Comment Now: Support the WIC Food Changes!


Latino mother & daughter grocery shopping.

You can comment now on the USDA’s new proposed revisions to the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) food packages that aim to improve nutrition and promote and support breastfeeding. Proposed changes, based on scientific recommendations from a 2017 report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, include: Enhanced buying power for fruits, vegetables. Increased foods consumed less in adequacy, amount. More options for cultural eating patterns. Ability to get the quantity of formula to support any level of breastfeeding. Requiring all breakfast cereals to meet the whole grain-rich standards that already apply to school nutrition programs and the Child and Adult Care Food Program. USDA is seeking ...

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Report: Maternal Healthcare Runs Dry in Maternity Care Deserts


maternity care desert

Maternity care deserts make up 36% of all US counties, according a 2022 March of Dimes report. These maternity care deserts contribute to the US having the highest maternal mortality rate among developed countries, as they make it significantly harder for women to get the care they need. Let’s explore how maternity care deserts affect women’s health, especially for Latinas, who already face inequities that limit healthcare access. Defining Access to Maternity Care The March of Dimes report defines a maternity care desert as any county without a hospital or birth cen­ter offering obstetric (OB) care and without any OB providers, such as obstetrician/gynecol­ogists and certified nurse midwives/certified midwives. Report’s Key Findings on Maternity Care Deserts As mentioned ...

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CDC: Majority of US Pregnancy-Related Deaths Are Preventable


preventable pregnancy death

The US has the highest maternal mortality rate among developed countries, and 84% of those pregnancy-related deaths are preventable, according to a new report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). These shocking statistics can be difficult to digest, especially since the US spends more on healthcare per capita than other industrialized nations. What is causing these preventable deaths? And how are Latinas impacted? Let’s unpack the report’s findings and implications. What is a Preventable Pregnancy-Related Death? A pregnancy-related death is a fatality that occurs during pregnancy, delivery, and up to a year postpartum due to a pregnancy complication, a chain of events initiated by pregnancy, or the aggravation of an unrelated condition caused by the ...

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New Study Sheds Light on Maternal Health Issues and Need for Diversity Among Nurses


Nurse diversity

Nurses are lifelines for mothers-to-be, helping recognize complications early during labor and delivery. Maternal health for Latinas could improve even further with a more diverse nurse workforce, according to a new study in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology. Researchers found that Latinas who gave birth in states with the highest proportion of minority nurses experienced a 31% reduced risk of severe adverse maternal health outcomes, including eclampsia, blood transfusion, hysterectomy, or intensive care unit admission. Why might this be? Researchers believe that if the nurse workforce more closely resembled the diversity of patients, there could be a reduction in provider implicit bias, or subconscious preferences for white patients over those of color. “A ...

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Study: COVID-19 Raises Maternal Mortality in Latinas


maternal mortality

Prior to the pandemic (2007-2016), Latinas had a comparable maternal mortality rate to White women, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. However, a new analysis from the University of Maryland and Boston University suggests that Latinas now bear a higher maternal mortality rate compared to white women, a trend not seen in over a decade. The Latina maternal mortality rate rose an alarming 74.2% from 2018-March 2020, when the pandemic began, to April-December 2020, according to the study, published in JAMA Network Open. In comparison, White women’s maternal mortality rate rose just 17.2% during the same time. “For the first time in more than a decade, the maternal mortality rate for Hispanic women during the pandemic was higher than that for non-Hispanic white women, a ...

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Study Suggests Risk for Miscarriage is Higher During Summer


latina mother in hot temperature

You’re not imagining it – it is very hot out there. Heat waves swept the nation beginning in early June 2022, putting more than 50 million people under excessive heat warnings and breaking or tying record-high temperatures in more than 25 major cities, according to NPR. For pregnant women, these severely hot temperatures could increase the risk of miscarriage, according to a new study at the Boston University School of Public Health (BUSPH). Researchers found that pregnant people in North America had a 44% higher risk of an early miscarriage (within eight weeks of pregnancy) in the summer months, particularly in late August compared to February. This trend was similar during any week of pregnancy, where risk of miscarriage was 31% higher in late August compared to ...

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Unaffordable Childcare Hurts Latinas, Hinders Prosperity


Childcare

The cost of childcare in the US has skyrocketed – up to 46% – since 2018, and the COVID-19 pandemic is to blame. At the same time, Americans are also struggling to afford baby formula, menstrual hygiene products, gas, and groceries. Women, especially low-income women, are most affected by rising childcare costs. Women of nearly all races and ethnicities experience higher rates of poverty than men, with the highest rates among minority women, such as Latinas, according to the Center for American Progress. While Latinas represent 18.1% of all women in the US population, they constitute 27.1% of women in poverty. What Does Rising Childcare Costs Mean for Latinas? The cost of childcare, which is rising in nearly all states due to pandemic worker shortages and childcare ...

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Latinas, Take Control of your Prenatal Health


COVID-19 Pregnancy latina prenatal health

Sascha Ellington, PhD Epidemiologist, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) CDC is encouraging people who are pregnant, trying to get pregnant now, or may become pregnant in the future to stay up to date on COVID-19 vaccinations. Latinas have been disproportionately affected by COVID-19 with the second-highest rate of cases reaching over 65,000. Learn how COVID-19 vaccinations can provide additional peace of mind for you and your family during pregnancy. Navigating COVID-19 and Pregnancy Did you know people who are pregnant or were recently pregnant are more likely to get very sick from COVID-19 than people who are not pregnant? If you become sick with COVID-19 during pregnancy, you are more likely to experience preterm birth and stillbirth and might be at ...

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Baby Formula Shortage Highlights Health Inequities for Mothers of Color


Embarrassed to breastfeed shortage latina mothers

Parents of babies across the US are struggling to feed their children due to a baby-formula shortage. The pain of the shortage is particularly felt among low-income families, such as Blacks and Latinos, who already suffer inequities in maternal and child health. The shortage began during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, when America seemingly ran out of everything – from toilet paper to fresh produce. In late February 2022, a baby formula recall, which caused two infant deaths, worsened the shortage. In many states, including Texas and Tennessee, where infants depend on formula for more than half of their diet, formula is sold out in stores. For parents such as Yury Navas, an immigrant Latina mother in Maryland, providing formula for her child is especially ...

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