A grassroots non-profit is raising awareness about Mississippi's maternal and child health issues. MPB's Ashley Norwood reports from a rally in downtown Jackson.
Niketa Pechan is a Florida native. The mother moved to Mississippi before becoming pregnant. She says she was concerned about her and the baby's health before, during and after she gave birth.
"I was afraid because I heard about the statistics here in Mississippi and I was terrified as a black mom. I was scared that I would be forced into a c-section or forced into a medical intervention that I didn't need," said Pechan.
Mississippi is ranked worst for women's and children's health, according to the 2017 Women's Health Rankings report by the United Health Foundation. Babies born in Mississippi are more likely to be born through c-section delivery. According to research, c-section deliveries are the leading cause of mothers developing infections that sometimes lead to death.
Mississippi Birth Coalition sponsored the March for Moms Rally. Leah Dubin, with the coalition, is a home birth assistant. She says home births for low-risk mothers have proven to give better health outcomes for new moms and their babies.
"A hundred years ago in Mississippi, every baby was born by a midwife, almost every baby. Why today are midwives not even regulated in the state? How do we go from hundreds of midwives to five? How do we get back to that? How do we get back to those good birth outcomes," said Dubin.
Bobbie Ware is the CEO of Mississippi Baptist Medical Center. She says in a statement, they are proud of the services their facilities offer but supports the right of every mother to decide where to deliver her baby.
Ashley Norwood, MPB News.