] Congresswoman Alma Adams on Why She Co-Founded the Black Maternal Health Caucus: Alma Adams is the congresswoman for my district. I am proud of the bi-partisan work she has been doing to help curb black maternal mortality. In this interview in Self’s Black Maternal Health series, Adams talks about the reasons why she is a co-founder of the Black Maternal Health Caucus.

[NBC News] Extremely alarming’: New report addresses maternal mortality in the U.S.: Taraneh Shirazian, director of Global Women’s Health at NYU’s College of Global Public Health and president of Saving Mothers discusses on Morning Joe how maternal mortality has decreased globally, but in the United States maternal deaths have increased particularly for black moms.

[The Hill] Reproductive revolution: Ending black maternal health inequities in 2020: Tracey Lewis-Elligan, an associate professor & chair of Sociology at DePaul University, details the ways in which black mortality can be decreased starting this year. She highlights some of the work of doulas and midwives in the fight against black maternal mortality.

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5 Things to Know About Maternal Health This Week

The CDC released a new report late last week, Racial/Ethnic Disparities in Pregnancy-Related Deaths — United States, 2007–2016, that reiterates the maternal mortality disparity between black mothers and American Indian/Alaska Native women and white, Hispanic, and Asian/Pacific Islander women. The numbers now seem worse than we originally thought. For example, black women who are college educated die in larger numbers than white women with less than a high school diploma. And, even in states where overall maternal mortality is low, black women still die in larger numbers.

In addition, the CDC acknowledges that “black women experience earlier deterioration of health because of the cumulative impact of exposure to psychosocial, economic, and environmental stressors.” In other words, a contributor to maternal death rates among black women is structural racism in healthcare settings.

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[WATCH] Video Shows Horrors of Childbirth in Sierra Leone #MaternalHealth

The United Nations has designated Sierra Leone as the most dangerous place to have a baby. In fact, it has the highest maternal mortality rate in the world at 1,360 deaths per 100,000 live births. On average, most women have at least six babies in Sierra Leone.

In a previous post I mentioned the Aminata Maternal Foundation that helps pregnant women in Sierra Leone. An Australian organization, it was started by a woman, Aminata Conteh-Biger, who became a sex slave during the Liberian Civil War. Now, she is giving back to expectant mothers after so many years away from her home country.

This video shows the work of the Aminata Maternal Foundation and how it oftentimes becomes difficult for young pregnant girls to receive permission from family and elders to deliver in a hospital or health center. It also shows the frustration of healthcare workers who try to teach entire villages about the importance of proper maternal healthcare.

To help more mothers deliver safely in Sierra Leone you can donate monthly or one time at aminatamaternalfoundation.org/donate.

Joint Commission Creates New Standards of Care to Curb Maternal Mortality

One of the leading causes of maternal mortality in the United States is hemorrhaging. In fact, according to the CDC hemorrhaging accounts for 11.2% of pregnancy-related deaths. Based on these increasing numbers since 1986 the Joint Commission, the country’s leading accreditation organization for hospitals, has created 13 new standards for perinatal safety for hospitals to properly care for women who hemorrhage during or after delivery. These standards were designed specifically to prevent, recognize and treat, as well as evaluate patients for transfer to critical care for not only hemorrhage but also severe hypertension/preeclampsia.

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The Best and Worst States to Have a Baby

Image by Uzuri Art.

I write about maternal health a lot on Social Good Moms and sometimes I don’t write enough about newborn health. I saw some interesting information this month about the best and worst states to have a baby and thought the data was interesting to share. The data was compiled by Wallet Hub.

They compared the 50 states and the District of Columbia across four key dimensions:

  • Cost
  • Health Care
  • Baby-Friendliness and
  • Family-Friendliness

Additionally, across these four dimensions, they evaluated 30 additional metrics including infant mortality rate, maternal mortality rate, Cesarean deliveries, preterm birth and low-birth weight infants.

The best and worst states are listed in the table below. One of the most important things for all parents to check for is their newborn health screenings. You can find yours based on your state at Baby’s First Test. And in North Carolina, mothers can sign up for an additional two free tests ( fragile X syndrome and spinal muscular atrophy (SMA))at EarlyCheck.org. The tests are led by RTI International.

BESTWORST
1 Vermont 42 West Virginia
2
Massachusetts
43
Florida
3 North Dakota 44 Nevada
4 Rhode Island 45 Arkansas
5 Minnesota 46
Georgia
6 New Hampshire 47 Oklahoma
7 Washington 48 Louisiana
8 Colorado 49
South Carolina
9 Connecticut 50 Alabama
10 Utah 51 Mississippi

Best vs. Worst

  • Mississippi has the lowest average annual cost for early child care, $3,192, which is 4.9 times lower than in the District of Columbia, the highest at $15,515.
     
  • Alaska has the lowest share of childbirths with low birth weight, 6.19 percent, which is 1.9 times lower than in Mississippi, the highest at 11.60 percent.
     
  • The District of Columbia has the most obstetricians and gynecologists (per 100,000 residents), 25, which is 25 times more than in Oklahoma, the fewest at 1.
     
  • Massachusetts has the highest parental leave policy score, 160, while 9 states, such as Alabama, Michigan and South Dakota, tie for the lowest at 0.

To learn about the data visit WalletHub.com.