Lower death rates for Black moms is goal of California bill
California has among the lowest death rates nationally among pregnant women and new mothers, but the numbers for Black mothers tell a different story.
They were six times more likely to die within a year of pregnancy than white women from 2014 to 2016 and had a higher rate of death than Black women nationally from 2014 to 2017, the most recent time frame for which data is available.
A bill before Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom aims to change that. Nicknamed the “Momnibus” bill, it would collect more details about pregnancy-related deaths, diversify the experts looking at that data and require them to recommend ways to reduce racial gaps. It also would expand access to doulas and midwives, whose presence can drive better care. . .
... “We can make better decisions about prevention, intervention, systems changes, not only at the hospital level but at the community level,” said Mashariki Kudumu, director of maternal and infant health initiatives for the March of Dimes, Greater Los Angeles, which is a cosponsor of the bill. “What comes with diverse and different perspectives are better changes to systems that improve care.”
Kudumu is also trained as a doula. Newsom in his state budget made doulas a covered benefit under Medi-Cal, the state’s health insurance program for low-income people, following states including New York and Illinois. Doulas are trained to assist and advocate for women in pregnancy and during and after birth. Research shows their presence reduces pregnancy complications and low birthweight babies...