The New Jersey Perinatal Care During COVID-19 Work Group led by the New Jersey Health Care Quality Institute (NJHCQI) published a series of recommendations to ensure safe and equitable care for pregnant individuals and infants throughout the current pandemic. Funded by The Nicholson Foundation, the report is divided into different topics and appendices for use by health care workers, policy makers, providers, and other audiences.
“Pregnancy and childbirth can bring joy, of course, but also some apprehension, even in normal times,” said Linda Schwimmer, President and CEO of NJHCQI. “The pandemic adds a new level of uncertainty. This document is intended to let people understand what their care will look like and to understand what will happen during each step of pregnancy and childbirth. We hope that having that understanding will keep people safe, ease anxiety, and improve the birth experience.”
The Work Group is comprised of 43 subject matter experts who represent sectors that include health care and social service providers serving mothers and babies, immunologists, state government leaders, and grantmakers.
“Pregnant women and their children were already an important focus for New Jersey, given the high rates of maternal morbidity and mortality and the alarming racial disparities that pre-existed COVID-19,” said Raquel Mazon Jeffers, Senior Program Officer at The Nicholson Foundation. “The guidance assembled by this multi-stakeholder Work Group will ensure emerging practices and national developments are disseminated and support the Nurture NJ campaign’s efforts to improve maternal health outcomes across New Jersey.”
The report and recommendations were drafted to align with the work of Nurture NJ, a campaign led by First Lady of New Jersey, Tammy Snyder Murphy, to make New Jersey the safest place in the country to give birth. Working together with the Office of the First Lady and the New Jersey Departments of Health and Human Services, The Nicholson Foundation and the Community Health Acceleration Partnership (CHAP) are supporting the development of a comprehensive, statewide strategic plan to reduce maternal mortality by 50 percent over five years and eliminate racial disparities in birth outcomes.
“The First Lady’s leadership on this issue has been catalytic and we look forward to building a coalition of support to implement these recommendations and advance the longer-term policies that will be needed to address the increasing vulnerability of pregnant women and new moms in New Jersey,” said Wendy McWeeny, Vice President of CHAP.