Strategies To Improve Maternal Health And Safety

mother consoling her child

The leading cause of death during pregnancy and immediately after birth in the United States? It’s not sepsis, hypertension, or hemorrhage. It’s homicide, often at the hands of a current or former partner.

Couple that with our country’s appalling – and worsening – rate of maternal mortality, and you have a full-blown crisis that’s taking a terrible toll.

That’s why we’re working so hard, in so many ways, to improve maternal health in this country. That begins with our long-term, transformative work to show physicians, nurses, and other health care providers how to safely talk with their patients about domestic and sexual violence, and how to intervene effectively with those at risk.

Our Connected Parents, Connected Kids materials are helping home visitation and early childhood staff address domestic violence among their clients. Research from home visiting programs has shown that as many as half of low-income mothers visited have experienced abuse. The harmful impact on their physical and mental health, and that of their children, is well documented.

Connected Parents, Connected Kids addresses the barriers and difficulties staff experience in addressing domestic violence, offering strategies and tools that help them provide support when a client discloses abuse. That kind of intervention can make a big difference!

And we’re working tirelessly to convince Congress to pass the Black Maternal Health Momnibus Act of 2023, which was re-introduced in both chambers this week. The United States has the highest maternal mortality rate of any high-income country and there are painful disparities, with Black and Native American/Indigenous women much more likely to die during and after childbirth than those who are white.

The problem has been getting worse, not better, in recent years and the new restrictions on abortion care, which are affecting miscarriage care in some states, threaten to make it worse still.

But there is hope. Four in five pregnancy-related deaths in this country are preventable, and the 13 evidence-based bills in the Momnibus Act will help prevent them. That’s why we’re pressing so hard to convince Congress to pass it.

Working together, with the right interventions and support, we can ensure pregnancy and childbirth are a time of joy and celebration.

Won’t you join us?