MOMS for the 21st Century: Proposed bill to improve maternal & infant care
Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA) has introduced maternity care reform legislation aimed at improving the maternal and infant care provided in the U.S.
Recognizing the rise in infant and maternal mortality in the U.S. while costs for pregnancy and childbirth related care continue to soar, Representative Roybal-Allard, a long time advocate for women and children, has brought a comprehensive reform bill to the floor.
The World Health Organization (WHO) ranks the U.S. 33rd out of 33 industrialized nations in maternal fatalities per year. Our infant mortality also puts us at a ranking well below our international counter parts, which would undoubtedly shock the vast majority of Americans.
Amnesty International released an extensive report on the rise in cesarean sections in the U.S. and the disparities in quality and access to care in minority communities earlier this year entitled Deadly Deliveries. Roybal-Allard points to several of the issues risen in this report in her press release issued on the reasons behind the bill, including racial disparities, the lack of evidenced-based care, and restricted access to prenatal programs that have been proven beneficial in improving overall maternal and fetal health.
The fact is we have a maternity care system in the United States that has not traditionally adhered to evidenced-based practices. For example, there is widespread over use in our country of maternity practices, such as elective Cesarean sections and scheduled inductions. These procedures are beneficial and needed only in limited situations. When used routinely and indiscriminately and without medical necessity, these and other practices expose women and infants to unnecessary risks at high cost. –Roybal-Allard July, 2010
One major area of the proposed bill calls for greater media coverage of evidence-based care as well as educational initatives to support these endevours. With the rising cesarean rate–it topped 32% this year and has continued to increase every year since the early 70’s–and the percentage of medically induced labors reaching nearly 50% in many hospitals nation-wide, it is clear there needs to be immediate and significant actions to improve outcomes before things get worse.
[C]redible science-based research tells us non-invasive maternity practices such as prenatal smoking cessation programs and centering of pregnancy group prenatal care, produce considerable improvement in maternity outcomes, such as healthier moms and babies. Yet these cost-effective evidence-based practices, which have no detrimental side effects, are significantly underused in our country. –Roybal-Allard July, 2010
During her time in Congress, Roybal-Allard has sponsored bills pushing for wider use of infant screening, education initatives to reduce teen pregnancies in minority communitites, and the increase in coverage for preventative health measures. She has been honored by the March of Dimes Foundation and the Association of Maternal and Child Health Programs.
July 30, 3:26 PMSeattle Women’s Issues ExaminerEmily Flynn