The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services will host a live fireside chat and tele-town hall on Tuesday, May 9, from 6 to 7 p.m., to discuss maternal health in North Carolina and provide guidance and resources to support well-being before, during and after pregnancy.
Event participants include:
- Elizabeth Cuervo Tilson, M.D., State Health Director and Chief Medical Officer, NCDHHS
- LaToshia Rouse, CD/PCD (DONA), Certified Doula and Owner, Birth Sisters Doula Services
- Kimberly Harper, MSN, RN, MHA, Perinatal Neonatal Outreach Coordinator, UNC Collaborative for Maternal and Infant Health
During the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, all of a baby’s major organs and systems take shape. Sadly, one in three pregnant women in North Carolina do not receive the essential care they need within these first 12 weeks of pregnancy.
Women of color and teen mothers are often less likely to receive early prenatal care and face more challenges to get the support and information they need.
While maternal mortality rates in North Carolina are among the lowest in the U.S., they remain disproportionately higher among Black and American Indian women, as well as those who live in rural areas compared to urban ones.
Fireside chat and tele-town hall panelists will discuss the following:
- Realities of maternal health and resources to support parents
- What to know and look for before, during and after pregnancy
- Ways partners, friends and family can support their loved ones
- Efforts to improve access to health care and eliminate disparities
The COVID-19 pandemic had a negative impact on maternal health, as the risk of severe illness from the virus is higher for people who are pregnant. Women who get COVID-19 while pregnant are six times more likely to be admitted to an intensive care unit and four times more likely to have their baby too early, or before 37 weeks of pregnancy.
COVID-19 vaccines are recommended for those who plan to become pregnant, are pregnant or recently had a baby to help protect both mother and child from complications. Access to routine health visits, preventative care and all recommended immunizations, including updated COVID-19 vaccines, are key for a healthy pregnancy.
Resources are available across North Carolina to help parents connect with local health care providers, support and other resources as part of efforts to improve maternal health outcomes and build support systems. Local health departments and other community organizations provide each of North Carolina’s 100 counties with maternal health services before, between and beyond pregnancy. Visit ncdhhs.gov/LHD.
The fireside chat will stream live from the NCDHHS FacebookTwitterYouTube accounts, where viewers can submit questions. The event also includes a tele-town hall, which invites people by phone to listen in and submit questions. People can also dial into the event by calling (855) 756-7520 Ext. 93893#.
NCDHHS fireside chats and tele-town halls are part of the state’s ongoing public efforts to ensure equitable access to timely health information, resources and vaccines, eliminate health disparities and reduce COVID-19.