In Focus: What to Expect Project
By Claire Lorenzetti and Wyatt Murkoff
On July 20, the What to Expect Project (WTEP) celebrated its 8th annual #BumpDay – a social media advocacy campaign that celebrates healthy pregnancies while raising critically needed awareness about the need for better, more equitable, more accessible maternal healthcare. Every maternal death is heartbreaking, but every death that could have been prevented with the proper care is unacceptable. Our goal is to ensure that every mom, everywhere receives the care and support needed to deliver a healthy start in life and a healthy future.
This year’s campaign focused on the ongoing crisis in maternal mortality and the urgent need to reverse disparities in care among Black, American Indian/Alaska Native, and rural moms. Not only does the U.S. have the highest maternal mortality rate in the developed world, but it is the only high-income country where it continues to rise. The need for action extends beyond the U.S. Around the world, more than 800 women die from pregnancy or childbirth-related complications every day. Over two-thirds of these deaths are preventable, as are most long-term health consequences for both mother and baby.
Each #BumpDay, millions of moms and moms-to-be take to social media to post a photo of a bump (current or past, theirs or of someone they love) and share messages of support and/or their personal stories. Our partners, consisting of fellow health organizations and advocacy groups (full list can be found here), share their organization’s efforts to improve maternal outcomes and a message about why maternal health is important to them.
#BumpDay is also an opportunity for members of Congress to demonstrate their commitment to improving maternal health. Last year, we worked with members from across the aisle to introduce a bipartisan resolution supporting the ideals of #BumpDay.
This year’s #BumpDay took on even greater significance, coming just weeks after the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, removing federal protection of reproductive rights. The decision is expected to have devastating impacts on maternal health, further worsening rates of maternal mortality and morbidity – especially for our most at-risk moms. This is as we continue to grapple with the lingering impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, straining healthcare systems and widening the already vast gaps in maternal healthcare. These threats underscore why the message of #BumpDay is so critical – that it is our collective responsibility to prioritize reproductive health for everyone and to end all preventable maternal deaths.
Let’s keep the urgency of our mission — and the spirit of #BumpDay — in our hearts every day.