New York’s bill ‘was passed without the women, whose lives will be most imperiled, being central to the discussion – in particular those women without race or economic clout, or connections to the political class.’
‘Worldwide movements are underway to create a better post-pandemic world. We must also reimagine maternal and newborn care so that both are delivered more equitably and holistically.’
As New York’s COVID-19 cases began to skyrocket in late March, the same hospitals that filled with the sick and dying were where at least 66 women were giving birth to their babies.
The City Council passed a set of bills intended to at least partly address the problems of maternal morbidity and mortality, which, like so many health issues, disproportionately affect low-income women of color.
Every year in New York City, more than 3,000 women experience a life-threatening event during childbirth, and about 30 women die from a pregnancy-related cause.
Though breastfeeding rates are up statewide, only a tiny proportion of new mothers breastfeed without using formula in many of New York City’s low-income communities. WIC is trying to change that.
City statistics indicate race, poverty, age, access to healthcare and even whether a patient really wanted to have a baby all have dramatic effects on the risks different women face. Neighborhoods also matter.
Over the course of pregnancy and the first postpartum year, one in seven women will suffer from depression. The city’s public hospitals are hoping to screen all mothers and prevent up to 3,000 cases annually, but that’s no simple task.
Maternal morbidity—moms who get really sick before or after childbirth, sometimes with years-long effects—is a growing problem in New York. Racial health disparities are part of the picture, but so is the uneven quality of the hospitals different communities use.