In the news, focus on the neglected postpartum period sheds light on questions of maternal mental health, and new research exposes the benefits of remote blood pressure monitoring in the postpartum period. Delivering equitable care continues to be a primary concern for care providers, plus two new articles in our Consumer Corner from Babyscripts' Senior Medical Director, Dr. Lauren Demosthenes.
For some lucky people, the pandemic has been a period of minor inconveniences with silver linings: a time to learn how to work effectively from home, to spend more intimate time with family and friends, to replace a long commute with meditative mornings and evening cooking adventures.
For others, the pandemic has presented a drastically different experience. For vulnerable individuals and families, the nationwide lockdowns and a battered economy have only exacerbated the struggles they face on a daily basis — food and housing insecurities, anxiety and depression, substance abuse problems, intimate partner violence, loss of income, and other challenges.
Technology facilitated the transition to a new normal for the first group — but is it a sufficient or even accessible solution for the second?
The term “desert” calls to mind geographic isolation — a place far removed from society and economic infrastructure. And when it comes to maternity care deserts in rural populations, that image is not far removed from the reality.
It’s no secret that distance and socio-economic risk contribute to the high rate of maternal deaths in the US. Many women lack immediate access to necessary care, and don’t have the means or the time to travel to distant providers. This problem is pervasive in rural areas — but it doesn’t stop there. Many of the country’s maternity care deserts are not geographically isolated at all, but exist in the heart of its most densely populated areas.
The Black Maternal Health Caucus unveiled the Momnibus Act last week, a legislative package of 12 standalone bills targeted to address maternal health disparities for Black mothers and other mothers of color. Covid concerns continue to keep the spotlight on virtual care as industry professionals weigh the benefits of remote monitoring and digital tools for enhancing maternal health outcomes during the pandemic and beyond.
Yasmiin Jones* was entering into her 39th week of pregnancy when she started feeling that something might be off. She had been using a monitor to track her blood pressure through her pregnancy, and on week 38, day 5, she clocked a reading higher than normal.
“I thought, you know what, maybe the reading is wrong — maybe I was in the wrong position,” said Yasmiin. So she took her reading again. It was still high.
The effects of hypertension in pregnancy and its ongoing implications for women's health were under consideration this week, partially due to Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine’s 2021 Virtual Annual Meeting. Experts weigh the importance of remote patient monitoring to supplement telehealth and debate ongoing concerns about COVID, the vaccine and pregnancy.
The 116th Congress closed in January on a disappointing note for maternal health advocacy. Two maternal health bills that cleared the House of Representatives with bipartisan support in September 2020 failed to reach the Senate floor for a vote, sending legislators back to the drawing board.
Despite this setback, the general outlook for maternal health advocacy is positive. President Biden has pledged to make women’s health issues a key part of his agenda, and Vice President Harris is well known for her support of maternal health legislation in the Senate, particularly that affecting Black and minority women.
Throughout this difficult year, we’ve been committed to helping our health system clients weather the challenges and threats presented by the pandemic. We’ve offered flexible pricing structures, shared resources, accelerated onboarding and implementation timelines, and come up with innovative workarounds like our BYOD program for remote monitoring.
We're committed to the success of our clients and the larger goal that we are all striving for: accessible and better quality prenatal and postpartum care for all moms.
With that in mind, we’re also tracking the opportunities and threats presented by our clients’ competitors — threats that have existed for some time, but now have been heightened by COVID and its disruption of traditional models of care.
As we welcome a new administration to the White House, the maternal health field is hopeful for a future where maternity issues take a primary position in Congress. A story from our backyard in Washington DC shows how far we have still to go in advocating for maternal health policy.
Plus, a new section in our roundup brought to you by Babyscripts Senior Medical Director, Dr. Lauren Demosthenes - check out the Consumer Corner!
As a new administration enters the White House, we're taking a step back to look at where we've come from and where we need to go from here. We’re hopeful for a future in which maternal health issues receive the attention from Congress that they deserve and demand.