Updates on CT’s maternal health coverage announced

State expanding coverage for pregnant women
Published: Jun. 7, 2022 at 9:25 AM EDT|Updated: Jun. 7, 2022 at 12:19 PM EDT
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FARMINGTON, CT (WFSB) - Enhancements to Connecticut’s maternal health coverage and services are coming.

Gov. Ned Lamont scheduled a news conference to talk about the recent and coming changes.

It happened shortly after 10:30 a.m. on Tuesday at the UConn Health Outpatient Pavilion in Farmington.

Gov. Ned Lamont scheduled a news conference to talk about the recent and coming changes.

Lamont was joined by Department of Social Services commissioner Deidre Gifford, Department of Public Health commissioner Manisha Juthani, and medical providers.

An increase in maternal deaths is prompting the need to expand care.

Additional funding will help pregnant women covered by Husky, the state’s public health insurance.

We are seeing a scary trend of more deaths during pregnancy nationwide.

African American women are even more at risk.

This year lawmakers approved more funding, and for the first time ever doulas will be covered.

“I’ve been walking, I’ve been bouncing on the exercise ball,” said Shelby McFarlane.

McFarlane is ready to have her baby.

Even though she worked in a hospital, being pregnant has been a learning experience.

“A lot of people don’t know what a doula, a mid-wife and your options in the delivery room,” said McFarlane.

A doula helps support pregnant women. It started in the 1970s.

Unlike midwives, who are medical professionals, doulas can provide similar care before and after childbirth.

“I have been a post-partum doula for over 18 years,” said Cynthia Hayes.

Hayes works with families, most who can afford to pay for services.

Now women covered under Husky can get that same care.

“We are telling women that if you want to have a baby at home or if you have been researching and want to have birth in a bathtub you can do that or in the hospital we can support you there,” Hayes said.

“Having a doula is something that certainly can help so many people,” said Department of Public Health Commissioner Manisha Juthani.

Lamont pushed to expand maternal services for those on Husky coverage both prenatal and postnatal to cover doulas and breastfeeding support as well as home visits.

“We are making a particular emphasis on those in communities hardest hit,” said Lamont.

African American women are three times more likely to die during childbirth.

“I think it’s very important that more education, it’s never bad to have more education,” McFarlane said.

There are several reasons why African American women are more at risk, including pre-existing conditions and limited access to quality healthcare.

Some of the money for this is from state funding. Home visits will be covered with federal dollars.