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Coronavirus Threatens an Already Strained Maternal Health System

Fuller Project contributor Eileen Guo’s piece was one of the first that looked at pregnancy and childbirth during coronavirus through a health equity lens. This story refocused the conversation about childbirth during COVID-19 from just the experiences of primarily white, upper middle class mothers to look at how much worse it would be for mothers of color, and particularly Black mothers, who suffer the highest maternal mortality rates in the U.S.

In addition, this story was the first to break two additional pieces of news on how COVID-19 was affecting childbirth: that at least one maternity ward in San Francisco was closing down and being converted to a COVID-19 ward, and that at least one hospital system was offering inductions at 39 weeks to get ahead of the expected COVID curve, the first known case of this happening — even before the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists gave any guidance on the matter.

The article has been cited in two academic papers, and was also cited in an open letter to Senate majority and minority leaders, including Cory Booker, Kristin Gillibrand, Kamala Harris, Elizabeth Warren, Amy Klobuchar and others, requesting that maternal health be included in the next stimulus package by. It was also cited in a Center for American Progress report on equitable treatment for women during COVID-19.

In December 2020, Congress approved funding for maternal mental health – historic funding as a part of the stimulus package.

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