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Report: Expectant mothers need equitable access to prenatal care in Jefferson County

Adria Johnson, president and CEO of Metro United Way, said for children to grow into successful adults, they need a supportive early foundation.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — A new report shows expectant Black mothers, immigrant mothers, refugee mothers and those who have experienced substance use disorder, need equitable access to prenatal care in Jefferson County. 

Ready for K Alliance, the Louisville Metro Department of Public Health & Wellness (LMPHW) and Metro United Way sponsored the report. The James Graham Brown Foundation – Louisville provided additional support according to a press release.

“Prenatal care is vital for preventing adverse birth outcomes, like low birth weight,” said T Gonzales, director of the Center for Health Equity at LMPHW. “The goal of this report is to inform local and state policymakers, along with healthcare entities, of ways they can help provide greater access to culturally competent prenatal care for all Jefferson County residents.”

 The findings suggest making these changes for more equitable care:

  • Making sure parents feel heard
  • Increase access to caseworkers, doulas and other advocates
  • Provide opportunities in group settings to create a support network
  • Increase the presence of Black women and midwives in obstetrics settings
  • Provide options for births outside the hospital and support after delivery

Adria Johnson, president and CEO of Metro United Way, said for children to grow into successful adults, they need a supportive early foundation that includes quality prenatal care.

"The findings in this report will help us create next steps and solutions to ensure all parents in our community have the resources they need to ensure a lifetime of social, emotional, physical and intellectual growth for their children," said Johnson.

Those parents who participated in the study said that while "pregnancy and birth were life-changing" they highlighted issues like navigating the healthcare system, communication barriers and racism from medical providers the release said.

Read the full report here.

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