Editor’s note: It is one of The Birth Mag’s goal to promote community based organizations that are working on a number of goals, including improving access to quality reproductive health care, lowering pregnancy and birth related mortality rates, and addressing disparities in care. We will be featuring these organizations and programs periodically, and encourage readers to consider supporting them also.
Abide Women’s Health is working to improve birth outcomes in an area with a particularly unacceptable maternal mortality rate and dramatic racial disparity in outcomes. Based in South Dallas, TX, they are working in an area where a black baby is more than twice as likely to die than a white baby. In the state of Texas, the rate at which people die from pregnancy or birth related complications has doubled since 2000, and affects black and latinx people at a dramatically increased rate compared to those who are white. South Dallas also has the highest teen pregnancy rate in Dallas County. Nearly 2/3 pregnant people in Dallas county have no first trimester prenatal care , and 7.6% of those in South Dallas never receive any prenatal care.
Abide wants to bring care that is “accessible, holistic, evidence based and free from judgment” to communities that are receiving the lowest quality of care. That currently looks like providing bi-weekly childbirth education classes, as well as pairing up with Mothers Milk Bank of North Texas to provide lactation support through a Baby Cafe program.
Going forward, Abide Women’s Health is also laying the groundwork for opening a free clinic within the next two years. They are currently in the process of fundraising, recruiting and training staff and volunteers, and building awareness within the local community. When open, they will be providing easy access care, where people of color can get respectful, judgement free care from midwives of color.