LOUISVILLE, Ky. — A Kentucky organization aiming to help disadvantaged mothers before and after childbirth continues to expand services.
Alexa Hughes started Granny’s Birth Initiative in 2018 after seeing the need first-hand through her work as a doula. She worked with families who needed essentials like diapers, formula and clothes. At the same time, she also worked with families who had a lot of goods they no longer needed once their baby got older.
“I became the middleman. My house became a hoarder space of it,” said Hughes.
Since that time, Granny’s Birth Initiative moved into a location on Barret Avenue in Louisville. At that site, there is a Maternity Pantry where mothers or caretakers can come once a month to stock up on things they may need for themselves or their infant.
Right now, that pantry is open Monday-Friday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Appointments are encouraged.
“If it’s a new month and there’s a new need, we hope to see you here,” said Hughes.
You can donate items like baby clothes, maternity clothes, bottles, pacifiers, diapers, wipes, books, cribs and more. You can bring larger items to the organization’s main location. Smaller items can be donated at the Logan Street Market drop-off site.
The organization also hosts an annual Black Maternal Health Fair. This year, that event will take place on Oct. 7.
The Commonwealth Fund reports the U.S. has the highest maternal mortality rate of any high-income country. CDC data show Black women are 2.5 times more likely to die from pregnancy-related complications.
“Kentucky is more prone to these issues due to the fact that we have more rural areas that do not have access to health care. And in our urban areas they may not have access to health care, but not access to organic healthy foods. Then on top of that, there is systemic racism that has been affecting Black birthing bodies, unfortunately,” explained Hughes.
Granny’s Birth Initiative’s newest effort, Doula Dash aims to solve the problem of access to health care. It provides rides to and from prenatal and postpartum appointments, childbirth education classes, lactation appointments, newborn and infant appointments, parental support groups and alternative healing, such as pelvic floor therapy. The rides must be scheduled one day in advance.
By improving access to health care and providing resources, Hughes hopes to improve outcomes for mothers and their babies.