Category Archives: maternal morbidity

Video: The Global Gag Rule Explained

More than likely you have heard about the Global Gag Rule also known as the Mexico City Policy this week. You can learn more about it in a previous post: Why the Global Gag Rule Will Increase Maternal Mortality.

To get right to the point, however, Planned Parenthood released this video: What is the Global Gag Rule that explains it succinctly.

Why The Global Gag Rule Will Increase Maternal Mortality

Throughout my visits to clinics in Africa I have seen the work of Marie Stopes International in South Africa, Tanzania, Ethiopia as well as Zambia. They provide a full range of quality reproductive health services for women. I have always been impressed by the comprehensive care they provide. Now, their work will be hampered because of an imposed policy of the new administration.

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Marie Stopes International health worker I met in Johannesburg, South Africa. Photo: Jennifer James

Yesterday morning President Trump signed an executive order to reinstate the Global Gag Rule, or Mexico City Policy, that prevents international NGOs that accept USAID (taxpayer) money from advocating for the legalization of abortions, provide abortions, mention the word, or even refer women to health practionioners that provide safe, legal abortions.

The Global Gag Rule was instated during the Reagan admininstration in 1984 and since then there has been a virtual seesaw effect between Republican and Democratic administrations regarding whether the Rule is reinstated or revoked. According to the WHO, 78,000 women die every year from unsafe abortions. Under Obama’s eight year administration, that number was reportedly decreased by more than half. Now, that President Trump has signed this executive order reinstating the Global Gag Rule, the fear among the global health community is that that number will rapidly skyrocket again.

Continue reading Why The Global Gag Rule Will Increase Maternal Mortality

7 Organizations and Birth Centers That Save Black Mothers’ Lives #MaternalHealth

Today as we celebrate and commemorate Martin Luther King Jr. Day, here are seven organizations and birth centers that are helping save the lives of black women during pregnancy, childbirth and after childbirth.

All maternal mortality and morbidity data in the United States report the same thing: black women die in disproportionately high numbers when compared to non-Hispanic white women. In fact, black women are four times more likely to die during or after childbirth than white women. One of the biggest statistics is black women — no matter socioeconomic status, education, lifestyle and access to health care — still die in larger numbers from maternal health complications.

The United States is the only developed country where the maternal mortality rate is increasing. Black women bear the largest brunt of this increase as they succumb to maternal health complications in the largest numbers.  National organizations and regional birth centers have emerged to save more black mothers’ lives, especially in a climate where the most money is spent on health care than any other country in the world and more and more black women are dying.

Support and follow these organizations and birth centers that are supporting reporting social and reproductive health.

Ancient Song Doula Services (www.ancientsongdoulaservices.com): Full Spectrum evidence – based doula care organization focused on the doula as preventative care in underserved communities.

Black Mamas Matter (www.blackmamasmatter.org):  Advancing the human right to safe and respectful maternal health care.

Black Women Health Imperative (http://www.bwhi.org):  We are Black Women’s Health Imperative – the only national nonprofit dedicated to the physical, emotional & financial health & wellness of Black women & girls.

Black Women Justice Mission (blackwomenjusticemission.com): A collective of African-American, African, Caribbean and multi-racial women committed to transforming the birthing experiences for Black women.

Commonsense Childbirth (www.commonsensechildbirth.org): Jennie Joseph and Commonsense Childbirth Inc. is building a network of support to transform maternity care in the US. Be a part of the movement for change!

National Birth Equity Collaborative (birthequity.org): NBEC aims to reduce Black maternal and infant mortality through research, family centered collaboration, and advocacy.

SisterSong (sistersong.net): Southern Based – National Women of Color Reproductive Justice Collective

Notable Articles and Health Series on Black Maternal Health 

Art provided by uzuriart.com.

9 Facts We Learned in 2016 About Maternal Mortality in the United States

  1. Texas has the highest rate of maternal mortality in the developed world. (Source)
  2. In Texas, cardiac events, overdose by licit or illicit prescription drugs, and hypertensive disorders are the leading causes of maternal death. (Source)
  3. White women had the highest rates of diagnosed mental illness of any kind (depression as well as other psychological illnesses) in Texas during pregnancy and the puerperium; Black women had the second highest rates. (Source)
  4. The best state to have a baby is Vermont and the worst state to have a baby is Mississippi. (Source)
  5. Canadian researchers recently published an article stating that maternal mortality is not increasing in the United States because of more chronic health factors, but rather because of improved surveillance and documentation. (Source)
  6. 28 women out of 100,000 live births die per year in the United States. These statistics are based on data from 2013, the latest year data is available. (Source)
  7. California is the only state where maternal mortality rates have gone down. (Source)
  8. Women over 40 experience the greatest severe maternal morbidity factors in New York City and its surrounding areas. (Source)
  9. Since maternal mortality and morbidity data is difficult to assess, experts are calling on all states to standardize its data. (Source)

Source List

USA Today
Washington Post
New York Times (1, 2)
Texas Maternal Mortality and Morbidity Task Force and Department of State Health Services: Joint Biennial Report
WalletHub
National Institutes of Health
New York City 2008 – 2012: Severe Maternal Morbidity

Image Courtesy of Uzuri Art.