Group working statewide to reduce Georgia’s maternal mortality rate

The March of Dimes gives Georgia an ‘F’ for its efforts to help pregnant mothers during childbirth
Published: Jan. 10, 2023 at 3:47 PM EST
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ATLANTA, Ga. (Atlanta News First) - The March of Dimes gives Georgia an “F” for its efforts to help pregnant mothers during childbirth.

When hospitals close in the state, maternal care deserts grow. HEART for Georgia is working to help Georgia women. HEART for Georgia aims to decrease the number of preterm births and maternal death rates by training families, health advocates, and community members on how to improve healthcare outcomes for families. HEART was funded by CareSource.

HEART for Georgia hosts an 8-week course that equips families to understand their rights in healthcare and teaches participants how to advocate for themselves or a family member during or after pregnancy. It was developed by the Center for Family and Community Wellness in partnership with the Atlanta Healthy Start Community Action Network and the Clayton County Healthier Generation Community Action Network.

Quantrilla Ard took the course before she gave birth. She didn’t want to become a part of a sobering statistic. The Georgia Department of Health reports 22.7 out of 100,000 white women die during childbirth, but 48.6 out of every 100,000 Black women die during childbirth.

“I was terrified to give birth, but it’s really something so natural and beautiful. Sometimes we don’t speak up because we don’t know how,” said Ard.

Recalling her own experiences with dismissal and lack of compassionate care during her delivery, Quantrilla felt confident that other Black women, birthing people, and their families who took the HEART for Georgia course would understand the importance of and become advocates for respectful maternity care during the birthing process.”

“We created a program designed to ask the right questions, for me it’s personal, I lost a grandson that was born prematurely. Could I have asked this question, “could we have identified something to prevent the outcome that we had?” said Brinson.

Preterm births, or births that occur before 37 weeks, are rising in the state. The course guides mothers through the what-ifs. and now, they are expanding to other parts of the state where women are forced to travel hours to receive obstetric care.

The course is free. You can enroll in a course and find one in your area on their website or by calling 678-495-8555.