A new educational resource sponsored by CVS Health and the CVS Health Foundation and produced in partnership with Every Mother Counts provides an innovative set of tools to empower people on their pregnancy journeys and address maternity disparities. The Choices in Childbirth video series features real and relatable conversations among obstetricians, doulas, educators, midwives and expecting mothers about what good maternal care looks like, helping pregnant people find their voice and be more effective advocates for themselves and their babies.
The debut of Choices in Childbirth is particularly timely as the U.S. continues to experience the highest maternal mortality rate among developed countries. Approximately 700 women die from pregnancy-related complications each year in the U.S.https://www.cdc.gov/reproductivehealth/maternalinfanthealth/pregnancy-relatedmortality.htm About 60,000 women experience severe maternal morbidityhttps://www.commonwealthfund.org/publications/issue-briefs/2021/oct/severe-maternal-morbidity-united-states-primer#:~:text=While%20maternal%20deaths%20in%20the,maternal%20morbidity%20can%20be%20avoided., unexpected outcomes of labor and delivery that result in significant short-or long-term impacts on the pregnant person’s health.
Worse, 60 percent of the pregnancy-related deaths are likely preventablehttps://www.commonwealthfund.org/publications/issue-briefs/2020/nov/maternal-mortality-maternity-care-us-compared-10-countries. And poor birth outcomes are amplified in communities of color, with rates of severe maternal morbidity and mortality among Black women two to three times higher than that of white women.https://www.urban.org/sites/default/files/publication/103314/the-pandemic-has-increased-demand-for-data-and-accountability-to-decrease-maternal-health-inequity.pdf
The unscripted conversations in Choices in Childbirth unflinchingly explore the contributing factors behind racial disparities in pregnancy as people of color discuss situations throughout their pregnancy journeys in which they felt ignored, dismissed or intimidated. The videos also cover topics like informed decision making and how people can understand and exert their rights in the birthing process, the importance of good mental health, how to navigate prenatal and postpartum care, and the roles of different providers in the pregnancy journey.
“Choices in Childbirth is an exciting opportunity for Every Mother Counts to channel our long-held view that storytelling is a powerful strategy to engage people in becoming active participants in their own maternity care journey. Everyone deserves access to the maternity care options that are right for them, and every person should have a safe, equitable, and respectful birth experience. This series brings accessible, engaging information and tools to pregnant people and parents across the country,” said Christy Turlington Burns, global maternal health advocate and founder of Every Mother Counts. “With CVS Health’s partnership, I am thrilled to see the voices featured in this series reach new audiences and educate more people than ever before.”
The series reflects CVS Health’s ongoing commitment to reduce maternal mortality and severe maternal morbidity in diverse populations, said Joanne Armstrong, M.D., M.P.H., Vice President and Chief Medical Officer for Women’s Health and Genomics, CVS Health.
“Studies show that childbirth support can help moms-to-be to feel more in control of their experience, decrease pain medications and medical interventions, and have greater satisfaction with their pregnancy and childbirth experience,” she said. “We believe this powerful library of free, trustworthy and accessible videos and downloadable resources will help birthing people to better understand how to safely navigate pregnancy, birth and postpartum care.”
CVS Health’s preeclampsia prevention initiatives; work to help close COVID-19, seasonal flu and Tdap vaccine gaps for pregnant people; and provision of women’s health services and contraception access in CVS MinuteClinic and CVS Pharmacy locations are key areas of focus for women’s health this year, Dr. Armstrong added.
CVS Health’s collaboration with Every Mother Counts was highlighted for its innovative approach during the Biden-Harris Maternal Health Call to Action Day in December 2021. The CVS Health Foundation has committed to addressing maternal health disparities with a $1.74 million investment in a number of initiatives, including Choices in Childbirth, a learning collaboration by America’s Essential Hospitals to reduce morbidity and mortality for women, and a preeclampsia prevention initiative with the National Association of Free & Charitable Clinics.
Explore resources and supplemental materials provided by Choices in Childbirth that can be downloaded, printed and shared.