New Harris Poll Survey Reveals Critical Need To Educate Americans On Maternal Health; Highlights Urgent Need For Heart Health And Mental Health Education
March of Dimes Celebrity Advocates Shawn Johnson East and Angelina Spicer Share Their Motherhood Journeys
Arlington, VA, May 2, 2023 — March of Dimes, the leading organization fighting for the health of all moms and babies, today announced its fourth annual It Starts With Mom campaign, serving as an educational opportunity to provide the latest maternal health information and resources for moms at each stage of pregnancy. This year’s campaign kicks off on May 11th and will feature discussions and education around a new survey commissioned by March of Dimes, which reveals the critical need to educate Americans on maternal health as well as education and awareness of health concerns for families. Alongside Olympic gymnast, entrepreneur and author Shawn Johnson East and participating speakers and partners, It Starts With Mom is nationally sponsored by Clearblue, EMD Serono and The Honest Company, and provides an opportunity for moms and families to connect to a supportive community.
New survey data, conducted by Harris Poll, revealed that Americans need education on both heart health and mental health for mothers. One-quarter of respondents are not sure when women are most vulnerable to cardiovascular conditions during pregnancy. Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of maternal death, making it critical to educate Americans on this issue. The survey also found that only 42% of Americans are familiar with preeclampsia, a potentially dangerous condition that causes a pregnant woman’s blood pressure to spike and that can lead to preterm birth, heart disease, and other complications. In addition to heart health, the survey found that more than 60% of Americans view postpartum depression and mental health issues as serious problems.
"We need to recognize and address the physical and mental toll mothers across the U.S. are facing before, during, and after pregnancy to ensure they’re well supported,” said Dr. Elizabeth Cherot, Senior Vice President and Chief Medical and Health Officer at March of Dimes. “Management and early intervention of medical conditions can lead to better health outcomes. That’s why we’re raising awareness of the signs and symptoms of the chronic health conditions that put moms and babies most at risk, specifically mental and heart health.”
It Starts With Mom Live will be streamed across March of Dimes, YouTube, LinkedIn, and Facebook channels. The fourth annual event will include a series of panel discussions that features March of Dimes Celebrity Advocate Council Members, East and comedian, activist, and maternal mental health advocate, Angelina Spicer. Each live session will also include clear, simple takeaways for each part of the pregnancy journey to educate and empower moms and moms-to-be to feel confident to take charge of their health.
“I am thrilled to return to this very important event to share my personal experience of pregnancy and childbirth to help others who are on this journey,” said Johnson East. “As a mom of two kids who also experienced a devastating loss, I hope my story can serve to help others.”
Spicer’s experience with postpartum depression is also driving her to help. “Having experienced postpartum depression after my daughter’s birth, I want to normalize the conversation around this issue to spread awareness and action. An estimated 50% of new moms with postpartum depression go untreated and it’s important they know the signs and symptoms in order to get the help they need.”
It Starts With Mom Live schedule:
- May 11 at 3:00 pm ET: What You Need to Know Before You Get Pregnant, moderated by Journalist, Writer, & Motivational Speaker Stacey Skrysak, featuring Shawn Johnson East and Dr. Elizabeth Cherot.
- Having a healthy baby starts before you get pregnant. Together we’ll chat about mental health, cardiovascular issues, chronic health conditions, and how to advocate for yourself.
- May 25 at 3:00 pm ET: What You Need To Know When You're Pregnant, moderated by CNN’s Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen, featuring Stacey Skrysak, Dr. Elizabeth Cherot, and Kaytee Crawford, Certified Birth and Postpartum Doula, Lactation Consultant, and Craniosacral Therapist.
- Preeclampsia is a top individual risk factor for severe maternal morbidity, mortality, and preterm birth and 1 in 7 pregnant women and 1 in 5 pregnant Black women experience hypertensive disorders. We’ll discuss the warning signs, what you can do to lower your risk, and why you shouldn’t skip your prenatal visits.
- June 8 at 3:00 pm ET: What You Need to Know After The Baby Arrives, moderated by Stacey Skrysak, featuring Dr. Elizabeth Cherot and Angelina Spicer.
- While 80% of new parents go through mild mood changes, including the baby blues, 15-20% will face more serious mental health issues. We’ll have an important discussion about postpartum depression and anxiety and how to get help without stigma or shame.
For more information and event details, visit ItStartsWithMom.org where March of Dimes will be arming women and their families with education and resources in both English and Spanish to help every mom and baby have the best possible start.
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 every family can have the best possible start. Building on a successful 85-year legacy, we support every pregnant person and every family. To learn more about March of Dimes, please visit marchofdimes.org.