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Exceptional Care That Transforms.

Memorial Health System Launches “I Gave Birth” Initiative

Addressing maternal healthcare challenges and improving early recognition for safer outcomes


GULFPORT, Miss. – January 25, 2024 – Memorial is launching a campaign to educate everyone—mothers, families, friends, providers, and the community—about the unique challenges women face in the first year after delivery. Giving birth should be a joyous, natural experience, but medical challenges often disrupt this precious event. Despite advancements, the United States grapples with one of the highest maternal mortality/morbidity rates globally, surpassing some third-world countries.

I Gave Birth Bracelet

A simple yet impactful step involves providing new mothers with a bracelet. Memorial’s Director of Women & Children Services Deborah Davis says, “This visual cue serves a dual purpose: it identifies recent childbirth and prompts healthcare professionals to consider this factor in medical evaluations. The aim is to expedite accurate diagnoses and treatments, fostering a safer maternal healthcare environment.”

Davis continues, “We will give the bracelet to patients during their discharge education. We are trying to make identification of our moms easier to ensure they are getting the assessment and treatment they need during this vulnerable stage of life.”

Notably, Memorial Health System saw a 34 percent increase in deliveries in 2023 compared to 2022. In addition, Memorial and the University of Mississippi Medical Center announced that Dr. James Bofill, a maternal-fetal medicine specialist, would begin offering clinic in Biloxi and Gulfport to support high-risk moms and babies.

To foster a healthier maternal community, education is paramount. Cardiovascular disease, gestational hypertension, and postpartum hemorrhage are the top contributors to maternal mortality/morbidity. The top five warning signs of maternal mortality/morbidity include:

  1. Chest pain
  2. Seizures or headache
  3. Thoughts of harming yourself of others
  4. Uncontrollable bleeding
  5. Fever of 100.4 or higher

Davis continues, “Most people don’t understand the complexity of a woman’s body, including the changes it goes through during pregnancy and the quick return to normal status. It is truly a remarkable process, but so much can go wrong. Our goal is to equip our moms with the knowledge they need to achieve a healthy outcome. Mississippi, particularly, faces alarming statistics, with African American women four times more likely to experience postpartum issues, and up to 80% of cases being preventable. Early recognition is pivotal for prevention. Both mothers and healthcare providers play crucial roles in identifying warning signs and ensuring timely evaluation and treatment, and we hope this initiative inspires those steps to take place.”

To learn more about Memorial’s Women’s Health services, visit wearememorial.com/service/womens-health/.

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ABOUT MEMORIAL

Memorial Health System has been serving the Mississippi Gulf Coast since 1946. Located in Gulfport, Mississippi, Memorial is a not-for-profit medical complex jointly owned by the City of Gulfport and Harrison County. Memorial includes two hospitals licensed for 328 beds, a state-designated Level II Trauma Center, two nursing centers, four outpatient surgery centers, satellite outpatient diagnostic and rehabilitation centers, and more than 100 Memorial Physician Clinics. Memorial offers several of the region’s most comprehensive clinical programs and medical specialties unique to the area, including the Coast’s only Level III Neonatal ICU and Mississippi’s first nationally-certified Primary Stroke Center. Visit wearememorial.com to learn more.

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