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 are navigating the ongoing consequences of financial instability, social isolation, political unrest, child care closures, and health scare spikes. The burden has been relentless, particularly for families living in urban areas like New Haven.
Chronic stress from poverty, racism and marginalization contribute to many maternal and infant health problems, leading to medical emergencies at the time of 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 complete shock.