Melanated Midwives

Studies have shown that nationally, women of color are more likely to experience harmful outcomes during and after pregnancy. UI Health is working towards eliminating these experiences in our community through programs such as the Melanated Group Midwifery Care (MGMC). At UI Health we offer racially concordant care to ensure all women receive the care they desire with the best outcomes.

Here are four ways in which nurse-midwives are working to reduce health disparities for women of color at UI Health Mile Square Health Centers:

  • Increase access to prenatal care: Black and Brown women have higher rates of maternal mortality and morbidity than other racial and ethnic groups, in part because they are less likely to receive adequate prenatal care. Nurse-midwives can help increase access to prenatal care by providing care in community-based settings that are designated as maternity care deserts, which may be much more accessible to Black women.
  • Provide culturally concordant care: Nurse-midwives can help reduce disparities by providing culturally concordant care that allows access to care sensitive to Black women's unique needs and experiences. This includes understanding the historical and social context of Black women's experiences with healthcare providers, as well as acknowledging and addressing systemic racism and discrimination within the healthcare system.
  • Offer education, resources, and support for physiological birth and breastfeeding: Midwifery care is associated with higher rates of vaginal births and higher rates of breastfeeding. Black women have lower rates of breastfeeding than any other racial and ethnic groups, in part due to lack of support and education. Nurse-midwives provide education and support for breastfeeding, which can help improve breastfeeding rates among Black women and reduce disparities in infant health outcomes.
  • Address implicit bias and structural racism: Implicit bias among healthcare providers can contribute to disparities in healthcare outcomes for Black women. Nurse-midwives can assist in eliminating hierarchical barriers and advocate for shared decision-making among the patient and provider. Nurse midwives work to address implicit bias by participating in training and education programs that focus on cultural competency, cultural humility, and anti-racist care.

Melanated Group Prenatal Care

This pregnancy care model offers prenatal and postpartum care from a team of midwives, a nurse navigator, and postpartum doulas who are Black and understand the individual needs of their patients. This is done in the form of group prenatal and individualized postpartum doula care. Patients can ask about joining at your next appointment with your prenatal provider.

UIC Healthy Start

Healthy Start works to support and improve the health of women, men, and family living in Englewood, South Shore, and Auburn Gresham. This includes many services especially valuable for pregnant women, new moms, and their families.