Gillibrand, pointing to dismal U.S. maternal mortality rates, calls for more funding

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. – We live in a country that has the highest rate of maternal mortality in the developed world.

Black women in particular are three times more likely to die from pregnancy than white women.

This isn’t just a national issue.

Studies show that Monroe County’s maternal mortality rate is 56 percent higher than the New York state average.

This crisis of mothers dying during or soon after the birthing process is nothing new for our country, or for Black mothers.

Dr. Karina Vattana, who medical director of Pathway Pediatrics at Trillium Health, blames this on a lack of resources. She says that due to the disproportionate number of Black people struggling in poverty, they sometimes have to choose between work or going to their prenatal visits.

That’s why Trillium Health tries to help patients with barriers like transportation and insurance when preventative care can’t be a priority.

Dr. Vattana has seen this problem firsthand after watching a mother die shortly after giving birth.

“This woman had had a blood clot. So she had a blood clot that caused her to stop breathing very shortly after childbirth. And it’s always a moment where everyone stops and pauses. And we have to remember that there is so much work that needs to be done,” she said.

Advocates say more needs to be done to improve a mother’s odds. U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-NY is trying to get $180 million in funding for maternal care.

“More people in the United States die from pregnancy-related complications than in any of our peer countries – this is outrageous and downright shameful. We must do more to support and listen to women and pregnant people at every step of their maternal health journey,” Gillibrand said.

She is also working to pass the “Moms Matter Act.” This would establish two grant programs to support moms with maternal mental health conditions or substance use disorders by investing in community based programs.