Jan, 2021 by Philips Healthcare
Reading time: 5-6 minutes

Making an impact together: partnering to tackle maternal health disparities

March of Dimes event

Imagine walking into a healthcare facility to give birth, and as a result of nothing more than the color of your skin, you are three times more likely to die from pregnancy-related causes than a white woman is. Now consider that Black babies are more than twice as likely as white babies are to die before their first birthdays. This is the reality facing Black women and their children nationwide.2


While the U.S. leads in many areas of healthcare innovation, it also lags behind much of the industrialized world in providing care for some of its most vulnerable populations. Black, Hispanic and Indigenous communities in the U.S. consistently suffer tremendous healthcare disparities in care, coverage and treatment3 – resulting in a greater burden of illness, disability and mortality relative to other groups.


According to a 2020 March of Dimes report, hospital quality also differs greatly between facilities that mainly serve Black, Hispanic or American Indian women compared to a mostly white patient population. This difference in care quality is also compounded by unconscious bias and systemic racism in the U.S., resulting in the perpetuation of myths - even among medical students - like the idea that Black people’s skin is thicker than white people’s.5 These gaps in care and knowledge lead to higher rates of morbidity and mortality for minority women, especially Black women.

Care for all: a commitment to improving maternal health

Moreover, March of Dimes reports that a woman dies every 12 hours from pregnancy-related causes, deaths that could be prevented.Then consider that 1 in 10 babies is born preterm.7 Receiving high-quality healthcare, particularly for expectant mothers and new babies, should not be an outcome dictated by chance, location or skin color. 


Part of accessible care is also mutual trust. Black women have lacked representation in clinical studies as well as in clinical settings8 – care solutions need to meet Black mothers where they are and rebuild their trust in the healthcare system. 


March of Dimes has led the fight for the health of moms and babies for 80 years, touching the lives of millions of children each year.9 They are committed to leveling the playing field for all moms and babies, no matter their age, race or socioeconomic background. They have created several programs and research studies to address racial health disparities in maternal care and support Black patients specifically. At their core, March of Dimes believes that every baby deserves the best possible start. 


Utilizing their deep community reach and nearly a century of expertise, Philips has formed a unique partnership with March of Dimes to fight health disparities for moms and babies. For the last five years, Philips has partnered with March of Dimes and stepped up to offer solutions that bridge the access to the care gap many mothers face in the U.S.

Impact through action

Through the channels created by March of Dimes, Philips is offering tailored resources and high-quality technologies for moms and babies of all backgrounds, with a focus on minority and military moms:

  • Stork’s Nest: A cooperative project of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. and the March of Dimes Foundation, for more than 40 years, Stork’s Nest aims to increase the number of women receiving early and regular prenatal care in an effort to prevent cases of low birth-weight, premature births and infant deaths. The program coordinates care baskets for new moms in underserved communities. The baskets include tablets, software through the Zeta Stork Nest App and maternal curriculum resources. In 2020 and 2021 alone, over 60 nests have been activated for new moms and continue to offer virtual programming throughout the year.
  • Mission: Healthy Baby: In 2020, these military baby showers went virtual and welcomed over 600 attendees to learn about care offerings and health resources for their families. Expectant moms were provided with financial support as well as gift baskets with essentials every new mom needs. They included baby monitors, Sonicare toothbrushes and Avent baby bottles. For an added personal touch, Philips employees donated their time to make handmade baby blankets in each kit. 

Mission: Health Baby candidates

  • Support for #BlanketChange: This campaign calls on policymakers, organizations and community leaders to improve the health of moms and babies across the U.S. by eliminating health and racial disparities that prevent proper and equitable access to care. Maternal Care Legislation, HR 4995 and HR 4996, were passed by the House in 2020 and will be revisited in the Senate in 2021.
  • Donations: With the increased care demand of COVID-19 on an already strained power grid, hospitals in Puerto Rico were forced to ban electric breast pumps. To support new moms and their lactation programs, manual breast pumps were donated to 12 neonatal intensive care units on the island. In addition, baby monitors were donated to Yale New Haven (CT) School of Medicine Mobile Unit Support, which provides postpartum checks to new moms and checkups for newborns unable to seek in-person care – a concern with lockdown measures and social distancing. 

March of Dimes pregnant women

The commitment of March of Dimes to address health and care disparities faced by expectant and new mothers, and their children is unmatched. March of Dimes and Philips together aim to play a unique role in addressing health disparities. We believe that with continued focus we can create a future that is more inclusive of the health needs of all populations and a tomorrow that is healthier for every single mother and baby.

Women in service with Philips Avent

Share this article

To learn more about our work addressing health disparities, please contact:

Sign up to receive news and updates from Philips.

Contact information

* This field is mandatory


Contact details


Company details


You are about to visit a Philips global content page


You are about to visit a Philips global content page


Our site can best be viewed with the latest version of Microsoft Edge, Google Chrome or Firefox.