Every mother and newborn child should receive the support they need to thrive — regardless of race, color, creed, or economic status.
The Jennifer Bush-Lawson Foundation was formed out of a desire to support the most vulnerable in our midst: women and infant children who lack access to critical pre- and post-natal healthcare, and other essential resources that permit for a healthy life.
The first trimester can be a critical time for doctors to catch chronic health conditions of the mother that could affect the health of both mom and baby. Yet, Arlington lags horribly behind the state average when it comes to access in the first trimester – at a failing rate of just 61%. While neighboring counties, such as Fairfax and Loudoun, beat the stat average of 78%.
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, infants born to mothers who don’t receive prenatal care are “three times more likely to have a low birth weight and five times more likely to die than those born to mothers who do get care.”
In the second and third trimesters, too many disadvantaged and economically vulnerable moms face obstacles to prenatal care such as lack of paid leave or flexibility with work, childcare concerns, distance to care or transportation costs. When that care is received, it may not be culturally competent or free of bias.
Finally, The CDC has observed the impact of these structural and institutional problems in pregnancy-related deaths. Data shows that black mothers suffer worse than any other group. And the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists has noted that “significant racial and ethnic disparities persist in women’s health and health care,” despite the fact that demographic projections suggest people of color will constitute a majority of the U.S. population in the next generation.
These are among the clinical and social determinants that have led to ever-increasing rates of maternal mortality, as well as maternal near-miss events, in the U.S. — the highest in the developed world. Shockingly, Washington, DC’s maternal mortality rate is nearly double that of the U.S.
We’re working to make lasting change through partnerships and collaborations with health providers in the community, education, research, and events.