About half of all U.S. states now have policies that criminalize substance use during pregnancy, consider it grounds for civil commitment, or consider it child abuse or neglect. But research suggests that punitive policies aren't beneficial for infants or their mothers.
Meghan Markle plans to break from royal tradition by declining to present her baby to the public on the the steps of the maternity ward, hours after giving birth, with flawless hair and makeup. This could bring attention to many of the postpartum challenges faced by women everywhere.
Any policy solution for extending maternity leave must strike a balance between protecting infant health through extended breastfeeding and mitigating any potentially negative impact on the mother's career progression or increased costs to business.
Proven benefits to reduced fertility — or to delayed start to childbearing and greater spacing between births — include lower maternal mortality, fewer unsafe abortions, reduced risks from early childbearing, and women's ability to engage in more income-generating opportunities.
Behavioral health professionals and community agencies often do not consider the impact of parental depression on young children or focus on the adult's role as a parent. New guidelines recommending depression screening during primary care visits for pregnant women and new mothers are a critical first step.
Over the past decade and half, Africa has made great strides toward meeting the United Nations' Millennium Development Goals, eight objectives that included halving extreme poverty rates, providing universal primary education, and ending the spread of HIV/AIDS by 2015.
Two mothers gave birth within weeks of each other, at the same hospital, using the same employer-sponsored insurance. Both had an epidural. But one received a surprise physician bill for anesthesiology, while the other didn't have to pay a dime. Why?
Worldwide, nearly 800 women die every day due to mostly preventable causes related to pregnancy and childbirth. More than half of these deaths occur in fragile states torn by armed conflict and generalized violence.
Less than 5% of Nigerians have insurance; two-thirds of all health care costs are paid out of pocket. When people must pay out of pocket for health care at the point of service, this restricts access, excludes the poorest and most vulnerable, and leads to delays in patients seeking help.
Bold and innovative approaches are being developed in different parts of the African continent in the quest to reduce maternal mortality. A noteworthy example of this is the Abiye Safe Motherhood program in Ondo State, Nigeria.