Saving Mothers is Improving Black Maternal Health in New York City

Saving Mothers is Improving Black Maternal Health in New York City

Nanit is proud to collaborate with Saving Mothers in its important work empowering and protecting moms all around the world. But some of the organization's most important work is right outside its doors in New York, where black moms-to-be face especially steep risks. Learn more and find out what you can do to help.

In honor of Black Maternal Health Week, here are some important and scary statistics: Black women are three times more likely to die from pregnancy-related complications than white women. In New York City, that number jumps to nine times more likely. New York State has one of the highest maternal death rates in the nation. And yet, New York State’s Department of Health reports that 78 percent of New York’s pregnancy-related deaths are preventable. 

Why are the risks so high for black moms-to-be, especially in New York? Racial disparities play a huge role—and are heightened throughout the city. Saving Mothers’ work in underserved communities through the NYC mPOWHER program has provided them with effective ways to address:

  • Health literacy
  • Cultural tenets
  • Bias of health providers
  • Health care access for Black women

Empowering New York City’s Black Mothers

Hospitals and healthcare providers need to step up and take better care of New York’s black mothers; the most essential improvements will come from those efforts and changes. But community support and advocacy are a large part of the solution as well. That’s why Saving Mothers’ has created mPOWHER,
an educational program to:

  • Improve patient communication
  • Identify at-risk patients
  • Provide expecting mothers with valuable tools to self-advocate

mPOWHER helps NYC’s black moms and moms-to-be in two ways. One, mPOWHER’s Training Program trains Community Health Workers and others involved in maternal health to identify at-risk patients and better communicate with and advocate for these women. By building stronger, more trusted relationships between the mothers and their healthcare providers, mPOWHER ensures the women receive a higher level of care and protection.

The mPOWHER Mom’s Kit Program is the second way Saving Mothers is helping New York’s moms-to-be. Designed for women in their first trimester, the program gives out special diaper bags filled with health-empowerment tools and strategies, including:

  • A blood pressure cuff to reduce the risk of cardiovascular issues.
  • A Fitbit to help moms keep track of physical activity and nutrition needs.
  • Sample scripts and conversation starters moms can use to challenge racism and sexism from doctors and others in healthcare. (For example, “Can you explain what this test is for? I want to be sure I understand.”)
  • Newborn onesies from Nanit to help moms care for their babies

Last month, the Nanit team packed over 30 mPOWHER Mom’s Kits with Saving Mothers! These kits were distributed at NYPD Community Baby Showers in the Bronx and Brooklyn.

How You Can Help

  • Donate to our fundraiser by purchasing an mPOWHER kit for a mom-to-be. Suggested donation per kit is $15. Spread the word and enlist your friends!
  • You can shop! Nanit’s Pro Parent Shop is a curated selection of products chosen specifically to comfort, pamper, and give moms a much-needed break. Nanit has partnered with Saving Mothers to build a maternity ward in Kenya supported by Nanit technology to monitor Saving Mothers babies. Throughout the year, proceeds from our self-care parenting products will fund this effort.

Let’s work together to improve black maternal health and the health of mothers everywhere. Nanit is dedicated to this goal. Join us.

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Natalie Barnett, PhD serves as VP of Clinical Research at Nanit. Natalie initiated sleep research collaborations at Nanit and in her current role, Natalie oversees collaborations with researchers at hospitals and universities around the world who use the Nanit camera to better understand pediatric sleep and leads the internal sleep and development research programs at Nanit. Natalie holds a Ph.D. in Genetics from the University of New England in Australia and a Postgraduate Certificate in Pediatric Sleep Science from the University of Western Australia. Natalie was an Assistant Professor in the Neurogenetics Unit at NYU School of Medicine prior to joining Nanit. Natalie is also the voice of Nanit's science-backed, personalized sleep tips delivered to users throughout their baby's first few years.

Kristy Ojala is Nanit’s Digital Content Director. She spends way too much time looking at maps and weather forecasts and pictures of Devon Rex cats and no-cook dinners. A former sleep champion, she strives to share trustworthy somnabulism tips with other parents—praying for that one fine day when no tiny humans wake her up while it’s still dark out. Her kids highly recommend 3 books, approximately 600 stuffies, Chopin’s “Nocturnes,” and the Nanit Sound + Light for bedtime success.

Mackenzie Sangster is on the Brand and Community team at Nanit. She supports content development and editing for Nanit’s Parent Confidently blog as well as other marketing initiatives. Outside of work, she enjoys spending time with her friends, cooking, being active, and using the Pro + Flex Duo to keep an eye on her fur-baby, Poppy!

Holly Hays is a contributor and writer for Nanit, channeling her years as a mama and former magazine editor to create fun, useful content for fellow busy, trying-to-do-their-best parents and caregivers. Holly has written for a wide range of brands and media outlets (Ergobaby, HGTV, Manhattan Toy Company, OXO), loves to cook and read mystery novels, and leans heavily on her two daughters to keep her up to date on all the latest slang.