The Life-Saving Power of Prenatal Care  – Los Angeles Sentinel | Los Angeles Sentinel

Dr. Elaine Bathlor, MD, spoke to the participants at the roundtable on the importance of MLKCH in the South Los Angeles community. Photo courtesy)

Every week, women come to our hospital to give birth to women who did not have the recommended prenatal care during their pregnancy.

Despite decades of evidence of the value and effectiveness of prenatal care, women still do not have access to routine pregnancy services in South Los Angeles

Based on research and best practices, pregnant women should see a doctor monthly and then every week or two during the last trimester to monitor the baby’s development and heart rate. With these visits, doctors also monitor the mother’s health. Doctors identify and treat problems that can cause dangerous complications during pregnancy, such as diabetes, anemia and high blood pressure.

Although Medi-Cal, California’s Medicaid program, technically has generous coverage for prenatal care, in fact, women are struggling to access it because there are not enough obstetricians to serve women in South Los Angeles This brings us back to a fundamental problem: the low payments of providers in communities like ours, which prevent doctors from working here.

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The shortage of obstetricians and gynecologists is a symptom of the same low cost recovery of the provider affects the rest of our Medi-Cal system. Providers can’t afford to practice in places like South Los Angeles with most Medi-Cal patients. As a result, we lack 1,300 doctors in our community.

California is making significant changes to Medi-Cal this year by implementing CalAIM – adding eligibility for undocumented Californians and new services to address the social determinants of health. I welcome these changes. However, this effort does not solve the shortage of suppliers in our community.

Among the services added by CalAIM is doula coverage, which provides guidance and support to a pregnant woman during childbirth. Dulas can be a big part of motherhood team for expectant mothers. However, women should also have access to prenatal care provided by obstetricians and gynecologists.

The inability to access care can have serious consequences. Babies are without prenatal care three times more likely to be born with low birth weight (less than five pounds, eight ounces) Complications of low birth weightwhich are often caused by premature births can include difficulty breathing and eating, hearing and vision problems, and even developmental delays.

The same racial differences that characterize our separate and unequal care system are present when you look at maternal mortality. They are black women three to four times more likely to die in childbirth than white women.

The roots of racial differences that plague maternal health are broad and deepincluding low quality health care for many black mothers at Medicaid, umajor chronic conditions, often untreated due to lack of access, as well as implicit biases among physicians.

As a result, America baby and maternal mortality rates are the highest among the countries of the first world. It is unacceptable that the US health care system fails so many mothers and babies every year. Despite these poor results, the United States generally spends more than any other country on maternity hospital care.

We have a long way to go, but I am encouraged by the new efforts at the federal level.

IN Centers for Disease Control and Prevention focuses on preventing maternal mortality with a number of initiatives. They support activities such as Listen to her campaign and on National system of monitoring mortality in pregnancy to better understand the risk factors and causes of pregnancy-related deaths across the country.

Chiquita Brooks-LaSure, a black woman who now heads the Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) centers, has made maternal health a national priority. CMS is implementing an initiative around Hospitals convenient for childbirth which adopt best practices in the field of labor and supply, together with the implementation of several quality standards. This mimics California Maternal Care Collaboration which made a huge difference in improving birth outcomes across the country. Seeing the federal best practice model in California adopted is encouraging.

MLK Community Hospital is one of those hospitals recognized by the California Maternal Care Quality Association. Our excellent model even takes this a step forward to ensure a partnership between the midwife and the doctor throughout the birth process.

For these reasons, I am glad that so many women choose to have babies in our hospital. But the journey to healthy babies and mothers begins before the woman enters the maternity hospital and even before the initial prenatal visit. Women, especially black women, need doctors and medical staff in their communities they can trust. Communities need enough providers for every woman to have a safe and healthy pregnancy.

MLKCH is working to launch a prenatal program that will expand prenatal care in the community by recruiting midwives and obstetricians to practice in South Los Angeles.

In the meantime, if you or someone you love is pregnant, make sure he sees a doctor early in your pregnancy and consult a doctor after the baby is born.

As we fight for policy change and more doctors in our community, let us work together to increase the number of women receiving high-quality pregnancy care, one healthy baby and one mother at a time.

Dr. Elaine Bathlor is the CEO of MLK Community Healthcare in the Watts-Willowbrook area of ​​Los Angeles.

The Life-Saving Power of Prenatal Care  – Los Angeles Sentinel | Los Angeles Sentinel Source link The Life-Saving Power of Prenatal Care  – Los Angeles Sentinel | Los Angeles Sentinel

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