Monday, October 19, 2009

Ensure Maternal Health in Reform Package

By Cathy Raphael

As a midwife in Pittsburgh’s Jewish community during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, my great-great-grandmother Hannah Sandusky brought many healthy children into the world despite the high maternal and infant mortality rates of the time.

I can’t help but wonder what “Bubbe” Hannah – as she was known to all – would make of the fact that today, some 150 years later, the U.S. ranks 42nd globally in maternal mortality rates, the highest among industrialized countries. Maternal mortality is a key indicator of health worldwide and reflects the ability of women to secure not only pregnancy-related services but also other health care services.

What Bubbe Hannah no doubt knew in 1909 surely remains true in 2009: healthy women have healthy babies.

The pending reform of the American health care system recognizes this simple equation, creating -- for the first time ever -- a seamless, lifelong continuum of care for women.

Click here to read the full Op-ed