maternal health

On a melancholy Saturday this past February, Shalon Irving's "village" — the friends and family she had assembled to support her as a single mother — gathered at a funeral home in a prosperous black neighborhood in southwest Atlanta to say goodbye.

In 2011, Maureen Sweeney was working as a registered nurse in labor and delivery at a Cleveland-area hospital. She helped hundreds of women, many minors in their early teens, deliver their children.


Doctors, Researchers And Parents At Odds Over ‘Safe’ Sleep

Nov 14, 2017
Barbara Brosher / WTIU News

The Indiana Department of Child Services says asphyxiation was the leading cause of child neglect deaths in fiscal year 2015. And, according to DCS data, nearly a quarter of those incidents were the result of parents failing to provide safe sleeping environments.

Cultural, Economic, Historical Factors Drive Black Breast-Feeding Gap

Sep 7, 2017
Sarah Fentem / Side Effects Public Media

Tahwii Spicer gave birth to her son Reece almost two years ago at home with the help of a midwife. She said almost as soon as he was born, he "army-crawled" up her body to start feeding.

“He was so ravenous!” she said. “He was hungry.


What Can Britain Teach Americans About How To Keep Pregnant Women Safe?

Sep 1, 2017
Federica Bordoni / ProPublica

This story was co-published with NPR.

At 11:58 p.m. this past June 25, Helen Taylor gave birth to her first baby, a boy, at West Suffolk Hospital in the east of England. At 11:59 p.m., with 15 seconds to spare before midnight, his sister was born. The obstetrician and her team were pleased; the cesarean section was going smoothly, fulfilling Helen’s wish that her twins share a birthday.

Allison Greene / Indiana Womens' Prison

A pregnant woman in prison typically has 48 hours with her baby after it’s born before it’s taken away: an intensely painful experience for the mother and child alike that additionally has the potential to damage the baby’s development. 


Emily Foreman / Side Effects Public Media

Pregnant women with opioid addiction often face obstacles in managing their treatment, including finding a doctor and battling with insurance paperwork. At a vulnerable time, they often stumble and relapse because of these problems.

While treatment for the disease is relatively straightforward, the communication between insurers and providers can be riddled with clerical errors and prone to delays.

32 Churches, No Methadone Clinic: Trying To Heal In A 'Treatment Desert'

Aug 14, 2017
Brian Rinker / Kaiser Health News

Heather Menzel squirmed in her seat, unable to sleep on the Greyhound bus as it rolled through the early morning darkness toward Bakersfield, in California’s Central Valley. She’d been trapped in transit for three miserable days, stewing in a horrific sickness only a heroin addict can understand. Again, and again, she stumbled down the aisle to the bathroom to vomit.

Esparta Palmer

Every other week Cassidy Linnemeier carpools with a friend to their OB-GYN in Indianapolis from Seymour Indiana, where they live. The drive is about an hour and 20 minutes with traffic.

They drive this far because they can’t find a doctor nearby who will prescribe the addiction medicine they need to keep them healthy during pregnancy — and who also takes their insurance, a Medicaid plan.


Emily Forman / Side Effects Public Media

Nurse Catherine “Bizz” Grimes moves like her name sounds: at a frenetic pace. She darts across the hall from the prenatal diagnosis clinic at Indiana University Health University Hospital in Indianapolis, sits down at her cubicle, puts on her headset over curly white blonde hair and starts dialing.

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