UN Report Highlights Crisis In Black Maternal Health Across The Americas
The Washington Post covers a report showing how bad the situation is for maternal health of women and girls of African descent across the Americas, including startling U.S. inequality data: Black women and girls are 3 times more likely to die giving birth or shortly after than their peers.
Black women in the Americas bear a heavier burden of maternal mortality than their peers, but according to a report released Wednesday by the United Nations, the gap between who lives and who dies is especially wide in the world’s richest nation — the United States. Of the region’s 35 countries, only four publish comparable maternal mortality data by race, according to the report, which analyzed the maternal health of women and girls of African descent in the Americas: Brazil, Colombia, Suriname and the United States. And while the United States had the lowest overall maternal mortality rate among those four nations, the report said Black women and girls were three times more likely than their U.S. peers to die while giving birth or in the six weeks afterward. (Johnson, 7/12)
Ashley Jones’ three children were born in three different places — a hospital, a birth center, and at home. Jones, who is 31 and lives in Belgrade, Montana, said she had “zero control over what was going on” during her hospital birth. Jones wanted a midwife to help deliver her third child, and after finding one she clicked with, she decided to go with a home birth. “I felt like I was in control of everything and she was there to listen to what I needed from her,” Jones said. (Larson, 7/12)
Mahmee, a maternal health startup first formed in 2014, recently rolled out a new pregnancy care membership program in an effort to lower the U.S.’ maternal mortality rate outside the traditional medical setting. Mahmee offers wraparound services for people navigating pregnancy and childbirth and has served over 20,000 people, according to Amanda Williams, Mahmee’s medical director who is also an adviser to the Stanford-based California Maternal Quality Care Collaborative. (Chen, 7/11)
It’s been shown to detect cancer, pinpoint cavities and answer medical questions — and now, artificial intelligence may help fertility doctors select the ideal embryo for in-vitro fertilization (IVF). With one in every five U.S. adult married women unable to get pregnant after a year of trying, per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), many turn to IVF for help. The fertility treatment is responsible for between 1% and 2% of all births in the country. (Rudy, 7/12)
There’s growing evidence that DNA sequencing can help diagnose the health care system’s youngest patients — babies in their first year of life. But a new report resurfaces a thorny challenge in researchers’ quest to turn long strings of A’s, T’s, G’s, and C’s into information doctors and patients can use: Reading the genome is one challenge, interpreting it is another. (Wosen, 7/11)
U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris on Tuesday announced new steps to lower the cost of childcare for American families with a proposal that would cap co-payments under a block grant program that serves 1.5 million children and their families each month. “This is a critical issue for almost every family in our country,” Harris told reporters. “Low-income families often spend one-third, one-third of their yearly income on childcare, more than they spend on their rent or mortgage.” (7/11)
Most Maine workers will get up to 12 weeks of paid time off for family or medical reasons as part of a supplemental budget Democratic Gov. Janet Mills signed into law on Tuesday. The spending bill included $25 million in startup costs for the state program which allows workers — starting in 2026 — to receive paid leave to deal with illness, to care for a relative, or for the birth of a child. (Sharp, 7/11)
This is part of the Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.