Iowa advocacy groups that focus on improving maternal and infant health are coming together tomorrow for the inaugural Maternal and Infant Health Day at the Iowa Capitol in Des Moines.

Members of the public who wish to share their postpartum stories or voice their support of policies that will improve maternal and infant health outcomes can join the event from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Iowa Capitol Rotunda.

This bipartisan event will focus on policies to improve the maternal health of Iowa’s pregnant and postpartum women, which will also lower infant mortality rates and create better economic outcomes for the state’s small businesses, according to a news release by the groups.

Members of Postpartum Support International (PSI-IA), the International Cesarean Awareness Network of Central Iowa (ICAN) and the Des Moines Midwife Collective organized the event.

“Policies we’ll be speaking with legislators about include expanding postpartum Medicaid coverage, allowing birth centers to be built without a certificate of need and retaining the state’s newly appointed Midwifery Advisory Council,” Rachel Bruns, leader of the International Cesarean Awareness Network of Central Iowa, said in a prepared statement. “All of these action items support the physical and mental health of Iowa’s parents, which also positively affects their children and the state’s economy.”

The group will be voicing their support of HSB 500, a bill that would extend Medicaid coverage to women 12 months postpartum instead of the current 60 days. Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds spoke favorably of the expansion in her 2024 Condition of the State address. Reynolds proposed lowering the income eligibility for this coverage.

Maternal and infant health advocates at the Capitol will be voicing support to keep the current eligibility requirements for several reasons, according to a news release by the advocacy groups.

“Medicaid covers almost 50% of the births in our state, and it’s basic health care coverage for many working moms who don’t have health insurance options through their employer,” Brittney Haskins, PSI-IA’s board chair, said in a prepared statement. “Further limiting who can access medical care after having a baby will have negative effects on Iowa’s moms, which in turn creates poorer outcomes for their infants.”