I was very glad to know that there is a health care service in California which provides services to immigrants in need. According to the documentary "Giving Birth in America", women in California are eligible for Medicaid during pregnancy regardless of immigration status. I think this is a step in the right direction because in many places immigrants are not able to get access to health care services due to their immigration status and lack of income. There are many factors which influence maternal mortality among women of color in the United States. The first factor is the shortage of healthcare providers in rural and under-resourced communities (Giving Birth in America, n.d.). Many Immigrants generally tend to move to rural areas due to work, but have to live far away from proper healthcare services. Due to this, women of color might not always be able to get to the hospital to have a healthy birth and get proper care. A second factor is women of color are not able to get insurance which can cover their health care needs (Giving Birth in America, n.d.). A reason for this could be because many immigrant women lack proper documentation to receive insurance. Many also might not be able to afford insurance due to how expensive it can be. Many women give birth while also suffering from chronic conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes and obesity (Giving Birth in America, n.d.). Since many immigrant women of color do not have insurance, they aren't able to take care of chronic conditions which puts them at risk during pregnancy and birth. If these women were able to get help early, giving birth would no longer be as risky. A third factor is chronic stress which arises from racism and social equities. I think this is because experiencing racism can lead to the development of stress hormones and these hormones are what put women at risk during pregnancy (Chatterjee and Davis, 2017). I’ve always known that the US has an awful maternal rate but it always surprises me considering the US is the richest country in the world. I think our healthcare system can do many things to better support expectant mothers. The first thing the healthcare system can do is to provide women with doulas that they feel comfortable with (Krisberg, 2019). Medicaid coverage should include doula care because they can provide a certain comfort which can reduce stress when giving birth. The second thing the health care system can do is address root causes which can lead to risky births such as racism (Krisberg, 2019). The healthcare system should work to understand the experiences women of color go through in the country and help empower them. I feel that the voice of women of color should be heard so that we can invest in proper community based interventions in high need areas with a focus on women who need help and are the most vulnerable (Krisberg, 2019).
After doing some research, a non-profit organization I found which is working to improve maternal health in the U.S. and other areas around the world is (EMC) Every Mother Counts. Every Mother Counts was founded in 2020 by Christy Turlington Burns (Our Story: Every Mother Counts, n.d.). Every Mother Counts works to achieve maternity care that is quality, respectful and equitable, by providing grants and collaborating with partners and thought leaders to increase overall awareness and inspire and mobilize communities to take action (Our Story: Every Mother Counts, n.d.). The overall goal of this organization is to make pregnancy and childbirth safe for every mother throughout the world. EMC uses filmmaking, storytelling, and research to share challenges and opportunities in global maternal health (Our Story: Every Mother Counts, n.d.). EMC closely collaborates with policy makers and community members to identify any maternal health issues and implement strategies for a change (Our Story: Every Mother Counts, n.d.). EMC supports community based programs and also invests in strengthening and making bigger the maternity care workforce (Our Story: Every Mother Counts, n.d.).
BY: TJ KAPIL
Chatterjee, R., & Davis, R. (2017, December 20). How Racism May Cause Black Mothers To Suffer The Death Of Their Infants. Retrieved from https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2017/12/20/570777510/how-racism-may-cause-black-mothers-to-suffer-the-death-of-their-infants
Giving Birth in America: Every Mother Counts (EMC): Improving Maternal Health. (n.d.). Retrieved February 16, 2020, from https://everymothercounts.org/giving-birth-in-america/
Krisberg, K. (2019, August 1). Programs work from within to prevent black maternal deaths: Workers targeting root cause - Racism. Retrieved from http://thenationshealth.aphapublications.org/content/49/6/1.3-0
Our Story: Every Mother Counts (EMC): Improving Maternal Health. (n.d.). Retrieved February 15, 2020, from https://everymothercounts.org/our-story/