Last week, NY Senator and 2020 Presidential hopeful Kirsten Gillibrand held a press conference calling for attention and reform on the increasing outcomes disparities in maternity care in the US. The Modernizing Obstetric Medicine Standards (MOMS) Act would attempt to prevent women from suffering from medical complications before, during and after pregnancy.
The legislation, if passed, would provide funding via the US Health and Human Services department to help maternity hospitals work toward improvement. Though it is unclear how exactly the funding would be directed, it is likely that innovations like doula care would be considered as proven ways to provide better care navigation and outcomes to all expecting parents.
There is no question that reform is needed. With black mothers dying in the US at an alarming rate that is 4 times more likely than white mothers, there is clearly a problem with the processes of care. Just last week, pregnant mother, Lashonda Hazard, age 27, died from unknown causes. She had spent the day at the hospital the previous day and her symptoms were apparently not acknowledged based on her own social media posts just hours before her death. A doula might have helped to save Lashonda’s life, acting as advocate and guide through a system with too many cracks. Let us not continue to ignore the voices of black mothers, let us do the right thing.