NEW YORK, May 2, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — MetroPlusHealth today announced that 70 percent of women say they wish they had known more about postpartum mental health before giving birth, according to its 2023 Mother’s EveryDay Survey. Black and brown women had even higher percentages: 81 percent of Black women and 76 percent of Hispanic women, respectively, reported they too would have liked to learn more about the issue before having children. MetroPlusHealth conducted the survey ahead of Women’s Health Care Month and Mother’s Day to better understand the challenges and disparities in care outcomes patients face when accessing maternal health care. The questionnaire was done on March 24 – 28, 2023 among 1,007 adults 18 years of age or older among a demographically representative U.S. sample, and 503 NYC residents in the same age group.
The findings also reveal a stark gap in public awareness of the racial disparities involved in prenatal, labor and delivery, and postpartum care. According to the survey, 50 percent of respondents incorrectly believe that Black and white birthing people have the same maternal mortality rate. In fact, Black patients are three times more likely than their white counterparts to die from a pregnancy-related complication, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In New York City, it’s even higher – at nine times the rate.
“There are clear racial disparities in maternal health, but many Americans are unaware of these disparities.” said MetroPlusHealth President and CEO Talya Schwartz, MD. “At MetroPlusHealth, we are focused on offering high-quality care to our members, while also specifically addressing the unique difficulties that pregnant women of color and members of underserved communities face. Through our continued efforts to raise awareness of maternal health disparities alongside our targeted outreach initiatives, we aim to close the knowledge gap, prioritize mental health and ensure pregnant women have access to the care and support they deserve early in their pregnancy.”
In order to educate people about the importance of maternal health and the existing physical and mental health disparities, MetroPlusHealth today launched the “Mother’s EveryDay” campaign to provide resources for pregnant people or those considering pregnancy. The campaign focuses on a need for free or low-cost health care every day of the year. In addition, MetroPlusHealth will be holding several events in New York City.
The survey also revealed that 66 percent of women know someone who has experienced postpartum mental health challenges compared to 52 percent of men, which may point to a gender gap in the understanding of post-natal mental health issues.
Expectations for postpartum care also vary by race, with 50 percent of Black and Hispanic women agreeing they needed more care than expected, compared to 28 percent of white women. This discrepancy raises the likelihood that different racial groups may not be equally aware of prenatal care options available to them.
“In addition to focusing on eradicating the systemic barriers that disproportionately affect minority communities, it is crucial to close the knowledge gap and prioritize mental health in the childbirth process,” continued Dr. Schwartz.
For more information about MetroPlusHealth, visit metroplus.org.
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Since 1985, MetroPlusHealth has helped the people of New York City get quality health care at little to no cost. MetroPlusHealth is the plan of choice for over 700,000 New Yorkers, and its commercial and government-sponsored plans meet the needs of individuals, families, and workforces. The MetroPlusHealth staff speaks more than 40 languages and is as diverse as the great City it serves. MetroPlusHealth is part of NYC Health + Hospitals, the nation’s largest public health system. For more information, visit metroplus.org. Join the conversation on social media at @metroplushealth.
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NYC Health + Hospitals is the largest municipal health care system in the nation serving more than a million New Yorkers annually in more than 70 patient care locations across the city’s five boroughs. A robust network of outpatient, neighborhood-based primary and specialty care centers anchors care coordination with the system’s trauma centers, nursing homes, post-acute care centers, home care agency, and MetroPlus health plan—all supported by 11 essential hospitals. Its diverse workforce of more than 43,000 employees is uniquely focused on empowering New Yorkers, without exception, to live the healthiest life possible. For more information, visit www.nychealthandhospitals.org and stay connected on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.