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Iowa organization receives grant from National Institute of Health to address maternal morbidity


The Iowa chapter of Postpartum Support International has received a $10,000 grant from the National Institutes of Health to support its Iowa Maternal Group Initiative.

The initiative addresses rural maternal morbidity through in-person support groups. PSI-Iowa works to increase awareness and support for perinatal mental health and well-being.

With the grant, PSI-Iowa now advances to the final research phase of the NIH’s Connecting the Community for Maternal Health Challenge, which will award up to 10 organizations with $150,000 in funding to implement their projects.

The NIH challenge is part of an initiative that was created in 2019 in response to the high rates of pregnancy-related complications and death.

“Maternal mental health conditions are the most common health complications of pregnancy and postpartum,” said Stacey Pawlak, PSI-Iowa board member and director of Women’s Wellness and Counseling Service at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics. “One in five birthing people will experience a mental health condition in the first year after birth, but only 15% will ever receive treatment. Because of Iowa’s maternal health deserts, our state’s rural mothers face substantial barriers in receiving mental health screening and treatment that would benefit them and their babies.”

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