Birthing a conference: A celebration of Black kin

Des Moines-based holistic doula and lactation counselor Olivia Samples first published this post on Kismet Doula Services’ blog. -promoted by Laura Belin

Last year I attended two conferences centered around Black Maternal Health. After the first one I attended, I had a dance party in my room to the playlist they sent us. The discussion, resources, and connection I got from this event totally filled my cup; left me energized and ready for more.

A few weeks later, during the second conference, I felt the anger rising from my gut into my face. I cried and stepped away after hearing so many statistics of the disparities for Black birthing people in Iowa. I learned a lot from other sessions throughout the conference, but at the end of the day, I closed my laptop, journaled, and took a nap.

Something that sticks out from the entry that day:

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Iowa needs more midwives to save lives

Rachel Bruns continues a series of posts addressing the quality of maternal health care in Iowa. -promoted by Laura Belin

This article is all about midwives. I will be using this space to expand on four different needs in our state to improve the access and quality of maternal-child health care in Iowa. All of them are interrelated. If Iowa accomplishes these four things, we will see an improvement in maternal-child health outcomes across all races, accessibility of care options in all geographies, and an overall increase in quality and satisfaction from patients. 

The four areas I will address are:

  • The need to diversify our workforce and address birth equity (this is connected to the next 2 items)
  • The need to license Certified Professional Midwives (CPMs)
  • The need to expand access to Certified Nurse Midwives (CNMs).
  • The need to expand access to birth centers.
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    Maternal health in Iowa: You don't know what you don't know

    Rachel Bruns is a volunteer advocate for quality maternal health care in Iowa. -promoted by Laura Belin

    As I plan to write several posts in the coming weeks related to maternal-child health in Iowa, I want to introduce myself to Bleeding Heartland readers. For this piece, I’m going to provide some high-level information on the landscape around maternal health in Iowa from my perspective as a maternal-child health advocate.

    But first, some background on myself and how I became involved in this work.

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    The unchanging red light

    Ira Lacher: “Drastic measures” to address novel coronavirus “need to be carefully weighed for their presumed benefits vs. their unintended consequences.” -promoted by Laura Belin

    We’ve been hearing a lot lately about “flattening the curve” as it pertains to dealing with COVID-19. The premise is to keep down the number of patients needing hospitalization because America lacks the beds to treat them.

    Health experts agree that doing so can reduce the number of severe cases. “If you don’t have as many cases coming to the hospitals and clinics at once, it can actually lower the number of total deaths from the virus and from other causes,” says Dr. Howard Markel of the University of Michigan, who has studied epidemics. “And, importantly, it buys us time for university and government scientists, and industry, to create new therapies, medications and potentially a vaccine.”

    But it can also mean extending the disruption of virtually everyone’s life. And that’s not going so well with one of my neighbors.

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    Steve King votes against coronavirus response bill (updated)

    The U.S. House has fast-tracked a bill responding to the economic challenges created by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. All 223 Democrats present–including Iowa’s Representatives Abby Finkenauer (IA-01), Dave Loebsack (IA-02), and Cindy Axne (IA-03)–voted for the bill shortly before 1:00 am on March 14, joined by 140 Republicans (roll call). U.S. Representative Steve King (IA-04) was one of 40 House Republicans to vote no.

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