Reps. Roybal-Allard & Herrera Beutler Celebrate Release of Childbirth Study They Funded
Today, Congresswomen Lucille Roybal-Allard (CA-40) and Jaime Herrera Beutler (WA-03), the founding co-chairs of the Congressional Maternity Care Caucus, celebrated the release of a landmark government study about how to improve childbirth services and birth outcomes in hospitals, birthing centers, and home births. The congresswomen secured funding for this study in the Fiscal Year 2018 Appropriations Omnibus as members of the House Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations Subcommittee.
The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine’s study, titled “Birth Settings in America: Outcomes, Quality, Access and Choice,” is a comprehensive, non-partisan, evidence-based analysis of how childbirth is affected by the settings in which the births occur. The study can be read here. The study’s summary states that “To improve maternal and infant outcomes in the United States, it is necessary to provide economic and geographic access to maternity care in all settings, from conception to the first year postpartum; to provide high-quality and respectful treatment; to ensure informed choices about medical interventions when appropriate for risk status in all birth settings; and to facilitate integrated and coordinated care across all maternity care providers and all birth settings. Achieving these objectives will require coordination and collaboration among multiple actors – professional organizations, third party payors, governments at all levels, educators, and accreditation bodies, among others – to ensure system-wide improvements for the betterment of all women, newborns and families.”
Today, Congresswoman Roybal-Allard greeted the report’s release, stating: “I commend this groundbreaking report to everyone who cares about the health and well-being of our nation’s mothers and babies. This study outlines the health risks and benefits of each birth setting – hospital, birth center and home – and the importance of building an integrated, high-quality collaborative system of care that fosters respect for all pregnant women and families, regardless of their circumstances or birth choices. It is a travesty that America continues to rank far behind almost all other developed countries in birth outcomes for both mothers and babies, despite spending significantly more per capita on childbirth than any other industrialized nation. We must address the large and persistent racial, ethnic and geographic disparities in the quality of care received by childbearing women and infants. We must also bring down America’s high rates of maternal and infant mortality, preterm births, and severe pregnancy complications, especially among Black and Native American women. It was a privilege to work with Congresswoman Herrera Beutler to secure funding for this report, which marks a pivotal step in our fight to reverse these statistics and build a better maternal and child health system for our country.”
“Women in America deserve a high and consistent standard of care during pregnancy and childbirth regardless of where they come from, how much money they make, or where they choose to deliver. There’s no room for medical professionals to make discriminatory decisions against women that result in poorer care,” Congresswoman Herrera Beutler said. “I was pleased to commission this birth settings study with Congresswoman Roybal-Allard and take another important step in improving childbirth services. We know that a vast number of maternal deaths can be prevented, and with education, training and a national guideline for gathering data and delivering quality maternal care, we can begin to correct course and save future mothers’ lives.”
Congresswomen Roybal-Allard and Herrera Beutler worked with their Appropriations colleagues to secure funding for the study through report language in the Fiscal Year 2018 Appropriations Omnibus, which directed the National Institute of Child Health and Development to “enter into an agreement with the National Academy of Sciences to provide an evidence-based analysis of the complex findings in the research on birth settings, including but not limited to: definitions and assessment of risk factors; access to and choice in birth settings; social determinants that influence risk and outcomes in varying birth settings; financing models for childbirth across settings; and the licensing, training, and accreditation issues impacting professionals providing maternity care across all settings.”