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December 2019 | Perinatal Facts We Wish Everyone Knew from the Elephant Circle

Women's Lobby of Colorado is so proud to have so many amazing organizations as members. One of them Elephant Circle. "Inspired by elephants who give birth within a circle of support, they envision a world where all people have a circle of support for the entire perinatal period."  They provide expertise and support with regard to the HOW and WHAT of birth justice. Learn more about what that means here.

They provided us some facts on what they wish we all knew about perinatal lives. 

  1. The United States ranks near the bottom of developed nations for infant and maternal mortality even though we spend more on birth than any other nation on earth.  
  2. Our infant and maternal mortality rates are rising.  Maternal and infant mortality rates for Black and Indigenous families in Colorado. are 2-3 times higher than non-Hispanic white families.  
  3. These mortality rates are driven by stark racial inequities and are irrespective of education or wealth.  Racism is the root cause of these inequities.
  4. The US maternity care system is not centered on physiologic, mammalian birth.  As a result, an understanding of physiologic birth is often missing from policy and legislative conversations and leads to policies that work against optimal birth.  
  5. Increasing the wellbeing of parents during the perinatal period increases the wellbeing of babies and children.  
  6. Often the environment pregnant people live in pose risks to the pregnancy that are greater than the risks posed by any actions or inactions of the individual pregnant person. 
  7. Breastfeeding is the physiologic baseline for infant feeding.  There are risks to feeding babies artificial milk substitutes.  These products are important lifesavers -  but like all interventions have costs.  In the U.S., the financial impact of feeding babies artificial milk substitutes exceeds $18B annually.
  8. Connection between parents and their babies in the first hours, days, and weeks of life has significant, long-lasting, intergenerational, physical, emotional, and psychological benefits and should be protected.  In fact, chimps who are separated from their mothers in the first 6-12 months are considered too physiologically dysregulated to use as good research subjects.

We also asked Elephant Circle to highlight one of their amazing projects. Here is one of many:

Birthworker of Color Fund

Elephant Circle has funded 5-20 Birthworkers of Color annually since we opened our doors in 2009.  Our Birthworker of Color Support Fund is a central value for Elephant Circle.  It is consistent with our commitment to capacity-building, providing financial support to people doing culturally relevant, community-based work.  This is important in our efforts to support a healthy birth ecology in BIPOC communities.  Flexibility is critical to the Fund’s success; we find that responsivity to the wide variety of needs articulated by the applicants themselves increases the value of our investment.  Many Fund recipients have gone on to become national leaders in the fields of midwifery, lactation, nursing, and reproductive justice.

Learn about there other programs here.

And please consider giving to this amazing organization!

Not a member yet? Join Women's Lobby Today and help us advocate for gender equity at the Colorado Capitol!