POSITIVELY THE HEARTLAND: Malone Maternal Wellness bridging gap in maternal healthcare

Posted at 7:24 AM, May 12, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-12 08:24:46-04

LINCOLN, Neb. (KMTV) — Satta Nwanya says throughout her earlier pregnancies, there were a lot of unknowns in the labor room.

“I felt like whatever doctors and nurses, it was just like something they had to do," Nwanya said.

But this time around she had the help of the Malone Maternal Wellness care team in Lincoln.

Their childbirth doulas empowered her to ask questions and advocate for her medical care.

“I got more information from the doulas that I had options like, you don’t have to agree to everything," Nwayna said. "And I know my rights. "She encouraged me to always ask, 'What’s the benefit of this? Do I have to do this?' and that helped a lot.”

The care team, comprised entirely of people of color, aims to bridge the gap when it comes to maternal health. Auriel Logenstein, a breastfeeding educator and postpartum doula with the center, says that makes clients feel more at ease and more understood in their specific concerns.

“Our care basically looks like the people we serve," Logenstein said "So if you are in your delivery room, there is somebody that would be able to represent you in your same race.”

The free program reserves 80% of its spaces for Black mothers and 20% for indigenous mothers and mothers of color who face higher rates of maternal and infant mortality and are less likely to breastfeed than white mothers.

The program offers not only childbirth doulas but breastfeeding support, birthing classes, and postpartum doulas who will come to the family’s home up to six weeks after delivery to provide essentials and emotional support.

“When you become a new mother, it’s a journey on its own," Logenstein said. "And so being able to set them up for success is really what we strive to do.”

Satta's husband, Victor, says having the help of the center, especially during COVID when family support is limited, made their experience so much easier.

“I have not experienced this much support before with any of our kids," Nwayna said. "I’ve not, never. It’s new.”

The Nwaynas say they hope other families can find their support system and are telling their friends about the program.

The Malone Maternal Wellness team has recently expanded to the Omaha area and is operating out of the CHI clinic on 24th and Cuming.

They’re eager to help even more clients and provide a support network for families in Omaha.

Those interested in the services can find contact program director Jillian Boldt at 402-318-7541.

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