Support better conditions for pregnant women in jails

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Did you know that African American and Latina women make up a disproportionate number of incarcerated women in Texas? Or that each month there are approximately 500 pregnant women living in Texas County Jails?

If you are outraged by the horrible conditions that incarcerated pregnant women are facing in Texas, please join us in taking action!

Members of Mamas of Color Rising and Mama Sana/Vibrant Woman are testifying today at the Texas Commission on Jail Standards demanding better conditions for pregnant women in jails.

Please sign and circulate the petition launched by MomsRising: http://action.momsrising.org/sign/TexasJails/

Dear Mama: Honoring all Mothers & Mothers to Be

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Mamas2

Mother’s Day is not enough; May is Mother’s Month! The Mama Sana/Vibrant Woman Clinic and the Millennium Youth Entertainment Complex present an event on Saturday, May 31, from 2 to 5 p.m., for all Austin area moms and moms-to-be. Attend the Facebook event!

The free event aims to appreciate those who are always giving. Activities for those in attendance include free massages, facials, fresh fruit smoothies, face painting, children’s games and activities, and a raffle of gift certificates. The first 100 women to attend receive a free T-shirt!

Mama Sana/Vibrant Woman is a project of Mamas of Color Rising that supports all women having quality and choices in the full spectrum of healthcare.

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unnamedCongrats, Mamas!

We envisioned what it would be like to become pregnant in a more just and loving world where we all have autonomy and are treated with dignity.

The Vibrant Woman/Mama Sana Project and its co-founder, Paula Rojas, have been chosen to receive the 2014 People’s Friend Award. This honor is given by the Texas Observer, the state’s leading progressive publication. The award is given to one “tyrant’s foe” each year “who speak truth to power and fight the good fight on behalf of their fellow Texans.” Paula, along with her fellow Vibrant Woman/Mama Sana Collective members, will receive the award at the annual Rabble Rouser Round-Up & Fat Cat Schmoozefest Friday, February 21, at the White Horse Saloon in Austin.

This is not simply an honor for Paula, but a reflection of the important work that Mamas of Color Rising and the Vibrant Woman/Mama Sana project have accomplished. The award underscores the importance of equitable maternal care for women of color. Additionally, thanks to all of those who voted for Paula on the Texas Observer website!

To learn more about the project: http://www.texasobserver.org/tyrants-foe-caring-pregnant-women-color/

If you would like to support the Mama Sana Clinic going to scale beyond a volunteer project, please make a contribution.

Launch Event Sunday, 10/13 – Vibrant Woman Pregnancy Clinic/Mama Sana Clinica Prenatal

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Launch Event Sunday, 10/13 – Vibrant Woman Pregnancy Clinic/Mama Sana Clinica Prenatal

Mamas of Color Rising will celebrate the opening of Vibrant Woman/Mama Sana, a new community clinic dedicated to assisting pregnant African-American and Latina women who lack access to a diversity of healthcare options.

The celebration is scheduled on Sunday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Urban Market, on the corner of 12th and Chicon streets, and will feature a mural painting by graffiti artist Toofly. The celebration is family-oriented and will also feature fun activities for children, giveaways, food and music.

Graffiti artist Toofly will paint a public mural to serve as a permanent billboard for the clinic. Toofly is an NYC-based artist, designer and entrepreneur, recognized for her hard and fluid style, as well as her “around the way girl.” She gained popularity in the graffiti scene as a teen because she was one of the only females who stepped up to paint in a male-dominated scene. She empowered various women to follow suit, and, in 2007, co-founded an international female arts collective called “Younity.” Toofly also runs a successful independent design company called “Stay Tru,” where she consults, designs, and develops urban art youth workshops. Toofly is donating her time to support Vibrant Woman/Mama Sana clinic.

Vibrant Woman Pregnancy Clinic/ Mama Sana Clinica Prenatal was developed to address some longstanding health disparities within the Latino and Black low income communities of Austin, according to Paula Rojas, program coordinator.

“The abundance of pregnancy and birth support services available in Austin are not accessible to all mothers and babies,” Rojas said.

According to Rojas, more than 25.9 percent of Latina women in Austin receive no prenatal care compared with 7.8 percent of white women. Travis County’s infant mortality rate was recorded as 5.8 per 1,000 live births for white women and 20.5 – or more than 150 percent higher – for black women.

“The United States ranks 50th in the world when it comes to safety in birth, and Travis County rates are worse than the national averages, particularly for African American and Latina women,” Rojas said.

“The goal of project is to connect with low-income Black and Latina mothers in Austin, to foster personal and collective empowerment while providing free prenatal care and education,” said Kellee Coleman, outreach coordinator for the clinic.

