Dr. Kristin Tully is faculty in the UNC Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and a member of the Collaborative for Maternal and Infant Health at UNC-Chapel Hill. Dr. Tully is a medical anthropologist who seeks to enable health by improving health care services over the “1,000 days” continuum of pregnancy, birth, and postpartum. She is interested in understanding human needs around the perinatal period of the life course, from the perspectives of birthing parents, infants, and those supporting them.
Her research addresses topics such as breastfeeding outcomes, mother-infant safety, sleep practices, maternal health, and transitions through health care, to establish more patient- and family-centered care. The objective is to advance equity by identifying metrics for accountability and continual improvement in health systems.
This episode offers an important conversation about the state of postpartum care in our country. It is so enlightening to hear all the ways Dr. Tully and her colleagues are working to improve care in the fourth trimester and beyond. We hope you leave feeling just as inspired and hopeful as we did.
- The importance of having an inner purpose
- Role of medical anthropologist
- Need to put moms and her key support at the center of the medical system of postpartum care
- The role of science in shaping how we approach different aspects of motherhood, and assessing who we are using as the “norm” in the collection of data and how that impacts the results.
- The set-up of hospitals and birthing centers, and how that impacts the system of care.
- We are just as dependent on each other after birth as we are during pregnancy, it just looks different. The current lack of support in the fourth trimester is unacceptable.
- The Fourth Trimester Project and the work they are doing to change the healthcare system
- How language of things like intake forms can make a big difference in what information a mom chooses to share
- The importance of services like doulas and interpretation services, and the need to better integrate them into the system and provide living wages for the people in those fields.
- The need to change the standard of care to center the marginalized and oppressed in order to make sure every mom receives the care she needs and deserves.
- The need for credible, trusted resources for moms and how the formatting and placement of those resources can make a difference.
- The importance of sharing our story and how we can each drive change in postpartum care by helping other moms know they are not alone.