The National Institute for Health Care Management (NIHCM) Newsletter highlighted how COVID-19 has affected maternal health:
Maternal Health and COVID-19
The COVID-19 pandemic is exacerbating concerns about maternal health in the United States, which has the highest maternal mortality rate of industrialized countries and is the only nation where the rate is rising. New studies highlight the pandemic’s impact on the physical and mental health of pregnant individuals.
- Black Maternal Mortality: Black women are three times more likely to die from pregnancy-related causes than White women. President Biden released a proclamation for Black Maternal Health Week, calling for recognition of the crisis of Black maternal mortality and morbidity.
- Policy Efforts: The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced plans to expand access to health care coverage and preventative care in rural areas to improve maternal health outcomes. Additionally, eight states joined the National Academy for State Health Policy’s academy aimed at improving access to quality care for Medicaid-eligible pregnant and parenting women.
- COVID-19: New research reports that pregnant people are at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19. Fortunately, preliminary data does not indicate any vaccine safety concerns for pregnant persons and their babies. New research also shows that vaccinated mothers pass along anti-COVID-19 antibodies when they breastfeed.
Initiatives and Resources:
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has resources to combat maternal mortality through messaging, prevention, surveillance and state initiatives.
- The Blue Cross Blue Shield Association announced its National Health Equity Strategy, setting a goal to reduce racial disparities in maternal health by 50%.
Doulas and midwives are a crucial, yet often unaffordable, resource in addressing postpartum depression for Black families
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