For a healthy pregnancy and positive birth outcomes, women and their infants require access to appropriate health care services before, during, and after birth.
Data from across the nation indicates serious racial and ethnic disparities in infant and maternal health care and health outcomes. Many states are responding to this data and changing practices. In an effort to improve outcomes for Massachusetts, Governor Charlie Baker signed H 4818 creating a new commission that will be specifically tasked with identifying steps to address racial inequities in maternal health.
The panel will explore ways to reduce or eliminate inequities in maternal mortality, as well as investigate barriers to accessing prenatal and postpartum care, the availability of doulas and birthing centers, and the overall impacts of racism on new mothers in Massachusetts. The commission will have until March 2022 to file a report, make recommendations, and draft legislation.
To learn more, read the State of Babies Yearbook: 2020 brief Maternal and Child Health Inequities Emerge Even Before Birth from ZERO TO THREE and Child Trends.