Friday, October 22, 2010


This past July, my new idol, Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-California), brought before Congress the Maximizing Optimal Maternity Services (MOMS) For the 21st Century Act. This groundbreaking proposal to vastly change the way maternity care is handled in the U.S. has the potential to change the lives of millions of women, making childbirth safer and more satisfying for all expectant moms.

This act has been supported by Amnesty International, who earlier this year released a shocking report on the rising maternal mortality rate and the overall disparity in care amongst racial and socioeconomic groups. The MOMS Act specifically addresses these issues, while promoting an overall change in maternity care to a more holistic model. The bill proposes an increase in midwife-attended births as well as a broad-reaching educational campaign to educate women on their options in childbirth.

Not surprisingly, ACOG has jumped in with a bill with an almost identical name, with similarly worded content that nonetheless, would keep the level of maternity care in the U.S. at its current, dismal status. The bulk of this initative is to focus on research on why there has been a rise in complications in pregnancy and thus the rise in interventions, citing obesity, and poor record taking as some of the main causes. As PushGirl Friday of the Unnecesarean put it, it's, "[b]ecause as we all know, the problem with maternity care in the US is with the women who receive it, not with the care they receive," and if you look at the slew of recent studies regarding these trends--the "Too Posh to Push" meta study in the UK and the flurry of obesity studies--it seems like the obstetrical community really does look to the women first to find the problem. 

Midterm elections are fast approaching and what better time to write or call your representative and tell them that you hope they will support Rep. Roybal-Allard in her effort to reform maternity care. I promise I'll have a template letter written by early next week, but an impassioned phone call will certainly serve more for the cause than any formal letter I can muster. Visit to find your local Reps and send them a letter directly from the site!