On March 30, Governor Jay Inslee signed a docket of bills, among them a law that enabled birth doulas in Washington to establish their work as experts. According to South Seattle Emerald, birth doulas will work based on a voluntary competency-based certification, creating access for refunds under Medicaid. The certification process under ESHB 1881 will make birth doulas eligible for Medicaid reimbursement and improve their capacity to offer services to patients on the program, including over 50% of births in Washington.
According to Surge, the bill was created to make doula services accessible to members of society that need birth doulas the most, especially those who can’t afford a birth doula. While birth doulas don’t offer medical care, the continuous support they provide to birthing persons throughout pregnancy, labor, and birth improves postnatal care, especially in low-income communities. A review by WHO’s Department of Reproductive Health and Research found that support by birth doulas eliminates the need for intervention during child delivery, reduces the risk of common birth injury in infants, and results in reduced postnatal trauma. Read on to learn more about maternal health and ways the government can improve it.
Enhance Access To Reproductive Health Care Through Telemedicine
There have been exciting advances in medicine over the last decade, but approximately 20% of the population in America has limited or zero access to primary health care services because of physician shortages. These statistics highlight the importance of adopting telemedicine in maternal care to increase access to reproductive health care services. Telemedicine is an innovative way of providing healthcare information and services remotely via telecommunication technologies like instant messaging and video calls. By increasing patient care via an internet connection, with fewer logistics obstacles, telemedicine can promote better health outcomes and quality of maternal care before, during, and after childbirth.
Many healthcare providers use telemedicine for the case management of high-risk pregnancies. Doing so helps prevent the risk of obstetrical complications, thus increasing the chances for women to have safe childbirth in local hospitals. Medical professionals are also maximizing the potential of this modern technology for low-risk pregnancies. Through virtual-at-home visits, prenatal medical experts can guide women on how to monitor their blood pressure and fetal heart rate using at-home supplies. These advanced techniques provide similar results to conventional prenatal care, saving women, especially those in low-income and rural settings, a significant amount of time and money.
Implement Targeted Policies And Legislation To Discourage Disparities
Every year, about 700 women die in the US because of pregnancy-related problems. However, the rate of maternal mortality is higher among African American women, Hispanic, American Indians,s and Alaska Natives (AIAN) than white women. Racial discrimination and systematic disenfranchisement are key factors contributing to health disparities among pregnant women in Washington and other states in the US.
Racial disparities in pregnancy health-related issues, like anemia, diabetes, hypertension, and cancer, exist and are aggravated by stress linked to racial discrimination and limited access to adequate healthcare. Some states, like New York and Nevada, have taken strides to reduce racial disparities affecting maternal health care. Eliminating racial disparities in maternal care is possible if government authorities increase access to health insurance for racial and ethnic groups, provide adequate access to healthcare facilities, services, and maternity wards, and improve training among healthcare workers. In most cases where women experience pregnancy-related complications or die, healthcare providers lack proper training to attend to the needs of African American, Hispanic, and AIAN women.
Improve Access To Quality Health Services
Women require specialized health care because compared to men, they are more prone to chronic disorders like anxiety, depression, diabetes, and hypertension. Additionally, there are diseases specific to females, such as cervical cancer, breast cancer, and vertigo. Women diagnosed with any of these conditions are more likely to experience high-risk pregnancies. Because of this, expectant women should have access to hospitals with adequate supplies and skilled doctors and nurses.
Providing access to quality healthcare services helps reduce the maternal mortality rate significantly. For example, ensuring all healthcare facilities have skilled professionals trained to attend childbirth is an important step to prevent birth injuries like spinal cord injury, brachial plexus, paralysis, and cerebral palsy. Coping with these injuries is stressful for any mother, making the postnatal journey traumatic. Besides dealing with expensive medical care, parents must file a medical practice claim to hold the doctors and other medical staff accountable for their negligent acts that led to birth injuries.
Mothers are responsible for the well-being of their children, meaning it’s your duty to ensure they stay healthy. So, in a situation where your child is diagnosed with cerebral palsy that occurred due to negligence on the doctor’s part, you’ll need to look for experienced cerebral palsy lawyers such as JJS Justice. That way, you can increase the chances of protecting the legal rights of your child. Working with legal experts in a medical malpractice claim is a sure way of ensuring your child receives fair compensation for long-term care, occupational therapy, assistive technological equipment, and other medical treatment expenses.
Empower Women Through Reproductive Health Education
Making healthcare information easily accessible to women is key to achieving safe motherhood. Therefore, states should provide detailed information about reproductive health and contraceptive services to all women, regardless of race or ethnic group. Educating women, specifically those in rural and low-income regions, is one of the most effective ways of reducing early marriage and unwanted pregnancies. As a result, young girls and women can prepare themselves psychologically, physically, and financially to become healthy and responsible mothers.
When women are empowered through health education, they become more aware of their sexual reproductive health rights and focus on claiming them. This step entails paying more attention to their health and seeking assistance when they are sick, as well as getting vaccinated throughout their pregnancy term and after giving birth. Empowered women also have the potential to advocate against gender inequity and cultural practices that affect their overall health.
Mothers are the cornerstone of the good health of children, spouses, and the entire community. Unfortunately, maternal health has always been overlooked, resulting in a high mortality rate among women and children. The good news is that governments and health organizations can improve maternal health by making healthcare easily accessible, providing access to sexual and reproductive health information, and eliminating racial discrimination in healthcare services.