Maternal health resource and food pantry opens in downtown Jackson

Published: Aug. 29, 2023 at 6:49 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Several organizations from around the Metro are trying to bring the maternal mortality rate to zero here in Mississippi by targeting some of the leading causes for it.

”The United States has the highest maternal mortality rate for any country in the industrialized world,” Dr. Helen Beady with the American Heart Association said.

And that picture isn’t much better in Mississippi.

According to the Mississippi Department of Health, 36 out of every 100,000 moms will lose their lives either during or shortly after giving birth.

Mom of four Destiny Root says it’s not easy being a mom in the Magnolia State.

Maternal health resource and food pantry opens in downtown Jackson
Maternal health resource and food pantry opens in downtown Jackson(WLBT)

“I definitely don’t feel like I take care of myself as much as I take care of them,” Root explained.

The biggest cause of the high maternal mortality rate?

“The majority of maternal deaths among Black, non-Hispanic mothers were due to cardiovascular conditions and cardiomyopathy, while deaths among white non-Hispanic mothers are distributed evenly among cardiovascular conditions, embolism, and cerebrovascular accidents,” Jennifer Hopping, Exec. Director of the American Heart Association said.

That’s why the American Heart Association, Magnolia Medical Foundation, and Atmos Energy created a new resource center and food pantry in the capital city.

“We provided blood pressure cuffs for these new moms to learn how to take their blood pressure with a diary to keep up with that because we know hypertension is a huge issue for new moms. We’re able to provide healthy food boxes for these families because we know that if they have access to healthy foods, they can eat better, and hopefully help them to have better health overall,” Hopping explained.

“You have a birth doula, a social worker, you have a diaper drive all under one roof. A lot of these moms are worried about economics; a lot of these moms are stressed out because when you stress out your blood pressure rises,“ Kashuna Watts, a childbirth educator and birth doula, explained.

“They help provide diapers for three of the four. And that has been a huge blessing as far as not having to worry so much,” Root said.

The center is open Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The address is 256 E. Fortification Street in Jackson.

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