In Louisville, we want all babies to celebrate their first birthdays and beyond. We want all moms, regardless of ethnicity or income, to deliver healthy, full term babies.
Unfortunately, that’s not the case in our country or our city today.
In the U.S., maternal mortality for Black women is more than double that for white women.
This is important because infant outcomes can impact health throughout the rest of one’s life. While infant mortality has slowly been falling, the death rate for Black babies from 2011- 2015 was 1.95 times higher than for Louisville Metro as a whole; 2.31 times higher than for White babies; and 2.88 times higher than for Hispanic babies.
We know that helping moms to deliver healthy babies is more than just access to good prenatal care. Prenatal care is important but we also need to address other important root causes of poor birth outcomes such as employment and income, access to healthy foods, safe housing and safe neighborhoods, and the effects of having a parent incarcerated. We want everyone in our community to be able to imagine alternative possibilities—a day when health outcomes will be equal.
We know that the local public health department can in no way solve the disparities of maternal mortality, pre-term and low birth weight babies or infant mortality on our own.
It takes people from all sectors and the community working together.
In 2014, we worked with several community partners to create Healthy Babies Louisville - a group that includes community members and partners from health care, social services, academia, and government working to ensure that all babies live to see their first birthday and have the supports to grow up healthy, safe, and strong.
Together, we are working to develop, adopt and improve policies and practices shown to improve equity in birth outcomes.
And we are joining together to improve equity in ways that none of us could ever do alone. We looked at the research, asked for input from community members, and checked with colleagues around the country to plan our next steps. Here's what we are doing collectively to reduce preterm birth, low birth weight and infant death:
- Supporting a policy to expand paid parental leave;
- Expanding access to community doulas;
- Increasing access to Long-Acting Reversible Contraceptives (LARCs); and
- Providing breastfeeding educational supports to OB providers
How do you get involved? If you need services ranging from healthcare to housing please call Metro United Way, 2-1-1, or 1-877-566-4968 to connect to resources across Louisville Metro.
If your agency would like to get involved, contact us at 502-574-6520.