In the United States, maternal mortality rates exceed the rates of other high-income countries and are continuing to rise. The issue is particularly prevalent in New York, which has one of the highest maternal mortality rates in the country.
Research shows that both race and class status have a tremendous impact on healthcare outcomes for mothers and babies. That’s because women of color often face implicit bias, lack of access to quality healthcare, and underlying chronic conditions that can be undiagnosed for years. As a result, Black mothers and babies have the worst childbirth outcomes in the U.S. and in New York.
Yet, 84% of pregnancy-related deaths are preventable, making earlier interventions and increased access to care critical tools to save the lives of mothers. During Women’s History Month, the Mother Cabrini Health Foundation is proud to highlight the work of grantees working every day to break down barriers and improve maternal health outcomes for women and children in New York.
Nurse-Family Partnership® is a national, evidence-based community health program that partners registered nurses with first-time mothers affected by social and economic inequality. Each participating family receives ongoing nurse visits from early pregnancy until a child’s second birthday. Through this partnership, nurses can help detect early warning signs of health problems for mothers and babies.
Mothers who join the Nurse-Family Partnership are less likely to suffer from pregnancy-induced hypertension and less likely to have preterm births. Similarly, babies raised with the support of the Nurse-Family Partnership are less likely to be born prematurely, and more likely to be breastfed and receive up-to-date immunizations. The organization serves more than 3,500 families annually in New York State.
Another New York-based organization, Postpartum Resource Center of New York, promotes awareness of perinatal mood and anxiety disorders experienced by new parents. The organization operates a helpline for moms, dads, and the community, offering free, confidential, and non-judgmental telephone support.
The Center also runs the Parental Mental Health Peer Support Program, led by peer coaches who are mothers with lived experience, to support pregnant women and new mothers with young children who need mental health support and addressing social determinants of health. Mental health treatment is a historically overlooked component of prenatal and postpartum care, and increased support for women and their families can be lifesaving.
To learn more about these organizations, please visit their websites: