Health & Exercise

Maternal Well-Being In Indiana ~ Ink Spot

The following is a message from Cameual Wright, MD, MBA, Chief Medical Officer for CareSource Indiana, submitted by Fort Wayne Ink Spot.

Maternal health serves as a cornerstone of public health, reflecting not only the well-being of individual mothers and their babies, but the health and strength of Hoosier communities as a whole. According to the Indiana University Public Policy Institute’s Center for Research on Inclusion and Social Policy, Indiana has the third highest maternal mortality rate among all reporting states. As a gynecologist and obstetrician who has cared for Hoosier women my entire medical career, that is a hard statistic for me to read and one I am committed to changing.

Prioritizing maternal health is essential in promoting health equity. Often, women from marginalized communities face disproportionate barriers to accessing maternal health care services. This can lead to poor health outcomes for themselves and their babies and, at worse, cost them their lives.

The Indiana Maternal Mortality Review Committee (MMRC) found that in 2020, 92 women in our state died from pregnancy-associated deaths during pregnancy or within one year of it. The MMRC’s findings also showed that Black women experienced the highest ratio of pregnancy-related deaths at 128.8 pregnancy-associated deaths per 100,000 live births. Importantly, the MMRC determined 79% of the reviewed pregnancy-associated deaths in 2020 were preventable.

Common causes of maternal death include mental health conditions, hemorrhages, blood clots, high blood pressure, and cardiac or coronary conditions. Maternal mental health refers to the emotional and psychological well-being of women during pregnancy, childbirth and the postpartum period.

As a nonprofit managed care entity, CareSource has nurses, social workers and community health workers who work with mothers one-on-one to help coordinate both their health and non-health care needs. Care coordinators work closely with health care providers to address possible barriers to care and support maternal health throughout pregnancy.

Access to quality care and addressing underlying health disparities are crucial elements in reducing maternal mortality rates. Efforts include increasing access to prenatal care, improving the quality of maternal health care services, addressing social determinants of health, and promoting awareness about maternal health issues.

CareSource provides comprehensive coverage for prenatal care services, including prenatal visits, screenings, ultrasounds and more. Care coordination services are available for pregnant women to ensure they receive appropriate and timely prenatal care, screenings, and interventions. In addition, we support families through a variety of incentives and enhanced benefits. Our Babies First and Kids First programs offer incentives for healthy behaviors. We also provide unlimited free transportation to the hospital for families with infants in the NICU and infant scales at home to monitor the growth and well-being of newborns, demonstrating our commitment to the well-being of Hoosier mothers and their children.

CareSource prioritizes the importance of postpartum care also and provides coverage for postpartum visits, screenings, and support services because maternal mental health disorders can have significant consequences for women’s well-being after they give birth. Depression and anxiety can lead to feelings of sadness and hopelessness. We collaborate with community organizations, health care providers and advocacy groups to encourage this care and support maternal health initiatives statewide.

Research, screenings, intervention and advocacy efforts are essential in turning around bad health outcomes, so is reducing stigma and ensuring that all mothers receive the support and care they need for themselves and their children. How we care for pregnant moms, new moms and their babies is how we care for the future of our state. They deserve our best.

This column is sponsored by The Fort Wayne Ink Spot, a black-owned Indiana newspaper focusing on regional and national stories, especially those impacting African Americans and minorities. This collaboration with The Waynedale News aims to promote diversity, inclusivity, and appreciation for the local black community by representing all residents’ voices, unity and understanding flourish. Follow FWIS on Facebook and Instagram, or find a retailer at

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Cameual Wright, MD, MBA

FWIS is a black-owned, Indiana based newspaper that discusses regional and national stories that highlight individuals in the community as well as topics that affect African Americans (and other minority groups). > Read Full Biography > More Articles Written By This Writer