National Birth Equity Partnerships

Partnering with birth equity for maternal mental health equity.

Maternal mental health equity is a birth equity issue. Studies have consistently found higher rates of mood and anxiety concerns among pregnant and postpartum people of color and lower treatment access for the same populations. Birthing people of color face barriers and inequities ranging from lack of health insurance coverage to cultural stigma to interventions that are not culturally, linguistically, or financially accessible. Experiences of racism, social isolation, economic insecurity, trauma, and relationship challenges also affect the mental health and well-being of mothers of color. By extension, these maternal mental health inequities disproportionately affect babies of color.

Birth equity partnerships are deeply valued by Perigee for advancing maternal mental health equity. Birth equity is an emergent field that brings together the grassroots, community-based organizations, policy advocates, and health systems to improve outcomes related to pregnancy, labor and delivery, and the postpartum period for BIPOC and trans birthing people. 

Perigee’s birth equity partnerships include: 

  • Listening to birth equity leaders and supporting their pathway prescriptions for maternal mental health equity (National Birth Equity Project). Learn more
  • Supporting BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and People of Color) doulas and midwives serving BIPOC birthing people in 30 communities across the U.S. through a partnership with Groundswell Fund. These birthworkers are a first line of defense against traumatic birth experiences for women of color, a risk factor for postpartum mood and anxiety disorders. They are trusted to recognize and broach sensitive maternal mental health concerns. They support early bonding between the mother-baby dyad. Additionally, Groundswell grantees organize in their communities for more just and loving social conditions for families of color.
  • Investing in culturally specific maternal mental health programs and models (Shades of Blue Project).
  • Changing the face of the maternal mental health conversation by sponsoring the annual Multicultural Maternal Mental Health Conference (Shades of You, Shades of Me).

“Culturally congruent and decolonized practitioners will be required to make mental health care services more acceptable and accessible.”

“Pathways To Equitable And Antiracist Maternal Mental Health Care: Insights From Black Women Stakeholders,” Health Affairs, October 2021 (Vol 40, No 10)

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