Pittsburgh: A Safer Childbirth City Partners Unite and Uplift Communities Through Outreach Efforts

Brown Mamas helps Black mothers elevate their collective mothering experience. Photo credit: Brown Mamas

This is the second article in a series featuring the Pittsburgh: A Safer Childbirth City partners. Read the first article here.

As part of Merck for Mothers' network of 20 Safer Childbirth Cities across the U.S., Pittsburgh: A Safer Childbirth City aims to reduce racial/ethnic disparities in maternal mortality and morbidity rates across the city. Safer Childbirth Cities grantees work to engage communities in maternal health improvements and address the social determinants of health, and work with doulas and other perinatal support workers to bolster the care support system around women and families during pregnancy, childbirth, and the months after.

The Jewish Healthcare Foundation (JHF) and Women's Health Activist Movement Global (WHAMglobal) facilitate the Pittsburgh: A Safer Childbirth City initiative with seven partner organizations across the region, whose programs fill gaps and provide crucial services to the community. Many of these organizations are birthing-focused and prioritize Black birthing people and their support systems across the Pittsburgh region. Several partners offer community outreach and support services to the Pittsburgh community.

Brown Mamas is a community-led, mom-focused organization focused on helping Black mothers in the Pittsburgh region elevate their collective mothering experience by building the village they need to raise happy, healthy adults and thrive beyond motherhood. Brown Mamas holds in-person support groups and meetups for Black moms in Pittsburgh to connect with one another and facilitates a super-engaged Facebook community of nearly 6500 for Black mothers in the region. In addition, the cross-generational GrowMama Mentoring program connects less-experienced mothers with more experienced moms, with the mission of helping moms build their village of support. In June 2022, Brown Mamas will re-launch the Brown Mama Café support groups, which were developed in response to feedback from community listening sessions held during the COVID-19 pandemic, to provide further opportunities for tribe building and positive socialization.

Elephant Song provides birthing people and families with doula services for birth, the postpartum period, breastfeeding, and other services. The Elephant Song team intentionally selects Black doulas to provide their services and strives to inform and empower Black and Brown birthing people. Using social media platforms, Elephant Song provides culturally relevant pregnancy, birth, postpartum, and breastfeeding education to Black and Brown expectant parents across the country, and their content is starting a bigger conversation around Black maternal health across the Pittsburgh region.

Kangaroo Birthing & Maternity Concierge provides birth doula programming primarily to women of color and mother transition support with our fiscally sponsored sister arm (and partner with New Sun Rising) Unshakeable Motherhood and postpartum recovery education and lifestyle support.

Kangaroo Birthing & Maternity Concierge clients have access to group coaching, one-on-one doula consultations, and pre-cooked family-sized meals, laundry service, and prenatal mental health appointment transportation provided by the mommy concierge and Kangaroo Birthing & Maternity network. Through the NurturHer app, postpartum mothers hand-select their personal mommy concierge and access online maternal survival educational tutorials to strengthen and guide their motherhood journey. Kangaroo Birthing & Maternity Concierge contracts with the Allegheny County Health Department to provide the NurturHer app, and they are updating the app based on community feedback. They were recently recruited, applied, and accepted into the Batchery 14 "Deep Dive" program. The Batchery is a Berkeley-based global incubator for seed stage startups ready to go from idea to launch. They are a global gateway to Silicon Valley, with the best investor advisory mentorship community, tools, and partnerships for entrepreneurs in the Bay Area, around the US, and internationally. Kangaroo Birthing & Maternity Concierge plans to expand their educational video library; they began a nutritional video series focused on healthy breakfasts, and they are working on a series focused on postpartum exercise, at-home newborn care, and so much more. 

Hello Neighbor provides infant essentials. Photo credit: Hello Neighbor

Hello Neighbor's Smart Start Program provides a bridge between the local refugee and immigrant communities and the local pregnancy, postpartum, and infant resources. The Smart Start Program offers case management services and volunteer support throughout pregnancy and postpartum care. Through the utilization of volunteers, donations, and community partnerships, Hello Neighbor provides a baby box of basic infant care items, postpartum care items, a supply of diapers, meal delivery service, case management, transportation, and accompaniment to medical appointments. Additionally, Hello Neighbor provides follow-up postpartum support until mom and baby are comfortable navigating their medical services and local resources comfortably.

These organizations have created a circle of inter-collaboration, in which they refer clients to other SCC partners for services. WHAMglobal and JHF are grateful for continued opportunities to partner with these organizations and look forward to continuing to learn from them in the future.

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