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Healthy Moms Raising Healthy Babies. Central Texas and Statewide Challenges and Opportunities to Support Maternal Behavioral Health During the First Year After Childbirth Healthy Moms Raising Healthy Babies

Texans Care for Children – 2019

This report focuses on the health of Texas mothers during the year after childbirth, with specific attention to improving new mothers’ behavioral health, including support for both mental health and substance use challenges. It shares findings from a study that explored the behavioral health needs of new mothers, the services and supports available, and barriers to accessing services that improve maternal health and well-being. Information for the study was gathered through a review of publicly available data, maternal health efforts in other States, State data, current programs and practices, and the network of health and behavioral health providers available to new mothers. Two large listening sessions with Central Texas mothers were conducted and information was gathered through 38 individual interviews with mothers, clinicians, substance use treatment providers, and other maternal health professionals. Part 1 describes the landscape of maternal health challenges in the postpartum year, including the impact of maternal depression and substance use, Texas data on maternal mortality and morbidity, and racial disparities in maternal health outcomes. Part 2 explains key health programs and behavioral health services are available to Texas mothers, but program capacity and reach may be limited. Part 3 shares key findings from Central Texas, including: Central Texas has significant maternal health challenges and the State’s worst maternal death rate among Black women; fear of Child Protective Services prevents some mothers from seeking and receiving the postpartum care they need; key barriers that limit access to maternal health support include lack of insurance coverage, a lack of capacity among behavioral health providers for uninsured mothers, and transportation to medical appointments; and there are underutilized opportunities to support maternal health in the region. The final part of the report discusses action steps for improving services. 119 references.