American mothers were dying at the highest rate in the developed world long before the COVID-19 pandemic began. In its wake, pregnant, birthing, and postpartum families navigate the ongoing effects of financial instability, social isolation, political unrest, childcare closings, and health outages. The burden has been relentless, especially for families living in urban areas like New Haven.
Chronic stress from poverty, racism and marginalization contributes to many maternal and infant health problems, leading to medical emergencies at birth and even death. Addressing maternal and child health crises is more important than ever. So, for many dedicated health professionals and advocates in New Haven, the recent and sudden closing of the Maternal Child Health Division of the city’s health department came as a total shock.