One Key Question

A woman’s decision around pregnancy should be an ever-evolving discussion, taking into account even the most tender aspects of her life. As such, it can be daunting for healthcare providers and other caretakers to approach. It seems that sometimes even as adults, we struggle finding the words to talk about the birds and the bees. read more…

Women’s Health Advocacy During the 87th State Legislative Session

Every odd year, on the second Tuesday in January, the Texas Legislature convenes for 160 days. This year is no exception, with the 87th Legislature convening today, January 12, 2021. The pandemic, however, has made regular business look a little bit different. What we know is not different though is that the need for women to have access to affordable health care and women’s health services. With that in mind, the following four priorities from the Texas Women’s Healthcare Coalition should be addressed during the legislative session. read more…

Eleanor Prado Doula

Navigating parenthood brings all sorts of challenges, no matter what stage of life you’re in. Eleanor Prado had her first child when she was a junior in college, living off of food stamps and WIC provisions. “I was on the verge of a massive life transition in more ways than one,” Eleanor says, “but I just felt lost and overwhelmed.” Eleanor persevered through her high-risk pregnancy without much support and experienced postpartum depression for years thereafter. The most poignant part of her story is that it is not uncommon. In Harris County alone—with some of the best healthcare facilities in the world—circumstances like Eleanor’s happen to thousands of women each year. read more…

It’s Not “Them,” It’s Us: Real Life Adventures in Health Equity and Discrimination, Part Three

I conducted 15 hours of interviews with 11 women living in Houston. Some were Black mothers, others were Black mothers who were also medical professionals working in maternal health, others were Black maternal health professionals who were not mothers, and still others were non-Black maternal health professionals who worked with Black moms. I traveled to meet my interviewees anywhere they wished and made sure each received transcripts of our interactions. read more…

It’s Not “Them,” It’s Us: Real Life Adventures in Health Equity and Discrimination, Part Two

We know that there’s definitely something not working right in interactions between Black women and their provider teams; the differences in outcomes between Black women versus other ethnicities are statistically stark. In Harris County, women identified as “Black” in government and academic research are 3 to 5 times more at risk for negative health outcomes (death or severe debilitating illness) than any other ethnicity. The rates vary from ZIP code to ZIP code—this rate is not consistent as you move from one part of the population to the other. read more…

It’s Not “Them,” It’s Us: Real Life Adventures in Health Equity and Discrimination, Part One

I am a recent graduate in Cultural Sustainability from Goucher College in Maryland, and my final thesis is entitled Diagnosis Culture: Culture and African American Maternal Health in Houston. I undertook the project to look at how cultural differences between Black mothers and maternal health providers in Harris County could be leading to the huge disparity in maternal health outcomes. read more…

Houston, Harris County receive ‘F’ for premature births, infant mortality

Black women die at a rate 2.3 times higher than white women in Texas, according to Improving Maternal Health Houston, a locally funded initiative working to increase maternal survival and improve women’s wellness pre- and postpartum. Between 2008 and 2015, the share of Harris County women with severe maternal morbidities increased by 53 percent, as the state increased by 15 percent, according to IMHH. A woman’s separate health conditions during the birth — such as any heart problems, renal failure or aneurysms — factor into the severe maternal morbidity rate. read more…

Mothers First: Domestic Violence During Pregnancy

Episode 4: Domestic Violence During Pregnancy Dr. Conte Terrell didn’t think she would be a victim of domestic abuse, but at four months pregnant, she lost her baby at the hands of her ex-husband. In episode four of Mother’s First, hear Dr. Conte’s heartbreaking story of domestic abuse and her journey to leave that relationship. …read more »

Supporting the Women In-Between: Chinyere Eigege

My passion for maternal health stems all the way back to my early teens. I remember a season in my household when my mother was pregnant and her pregnant sister came to live with us. Most people avoided them, but I always wanted to be around them. I was drawn to their energy and in awe of the miracle that their bodies were performing bringing life into the world. read more…

Giving Thanks This Thanksgiving: Kathryn Tees

The Saturday after Thanksgiving about 4 years ago, my pregnancy was 35 weeks along, and everything was going as according to plan as it could be. I was grateful that I had health insurance, a supportive partner, and an OB/GYN who was very responsive to my needs. And still, I wound up in the emergency room. I share my perinatal experiences, not to scare women or their loved ones, but to provide solidarity to other women who may have experienced similar struggles. Motherhood is a miraculous journey, and it should not be taken for granted. read more…