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Black voters in battleground states are a crucial voting bloc in 2024; Nikki Haley says she's voting for Trump in November; healthcare advocates suggest medical collaboration to treat fibroids; distinct vibes at IU Indianapolis pro-Palestinian protest.

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The House GOP moves to strike mention of Trump's criminal trial from the record, and his former rival Nikki Haley endorses him. Meanwhile, Ohio Republicans reject a legislative fix to ensure Biden's name appears on the November ballot.

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Smokey Bear thought only "you" could prevent forest fires, but mushrooms may also help, a Native American community in Oregon is achieving healthcare sovereignty, and Colorado farmers hope fast-maturing, drought-tolerant seeds will better handle climate change.

Bipartisan KY bill would expand maternal care access

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Friday, April 12, 2024   

In the final days of the legislative session, Kentucky Senate lawmakers could consider the "Momnibus" bill, which would increase access to critical prenatal and post-birth care for new moms and babies.

House Bill 10 would extend the state's voluntary home-visitation program for expectant parents to when a child reachs age three, and would include lactation assistance and telehealth.

Bonnie Logsdon, a board-certified lactation consultant and birth doula, said many women have to return to work a few weeks after giving birth and often lack the tools or knowledge to have a positive lactation experience.

"They need access to those quality supplies," she stressed, "and they need someone who can teach them how to use the pump, which is again where that lactation support would come into play."

The Momnibus bill would add pregnancy to the list of qualifying life events, so pregnant people could get health-insurance coverage and begin prenatal care visits.

Kentucky has the second-highest maternal mortality rate in the nation, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The bill would also expand mental-health counseling through the Lifeline for Moms Psychiatry Access Program.

In Letcher County, Courtney Rhoades said she's had a complex pregnancy, and has struggled to cope with stress and maintaining her physical health. She noted it's critical that first-time moms like herself have a place to turn for support, where they don't feel judged.

"Then to be finding out we're having twins," Rhoades said, "I am really excited to know that there's these programs available that otherwise I didn't know about."

Renee Basham, executive director of Hope's Embrace, said communities increasingly are aware of the role doulas can play in pre- and post-natal care. She added many of her clients need assistance.

"A lot of the clients that we work with, some of them have support, a lot of them don't," said Basham. "Doulas are extra important in that role, because if we weren't there, they wouldn't have anybody with them as they gave birth."

House Bill 10 would open the door to more research on the role of doulas in the birth experience, and how their expertise is being used for care and to reduce disparities in the Commonwealth.


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