Black Maternal Health Momnibus

This was sent to us today.

On the anniversary of the 19th Amendment, urge Congress to pass the Black Maternal Health Momnibus to advance birth justice for all. Click here for a National call to Birth Justice and Accountability.

Durham Parent

This is so timely! Breastfeed Durham has been working for the last few weeks with the Born in Durham Healthy for Life Team, a group of Black Maternal Health Providers in Durham, and one new student volunteer. Thank you all for your support of breastfeeding in Durham. Breastfeed Durham has developed the Birthing Family Friendly Community Initiative. It’s our hope to share this initiative with the Durham Community, and we look forward to continuing to support efforts to create health equity.

Birthing Family Friendly Community:

  • Objective 1. The community’s elected or appointed leadership has a written statement supporting equitable optimal birthing that is routinely communicated to all.
    • The written and signed policy/proclamation, including actions to ensure the sustainability of the 10 objectives, is widely distributed and shared via local media outlets and social media annually, and local print and other media host discussions with experts.
  • Objective 2: The community as a whole provides a welcoming atmosphere for all birthing families.
    • First responders are trained on how to support optimal birthing and how to equitable
    • support new families.
    • Breastfeeding welcome here’ is posted next to the welcome signs to the community in similar prominent positions, AND a “Breastfeeding Welcome Here” seal/logo is posted on community websites, social media, or similar platforms.
  • Objective 3. Optimal birthing is equitably supported by health leadership.
    • The local health department equitable supports this approved definition.
    • Birthing facilities do NOT routinely employ practices and procedures that are not supported by scientific evidence, including (but not limited to) shaving, enemas, routine IVs, withholding nourishment or water, early rupture of membranes, electronic fetal monitoring, induction, augmentation, episiotomies, and cesarean births.
  • Objective 4. During pregnancy, all families in the community are equally informed about the benefits of optimal birthing, as well as about unnecessary risks, and where to access support as needed.
    • Families are given accurate descriptive and statistical information about birth practices and procedures for equitable birth care, including interventions and outcomes.
    • Culturally appropriate non-commercial materials produced or approved by the local designating group are distributed, in hard copy and/or online, through community health providers, social organizations, and faith-based groups.
  • Objective 5. Health care in the community is equitable and optimal birthing-friendly.
    • All maternity care centers are designated Baby-friendly (BF) or designated by our state’s maternity care birthing designation (The Mother/Baby Clinic Award).
    • Healthcare personnel involved in the care of parents and babies are trained in the skills necessary to support optimal birthing.
    • Clinics have been informed about available optimal birthing Clinic/Office designation programs, and at least 50% of clinics/offices have applied for the designation OR have provided documentation of their prenatal birthing support.
    • Provide information on the benefits of midwifery, doula care, and breastfeeding support as well as local organizations that can provide access to midwives, doulas, and breastfeeding supporters of color. 
    •  Normal physiologic (natural) birth challenges by learning more about the birthing and midwifery traditions in the communities. Support the pregnant individual’s autonomy in making choices about their birth. But never try to coerce or control them according to your own fears, values or beliefs (Battling Over Bith, Black Women Birthing Justice)
  • Objective 6. Non-healthcare system birthing support groups and services are fully and equitable available in the community, including international doulas, childbirth educators, peer to peer support providers, and other skilled birthing support.
    • Confirmation that such services are active or being created that would serve the community, with attention to meeting the needs of the racial/ethnic groups in the community. At least one communication to the public on this mutual effort is documented annually (during minority health month preferably)
  • Objective 7. The businesses and social organizations in the community are welcoming to birthing families.
    • At least 50% of businesses support birthing for staff.
  • Objective 8. Locally controlled groceries, food markets, convenience stores or pharmacies will promote health foods for mothers and babies (prenatal through age 1).
  • Objective 9. The business case for family leave is promulgated by the health department and the Chamber of Commerce or equivalent.
    • The laws concerning mandated business support for family leave, and the materials available to all Chamber of Commerce (CoC) members, and similar business groups
  • Objective 10. Education systems, including childcare, K-12, colleges, and universities, are encouraged to equitable support optimal birthing and to use age-appropriate techniques to inform families.
    • Train and evaluate all staff in the skills to support and promote optimal infant and young child feeding.
    • Inform women and families about the importance of optimal bring birthing .
    • Provide a  family-friendly environment.
    • Provide learning and play opportunities that normalize optimal birthing for children.
    • Ensure that each infant has a feeding plan that supports best feeding practices.
    • Contact and coordinate with community birthing support resources; actively refer mothers and families.

Optimal birthing: 

  • It means to be aware of all birthing options and supporting the pregnant individual’s autonomy in making choices about their birth, and never coercing or controlling them according to one’s own fears, values or beliefs. 
  • There should be unrestricted access to the birth companions and continuous emotional and physical support. 
  • Women should be given accurate descriptive and statistical information about birth practices and procedures for birth care, including interventions and outcomes.
  • Treatment and care should be culturally competent care and sensitive and responsive to the specific beliefs, values, and customs of the mother’s ethnicity and religion. 
  • The birthing woman should experience freedom to move, use relaxation practices and noninvasive labor aids, and make informed choices of parents for their labor, birth, and postpartum experience. 
  • Women should also have caregivers who agree to support the plan and a contingency plan for parents’ active involvement in decisions to use technology.  

Proposed activities: 

That the Durham community actively engage in efforts to improve maternal health for families confronting racial disparities. We will actively engage in efforts to improve maternal health for women of color.  We will contiue to worki across sectors to address public health challenges.