So what is wrong with Mississippi? Why are we last, or nearly last, in both Maternal and Infant mortality? While this is an awful statistic, realistically we are not at all far behind many other states. That definitely doesn’t help, but it puts this in perspective. Knowing that the stats across the US in general are pretty bad, what or who do we look to if we are going to be not only better, but a leader in healthy, safe mamas and babies? Where do we find examples?
First let’s take a hard look at Mississippi statistics. According to the Ms State Department of Health, the overall Infant mortality rate reported in 2018 was 8.8, with a target rate of 6.0 in 2020. While White Infant mortality has decreased slightly, Black babies actually are dying at an INCREASED rate. Some counties are as high as 23 deaths per thousand births.
Maternal mortality is around 20 per 100,000, compared to the national average of 18 per 100,000. So why are our mamas and babies dying? Is there someone or something to blame? First is nutrition. If you are not eating a high quality diet, and cannot access a high quality diet, you cannot have a high quality pregnancy. Your placenta, increased blood volume, and many other things are dependent on what you put in your mouth. In our prenatal sessions we will discuss what it means to have a good quality pregnancy diet, and how to eat great on a budget.
Second would be high quality prenatal care. Who is your doctor? Are you investigating home birth? What does your caregiver cover in a prenatal visit and are they willing to answer your questions as they arise? In my area and many others across Mississippi we are facing a huge prenatal care problem. Many women live an hour or more from their primary caregiver and even high risk women are missing appointments because they are not able to get to their doctor. High insurance rates for hospitals are forcing local rural hospitals to get out of the baby business altogether. We have lost 30+ years of progress. Doctors that do see pregnant women out in the counties are not able to provide continuity of care, as the mother must still travel-in labor-to a larger city to have her baby. Often she has not met the doctor who delivers her baby.
This is where it pays to hire a Monitrice. As a skilled provider I will be there from the first phone call until six weeks postpartum. I am an apprentice/assistant to a wonderful midwife so most of my births are out of hospital. I enjoy helping mamas figure out what works best for them, so I do take hospital clients in between my obligations to my preceptor. It has been well studied that having a skilled birth attendant who is answerable to YOU, with your cares and concerns in mind, improves birth greatly, with fewer complications. This includes episiotomy, c-section and assisted births. Because I am trained to teach neonatal resuscitation, I am fanatical about keeping the cord intact as long as possible. I know how this helps make a potentially scary situation not quite as dramatic.
Relaxation exercises, nutrition discussions about your diet diary, using oils such as Myrhh , Lavender and Cypress at your birth, all of this factors in to a happy, healthy, safe pregnancy and birth. I look forward to getting to know you as you prepare for the most exciting part of your life! We will look to God for guidance and examples, we will explore birth in the countries that seem to have it right, and we will support each other as we navigate birth and beyond.