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Birthing parents and babies do not have the best odds on their side in Detroit.

The 2018 Kids Count in Michigan Data Book puts the city’s infant mortality rate at 13.5 per thousand, almost double the rate of Michigan (6.9 per thousand). The figure for less-than-adequate prenatal care is nearly 47 percent, also higher than the statewide statistics.

So why the poor outlook when there are a number of pregnancy, birthing, and postpartum supports available for parents in the city? It would appear many young families are not taking advantage of them.

That’s what the five founders of Detroit Pop-up Midwifery Clinic hope to change. Jahmanna Selassie, Heather Robinson, Athena Hall, Nicole Marie White, and Elon Geffrard are bringing education and resources right into Detroit neighborhoods so parents and parents-to-be can learn about options for maternity care, giving birth, and caring for newborns.

“We want to talk about choices and knowing your rights. So if you go into the hospital, you know that you can ask for help and ask for more time,” says Nicole White. “And we want to talk about nutrition and breastfeeding and just let folks know about all the incredible things that are happening in this city, like Black Mothers’ Breastfeeding Association and other initiatives like Detroit Mama Hub that can be resources.”

The group chose locations for their first four pop-up clinics by identifying neighborhoods with the highest infant mortality rates, some with rates up to 24 per thousand.

In the case of Detroit Pop-up Midwifery, “clinic” does not mean that clinical and diagnostic care is provided to women, but, rather, the clinic will educate women on how their medical experiences can be better, how they can be more equipped to enter their pregnancies not completely dependent on the medical system, and why they should have a say in their care.

The founders want the community to drive the discussions and content presented in each neighborhood. March 19, 2019 – Model D

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