MCHENRY, Ill., Oct. 29, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Medela LLC joined U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) and March of Dimes to host a panel on the racial disparities in the rising maternal and infant mortality rates in the Chicago area and in the United States overall. The panel touched on the key drivers behind these rising rates and discussed interventions that aimed at reducing them.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 700 women die in the United States each year due to pregnancy or related complicationsi, and Chicago had a higher rate of infant mortality than the rest of the US in 2015ii. The panel discussed various interventions that might reverse these mortality rates, including a shortened follow-up period after a complicated pregnancy (visits today occur six weeks postpartum), increasing mental health support for new mothers and providing adequate education and resources to support breast milk feeding.
"Together, we have work to do to keep mothers and their babies healthy and safe. Chicago, where Medela's US headquarters is based, has a higher infant mortality rate than the greater United States and within that, black women are three-to-four times more likely to die as a result of pregnancy complications compared to white women," said Melissa Gonzales, executive vice president of the Americas for Medela LLC. "We know breast milk feeding support and supplies are a low cost, high value intervention that prevent illness, missed work days and support the overall health of mothers and babies that can help turn this tragic loss around. We are committed to supporting these and other efforts that protect mom and baby on their breastfeeding journeys."
The all-women panel of leading maternal and infant health experts included:
- Ngozi Ezike, M.B.B.S., Illinois Department of Public Health
- Aloka L Patel, M.D., Rush University Children's Hospital
- Maura Quinlan, M.D., M.P.H., Legislative Chair of the ACOG
- Paula P. Meier, Ph.D., R.N., Director of Lactation Services, Neonatal Intensive Care
- Jenny Thomas, M.D., M.P.H., I.B.C.L.C., F.A.A.P., F.A.B.M., Pediatrician and Breastfeeding Medicine Specialist.
To access the transcript, visit Medela's web site.
In an earlier release, Sen. Duckworth reinforced the message by adding that, "No more women should die from preventable causes on what should be the most special day of their lives, and I'm proud to be working with organizations like March of Dimes and Medela to address our nation's growing maternal mortality crisis."
Matt Keppler, Regional Director of Advocacy and Government Affairs, March of Dimes, added, "We are proud to partner with Medela and Senator Duckworth to tackle this important issue. We look forward to continuing our work together to advocate for the health of all moms and babies, through both enacting legislation and empowering parents with tools and knowledge to support health for themselves and their children."
For 50 years, Medela has been committed to supporting research, advocacy and products that support mom's breast milk feeding goals. Through its work on Medela Cares, the Company is continuing its long history of caring for moms, babies, communities and our environment.
This year, the company donated more than $200,000 in product to nonprofit. Through this ongoing work, Medela Cares has provided breastfeeding support to more than 135 nonprofit organizations across the United States, giving more than $1,000,000 since beginning in 2015.
About Medela LLC
Medela's US-based manufacturing and development facility is headquartered in McHenry, Illinois. Every year, more than one million mothers in the U.S. rely on Medela's technology. As the #1 breast pump brand*, Medela provides the best in research-based breast milk feeding products and clinical education to support moms' breast milk feeding journey. The company is fully dedicated to supporting mothers so that they can provide breast milk to their baby for as long as they choose. For more information, visit www.medelabreastfeedingus.com.
About March of Dimes
March of Dimes leads the fight for the health of all moms and babies. We support research, lead programs and provide education and advocacy so that every baby can have the best possible start. Building on a successful 80-year legacy of impact and innovation, we empower every mom and every family. www.marchofdimes.org
About Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.)
In the U.S. Senate, Duckworth serves on several committees that give her a platform to advocate for Illinois's working families and entrepreneurs: the Armed Services Committee, the Environment & Public Works Committee, the Commerce, Science, & Transportation Committee and the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Committee. In 2018, after Duckworth became the first Senator to give birth while serving in office, she sent a message to working families across the country about the value of family friendly policies after securing a historic rules change allowing Senators to bring their infant children onto the floor. Senator Duckworth and her husband Bryan are the proud parents of two daughters, Abigail and Maile. https://www.duckworth.senate.gov/
*IQVIA, using ProVoice Survey; Oct-Nov 2018.
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i Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Racial/Ethnic Disparities in Pregnancy-Related Deaths — United States, 2007–2016. 6 September 2019. https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/68/wr/mm6835a3.htm?s_cid=mm6835a3_w
ii Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. User Guide to the 2015 Period Linked Birth/Infant Death Public Use File. https://ftp.cdc.gov/pub/Health_Statistics/NCHS/Dataset_Documentation/DVS/periodlinked/LinkPE15Guide.pdf