Brooklyn Borough President Antonio Reynoso has launched a new maternal healthcare initiative aimed at providing Brooklynites most at risk of pregnancy complications with accessible information and resources on healthy pregnancies.
The multicultural, multi-language campaign includes a number of advertisements at Brooklyn bus shelters and subway stations, as well as digital ads on social media apps in numerous languages including English, Haitian Creole, and Spanish. Those ads are mostly concentrated in the borough’s primarily Black, Latino and Caribbean communities in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brownsville, Bushwick, Canarsie, Crown Heights, East Flatbush, East New York, Flatbush, and Williamsburg.
Maternal mortality and morbidity rates are particularly high for New Yorkers of color — Black pregnant people in Brooklyn are over 9 times more likely to die of pregnancy-related complications than their white counterparts, and Haitian women face a particularly high risk. The advertisements will lead people to an online resource guide which provides information on how to prepare and have a healthier pregnancy.
“Every day, we’re making this borough a little bit safer for Brooklynites dreaming of growing their families,” said Reynoso following the campaign’s launch on Nov. 16. “To truly end the maternal mortality crisis facing our Black and Brown mothers will take long-term and large-scale structural change – like our upcoming renovations to the maternal healthcare facilities at our public hospitals – but in the meantime, there are steps we can take right now to empower our expecting parents through their pregnancy journey. I’m so grateful to my Maternal Health Taskforce for their incredible expertise as we take yet another step toward saving lives and making Brooklyn the safest place for someone to have a baby.”
The campaign is fully guided by the beep’s President’s Maternal Health Taskforce, and is the latest maternal-health announcement issued from the office — with the goal of making Brooklyn the safest place in the city to give birth, especially for Black and Brown families. Many of those families lack access to affordable, accessible healthcare and information — especially in different languages.
Assembled by the Maternal Health Taskforce — which includes Black women who work in maternal health — the written resource guide is available in several languages and and includes several pillars to empower and inform Brooklynites who are expecting or are planning on having a child. These pillars include preparing for a safe and healthy pregnancy, taking care of emotional well-being, building a pregnancy care team, and navigating the postpartum experience.
“It’s far past time that we do right by every parent and child, no matter the color of their skin or the language they speak,” said New York City Mayor Eric Adams on Tuesday. “The numbers are clear: Black women are nine times more likely to die of pregnancy-related causes than white women in New York City. Borough President Reynoso has relentlessly fought these maternal health disparities and is a tireless partner working to make New York City the safest place to start a family. Today’s announcement is a game-changer as we address this crisis and ensures expecting families have the tools, information, and support they need for a healthy pregnancy.”
Further information in the healthy pregnancy online guide include nutritional guidance, emotional wellness plans, and a person’s legal rights as a patient in New York State, to resources for accessing health insurance, midwifery support, and doula services. The guide offers support for people preparing for pregnancy, during pregnancy, and in postpartum, and has also been made into print pamphlets that will be available at health clinics across Brooklyn.
Maternal health and lowering maternal morbidity has been one of Reynoso’s chief causes since he was a New York City councilmember, and, in his first year in office as Borough President, he allocated millions of dollars in capital funding to improving maternity care at three local hospitals. Earlier this month, he announced a new program that will distribute free baby and postpartum supplies to new parents at five hospitals and health centers.
“I am delighted that the Borough president is leading the way on centering the needs of Black and Latino women and birthing persons in Brooklyn,” said Dr. Zahirah McCatt, a member of the Maternal Health Taskforce. “This campaign makes a myriad of resources readily available to the families and communities we serve. Together, we have the capacity to eliminate birth inequities in NYC in our lifetime, by addressing structural racism and countering disinvestment. I remain hopeful and grateful for the opportunity to serve on this taskforce, at this time, in the borough of Brooklyn.”
To access the online guide visit www.brooklyn-usa.org/healthypregnancy