House committee discusses African-American infant, mother mortality rates
The House Healthcare Availability and Accessibility Committee recently held a hearing regarding the high rates of maternal and infant mortality in the African-American community in Illinois.
Rep. Mary Flowers (D-Chicago) said the committee was there to learn what can be done regarding the deaths of many African-American women and babies during and after childbirth.
Rep. Michael McAuliffe (R-Chicago) discussed safe sleeping guidelines for infants.
"I remember when my son was born eight years ago, I went to all the meetings and I don't remember the doctor saying you can't sleep with your baby," he said. "But, I found out that night when he was crying at Northwestern and he was lying next to me and the nurse came in frantically saying that."
McAuliffe asked if parents are taught that parents should not sleep next to newborns.
"I don't know if that's a regular protocol or something I just don't remember hearing," McAuliffe said. "Do they now teach that to the dads and the moms?"
Dr. Gina Lowell with the Rush University Medical Center mentioned that it was explicitly discussed with parents at her hospital and in clinics during every well-child visit for the first year after childbirth.
The panelists also questioned if the mortality rate for African-American mothers and babies could be environmental or stress-related and how race and a better health care system would help.
The panelists also mentioned safe sleep techniques, as well as doula services so that mothers and their babies have an advocate and avoid breastfeeding stigmas.