Senate bill promotes maternal health

Legislation reintroduced in the U.S. Senate promotes maternal health, with special emphasis on reducing racial inequalities in maternal and infant mortality.

The Mothers and Newborns Success Act, reintroduced on March 23 by Sens. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, and Tim Kaine, D-VA, expands maternal health research and data collection to ensure women are better matched with birthing facilities that meet their specific needs.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), maternal mortality for Black women was 2.89 times higher than the maternal mortality for white women and the infant mortality rate of babies born to Black women is more than 2.36 times higher than infant mortality of babies born to white women.

From 2016 through 2018 the maternal mortality rate for American Indian and Alaska Native women was 1.9 times higher than the maternal mortality rate for white women.

The legislation would support the CDC’s work to classify birthing facilities so that patients know the level of risk-appropriate maternal and neonatal care at each facility, support the Health Resources and Services Administration’s (HRSA) Rural Maternity and Obstetric Management Strategies Program to improve access to and continuity of obstetrics care in rural communities, and establish a pilot program through HRSA to identify and share best practices and evidence-based information on maternal health with providers and patients.