Pregnancy is an exciting time, but it’s not always without complications.

Having the proper care and support is critical both before and after giving birth, but knowing how to get that may not be so easy. Many moms believe there’s a stigma surrounding seeking help, but some have found that being their own advocate can make all the difference.

In this 12 on 12 Digital Original, we get expert advice from medical professionals, highlighting the valuable resources available to all expectant mothers, plus a local mom shares the challenges she faced with her first pregnancy.

In this 12 on 12: Maternal Health Matters | In-Depth Topics: How doulas can help | Support from Flourish Fund | Local mom’s story | Mental health care | OBGYN perspective

Maternal Health Matters

In-Depth: Maternal Health Topics

For generations, moms with experience have coached new moms. With the advent of social media, access to different types of care has multiplied. Now, OBGYN and other doctors are offering more resources to help address mothers’ needs during the first year of their babies’ lives as they experience a roller coaster of hormonal shifts and emotions.

How Doulas Can Help

Last year, the state of Rhode Island enacted a law making doula services eligible for reimbursement through private insurance plans. The goal was to improve labor and delivery outcomes, particularly for women of color, who are more likely to face complications with childbirth.

Learn More: Doulas of Rhode Island | RI Perinatal Doula Agency | Umoja Nia Collective | Urban Perinatal Education Center | RI Birthworker Co-op

Support from the Flourish Fund

Melissa Bowley founded The Flourish Fund as a way to highlight all of the community support she didn’t know existed when she had a baby herself. It connects mothers with a variety of services from doulas and lactation specialists to pre- and post-natal massages and yoga.

Local mom shares her story

Amity Dubell said she was told by doctors that the pain and discomfort she was feeling while pregnant was normal. That is, until a routine appointment resulted in her going straight to the hospital.

Mental health care for new moms

In addition to making sure mothers have the physical care they need, their mental well-being can be just as important. Below, Jim Beasley from the R.I. Department of Health and Dr. Margaret Howard from Women & Infants Hospital tell you about a new collaboration that helps connect front-line providers and mental health clinicians to provide proper guidance and care.

OBGYN breaks down the data

Data from the R.I. Department of Health shows the state doesn’t see many maternal deaths, however, when it comes to severe maternal morbidity (complications at birth), Black women had nearly double the risk compared to white women.


Reporter – Kait Walsh
Photographers/Editors – Jim Hughes, Nick Blair

Executive Producers – Shaun Towne, Jen Quinn
Graphic Designer – Lisa Mandarini
Special Thanks – Michaela Burns, Lee Dooley, Susan Tracy-Durant, Karen Rezendes

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