Addressing the cost of pregnancy…with art

There are many ways to advocate for change. I began as a woman who advocates to inform citizens through grassroots events. I have (slowly) become a midwife who advocates politically. This week, I received an email from a woman who advocates through art.

No doubt you’ve encountered other pieces of art that begins discussions about maternity issues; you may have seen The Vagina Monologues, Ina Mae’s Cesarean Quilt, or photos from any number of organizations that want you to be aware of the issues facing pregnant women in low resource settings.

This current project is about the costs of maternal health care in the United States. Artist Michelle Hartney wants to draw attention to the discrepancy between the high costs of maternal health care relative to other countries, and the low standing on maternal health outcomes compared to other countries. You can read more about her project MOM$.

I think about the costs of maternal healthcare more than the average midwife. I think about the way it deters some women from accessing care and leads to high rates of care initiation in the second trimester. I think about how the payment structures can prevent midwives from operating sustainable independent practices. I think about the costs of not providing publicly funded effective forms of birth control. Lately I’ve been thinking about how the focus on economics can help support high-quality maternal care by reducing the use of costly procedures with little value.

Please check out the MOM$ project and consider participating.

Jennifer Vanderlaan (Author)