Vibrant Woman/Mama Sana women’s clinic will address economic, social and language barriers, and provide free group prenantal care appointments with individual physical exams by doctors from Blackstock Family Health Center and community midwives.

This innovative approach will include on-site Mama Baila prenatal dance classes, individualized nutrition support, and an emotional support group, one for African American mothers and one for Latina mothers run in Spanish.

More info about Mama Sana

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MAMA SANA

Pregnancy and childbirth are important physical, emotional, and spiritual life experiences with the potential to be empowering and life-transforming. Mama Sana will provide low-income women of color support for healthy pregnancies, births and the early parenting phase.  Mama Sana is bringing together a collaboration of resources to foster empowered health and wellness for all of Austin’s mothers.

In September of 2012, Mama Sana will launch free weekly prenatal clinics. This program is a collaboration between Mamas of Color Rising, volunteer midwives, and Blackstock Family Health Center with the focus of increasing access to holistic culturally competent prenatal care and education in Austin, TX.

Austin is known for being a family and child friendly city, but in actuality that reputation only applies within certain communities.  According to the City of Austin demographer, the 2010 census trends include a sharper divide between the affluent and the poor, and a disproportionate and increasing number of “indigent” people in need of health care. Of the official 20% of Austin’s population living below the poverty line, more than 60% of the women were of reproductive age (18-34). Austin’s “child-friendly” status does not apply to the 28% of children living in poverty in our city.

 

The 2010 Census report also found that Austin has crossed the threshold to become a “Majority-Minority” city. Additionally, Travis County’s infant mortality rate was recorded as 5.8  per 1,000 live births for white women and 20.5 – or more than 150% higher – for Black women.

Access to prenatal care is a key factor in determining outcomes and over 25.9% of Latina women in Austin receive no prenatal care vs. 7.8% of white women. The Austin economic and healthcare “divide” impacts the lives of pregnant women and their future children. The abundance of pregnancy and birth support services available in Austin is not accessible to all mothers and babies. There are economic, cultural and language barriers for many women. Mama Sana women’s clinic attempts to address these barriers.

Mama Sana provides free group prenatal care appointments with individual physical exams by midwives, as well as culturally competent emotional group support. A woman at Mama Sana can also choose to have a free birth companion (doula) and regular prenatal exercise classes. Women have access to all of these services in a coordinated and timely session. Mama Sana is a pilot project seeking to support the individual and collective empowerment of low-income mothers of color while also improving pregnancy and birth outcomes for communities of color in Austin.

 HOW THE MODEL WORKS

 * On-site free pregnancy testing,

* Immediate access and entry into care (regardless of Medicaid status),

* Culturally based group care (ie: Black Mothers Group-in English,  and Latina Mothers Group-in Spanish) addressing topics of interest to the participants,

* Mama self-health assessment circle (where each woman tracks her own weight, diet, stress, etc.),

* Private individual physical exam by midwife (in woman’s own language),

* Coordination  of care with Blackstock/Brackenridge physicians who will later attend the births,

* Full access to lab work and testing if needed,

* All care occurring at one central location- Blackstock Family Health Center.

 ADDITIONAL ON-SITE OPTIONS TO CARE :

* Regular prenatal exercise classes (Mama Baila Dance, prenatal yoga, etc.),

* Meeting with and securing a birth communion (doula),

* Support with childcare and transportation to the sessions.

The Pilot Project

Though there are many women needing improved prenatal care in Austin, during Year 1, Mama Sana will begin with two specific groups of women in order to attend to those most vulnerable in the city.

 * September 2012- launch groups at Blackstock Family Health Center (Black Mothers Group and Latina Mothers Group)

* Year 1- all collaborators and practitioners serving as unpaid volunteers.

* January 2013- internal evaluation of project

* May 2013- first cycle reflection and evaluation. Planning for Year 2 to begin in September 2013.

 

 

 

All mothers deserve attentive quality loving care.

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MAMA SANA
Pregnancy and childbirth are important physical, emotional, and spiritual life experiences with the potential to be empowering and life-transforming. Mama Sana will provide low-income women of color support for healthy pregnancies, births and the early parenting phase. Mama Sana is bringing together a collaboration of resources to foster empowered health and wellness for all of Austin’s mothers.

Mama Sana provides free group prenatal care appointments with individual physical exams by midwives, as well as culturally competent emotional group support. A woman at Mama Sana can also choose to have a free birth companion (doula) and regular prenatal exercise classes. Women have access to all of these services in a coordinated and timely session.