May 2021 Special Edition
Celebrating and Uplifting Voices in Maternal Health
This May, MHLIC recognizes and celebrates the journeys and experiences of birthing people, healthcare providers who serve them, and all public health professionals working in communities everyday to ensure the conditions that help keep birthing people healthy.

As we continue to shine a light on maternal health and how to improve maternal health outcomes by providing trainings and learning opportunities to incorporate innovative best practices, it is important that we all also remember the blood, sweat, and tears that go into each birthing journey from everyone's perspective.

We see you and appreciate you.
Upcoming Observances & Events
National Maternal Mental Health Awareness Week is May 3-7

This May, in solidarity with TheBlueDotProject, MHLIC is participating in Maternal Mental Health Awareness month and Maternal Mental Health Awareness Week the first week of May.

Each year, TheBlueDotProject hosts a social media awareness campaign during Maternal Mental Health Awareness week, which surrounds World Maternal Mental Health Day.

They invite birthing people to participate in a 5-day challenge called, "Making Over Motherhood" by posting pictures of their experiences using #realmotherhood and putting the behind the scenes of parenthood in the spotlight. If your organization is participating, be sure to use #MMHWeek2021. Click here to learn more.
National Women's Health Week is
May 9-15

National Women’s Health Week (NWHW) is a week-long health observance led by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office on Women’s Health (OWH). The week, May 9-15, 2021, serves as a reminder for women and girls, especially during the outbreak of COVID-19, to make their health a priority and take care of themselves.

Topics such as hypertension, diabetes, obesity, and cardiovascular and respiratory conditions are covered in targeted messaging to women and girls, encouraging them to take care of their health now. Click here to learn more about the observance and check often for updates.
HRSA Maternal Health Twitter Chat May 12
MHLIC is participating in a Twitter chat with Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) and Maternal and Child Health Bureau (MCHB) on May 12 at 1:00 pm.

The chat will focus on women's health, maternal health, and maternal mental health equity.

Use #HRSAWomensChat when you participate. If your organization is interested in collaborating, email
Perinatal Psychiatry: In-Depth Modules for Enhanced Approaches
Available May 3 - June 10, this course will focus on the diagnosis and treatment of psychiatric disorders in women across pregnancy and postpartum.

Material will be presented regarding specialized psychotherapies as well as an overview of embryology and obstetrics informing a broad range of care modalities. Learning in this course will be facilitated by didactic materials delivered by the faculty from the MGH Center for Women’s Mental Health. Continuing education credits available. Register here.
Baby Dove Hosts #CheckInOnAMom Campaign

Throughout the month of May, Baby Dove is asking everyone to #CheckInOnAMom and help them spread the word and show their support to ensure every mom knows she’s never alone.

They created a GIPHY sticker (pictured) on Instagram that can be applied when posting in Stories.

Additional May Observances
Mark your calendars for additional upcoming health observations and holidays!

- May 6 - 12 is National Nurses Week
- May 9 - Mother's Day
- May 12 - International Nurses Day
Maternal Health Articles and Stories
How Community-Based Doulas Can Help Address the Black Maternal Mortality Crisis
Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) recently published an article describing the role that doulas play in helping improve maternal health.

Through their Better Maternal Outcomes Project, IHI is engaging four communities around the US in an initiative called Redesigning Systems with Black Women. The initiative addresses inequities in maternal outcomes. By facilitating locally driven, co-designed, rapid improvements focused on ensuring equity, dignity, and safety, the communities have identified and tested practices to reduce the inequities in birth experience and outcomes for Black women. Continue reading.
Healthcare Professionals Issue Call to Action for Respectful Maternity Care
Health Affairs recently published a declaration for healthcare professionals to shift the framework of medical education toward an anti-racism framework.

"Respectful maternity care is a call to action to address the socialization of medical professionals, the environment of practice, and institutional accountability. Respectful maternity care alone cannot solve the inequities in birth outcomes that result from centuries of structural inequality, obstetric violence, and medical racism."

The authors explain that the institution of health care has created barriers by "viewing themselves as the most valuable players, resulting in provider opinion overshadowing the needs, opinions, and values of patients." Read the full article here.
Black Mamas Claiming Power, Resilience, and Liberation
In April, MHLIC participated as learners in Black Maternal Health Week (BMHW), learning from and centering the experiences, creativity, and beauty of black mothers and birthing people. We encourage you to watch / re-watch all that was shared to continue to build your own understanding. We want to honor that many of the resources we are pointing you to were generated by organizations who are part of the Black Mamas Matter Alliance as well as many other groups led by women of color. Links and resources are available to make it easy for you to connect.
Change Long Overdue in Black Maternal Health
MHLIC Communications Manager, Kelli Sheppard, recently contributed to our partner's Mama Stories Blog at 4th Trimester Project.

She wrote, "When I was pregnant with my first daughter, I was on North Carolina Pregnancy Medicaid. My choices were limited in my area, but I managed to have my prenatal appointments with a midwife associated with the local university. I would find out later in my pregnancy that if I went into labor on the weekend or after 5 pm, a set of students would deliver my baby and if I went into labor during the week from 9 am to 5 pm a midwife would help me deliver. I went into labor at 2 am on a Saturday morning. The events that followed left me feeling unheard and disregarded by nurses and the student doctor who delivered my baby." Read the full story.
From the MHLIC Team to Yours: We are Here to Support You!
This project is supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) under grant number U7CMC33636-01 for the National Maternal Health Learning and Innovation Center Cooperative Agreement. This information or content and conclusions are those of the author and should not be construed as the official position or policy of, nor should any endorsements be inferred by HRSA, HHS, or the U.S. Government.