March of Dimes Aims to Improve Health of DC Moms and Babies and Reduce Health Disparities

March for Babies: A Mother of a Movement Event™ Set for May 7

ARLINGTON, Va., May 5, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — March of Dimes is gearing up for March for Babies: A Mother of a Movement™, sponsored by Gerber, in Washington, DC to support families throughout their pregnancy journey and raise critical funds to improve health outcomes for moms and babies. March for Babies — which will feature the Mobile Health Center — is a time to honor motherhood, babies and families and come together with thousands of others to share experiences while raising vital funds to help every mom and baby.

Maternal mortality rates are on the rise nationwide and the latest March of Dimes Report Card shows DC has a 9.8% preterm birth rate, earning the district a C grade. In DC, the preterm birth rate for Black women is 85% higher than the rate among all other women. A new study published by the Maternal Mortality Review Committee on April 29 showed that Black women accounted for 90% of pregnancy-related deaths in DC.

“The preterm birth rates and pregnancy-related deaths among Black women in DC are alarming and unacceptable,” said Tina Cavucci, Senior Executive Director for March of Dimes DC-Maryland Markets. “Our march in DC will serve as a chance to highlight the things we’ve accomplished so far – and to emphasize all the work that still needs to be done to fight for the health of all moms and babies.”

March of Dimes is spearheading several initiatives in the area, beginning with the Mama & Baby Bus Mobile Health Center which provides free health care to uninsured and underinsured patients across the DC area. In 2021, the March of Dimes Mama & Baby Bus provided 986 patient visits; over 80% of visits were provided to pregnant women, including prenatal and postpartum visits. The program supported a very high-need population of pregnant patients, with over 90% of patients unemployed and 97% uninsured at the first visit. This is in addition to the program’s work in including prenatal care, postpartum care and well-woman care at the Marshall Heights Community Development Organization, Far Southeast Family Strengthening Collaborative and University of Maryland Capital Region Health.

“As a mother of twin boys born at just 23 weeks, I know first-hand about the kind and compassionate care that lies at the core of the March of Dimes,” said Mekka Raqib, a local mother who has experienced the turmoil of having children in the newborn intensive care unit (NICU). 

Raqib unfortunately lost her son Nasir Eli after six months. His brother Said Ali was able to go home after five and a half months and is now a healthy young boy. “With each passing year, I understand the mission of March of Dimes needs our continuous support and advocacy.”

Additionally, as part of March of Dimes’ commitment to mothers and babies, March of Dimes offers a NICU Family Support® Program, which supports more than 50,000 families each year in more than 70 hospital partner sites by increasing families’ knowledge and confidence to care for their baby while in the NICU. In the DC area, there are five NICU Family Support Programs, all of which will be represented at this year’s March for Babies. Additionally, the area has six Supportive Pregnancy Care Programs, eight Storks Nests Programs to support low-income pregnant women and Better Starts for All, an initiative designed to ensure all moms and babies in the US, especially those with the greatest need, have the best start in life.

March for Babies is scheduled for Saturday, May 7 at 9:30 am at Nationals Park, 1500 S. Capitol St. SE in Washington, DC. For those interested in participating or donating, please visit marchforbabies.org.

About March of Dimes
March of Dimes leads the fight for the health of all moms and babies. We support research, lead programs and provide education and advocacy so that moms are healthy and every baby can have the best possible start. Building on a successful 80-year legacy of impact and innovation, we empower every mom and every family.

Visit marchofdimes.org or nacersano.org for more information. Visit shareyourstory.org for comfort and support. Find us on Facebook and follow us on Instagram and Twitter.

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SOURCE March of Dimes Inc.

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