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The State Committee for Women and Children unanimously approved Fr. bill last week, which sponsors said would make prenatal care in New Jersey fairer, especially for colored people.

This will require obstetricians to report a number of delivery options, including scheduled hospital deliveries or emergency cesarean sections, water deliveries that can take place at home or in a hospital – with or without medication – among others. They will also be required to provide information on the health risks to pregnant patients and infants associated with each option, and appropriate medications. It will also require them to work with health insurance companies to report how much the different options cost.

The bill’s sponsor, assembly member Britney Timberlake (D-Essex), said her own pregnancy experience inspired her.

“When I was sworn in by the Assembly, I was in my ninth month of pregnancy,” Timberlake said. “I wanted to give birth to natural water births. And I used a lot of research, tools, and resources to create a community around me that could safely support me in my birth and desire.

“I acknowledged that I have the privilege of being able to explore and build a village around me that other women may not have had,” she said.

More delivery options

Timberlake, a former black activist from East Orange who has experience advocating for color communities, said the bill would give expectant mothers more choices when deciding to have a baby.

“This bill requires doctors and midwives to work with insurance companies in which insurance companies will collect data for all the different delivery options they will pay for a woman, and a doctor or midwife will have to talk to a pregnant woman … about all of her different options for childbirth, ”Timberlake said.

The bill also requires doctors and midwives to provide this information in English, Spanish, Arabic, Brazilian Portuguese, Chinese, Creole, Portuguese, French and Korean.

Jay Wilson is the founder Stranded moms, a community organization that supports and empowers colored moms. Gov. Phil Murphy also appointed her Collaboration on the quality of maternity care in New Jerseywhich was created to improve the health of pregnant women and lower the condition high maternal mortality rates. In 2013 37 out of 100,000 women died during pregnancy, childbirth or within a year after giving birth, according to NJ Spotlight News, and the death rate for black women was nearly four times higher than for white women.

According to, Black babies die three times more often than white babies before their first birthday. “Inadequate antenatal care” has been cited as one of the causes of the disparity.

Awareness raising

Wilson said Melinated Moms is a proponent of health equity and is working to raise awareness of the problems of childbirth for colored pregnant women.

“One of the most common questions we hear is,‘ Where do I find a person who will appreciate the type of birth I want to have? ’” Wilson said. “Because their previous birth experiences were negative or, if this is their first birth, they were so afraid to hear other people’s injuries that they don’t want to go unprepared for it.”

Wilson said her group supports Timberlake legislation.

«[It’s] Recognizing that in order for women to make health care decisions, they must be in a language they read and understand. It should be provided by people who are reliable partners in helping. And that requires that their health insurance providers continue to have the same level of transparency, ”Wilson said.

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