The ‘Fourth Trimester’

For all the advancements we’ve made in medical care in the United States over the last half century, a shocking fact remains: the U.S. has the highest maternal mortality rate than any other developed country. Each year, thousands of women suffer injuries or complications of childbirth with women of color impacted at double the rate as their white counterparts. And in Texas, insurance coverage and access to quality care for low-income women further exacerbate maternal health challenges postpartum. Yet, unlike diseases for which we have no cure, the answers to decreasing maternal mortality and morbidity are within our reach.

We believe healthy women are the cornerstone of healthy families, communities and economies. We are committed to enabling access to services that allow women to care for their health and well-being, as well as their families.

This includes improving women’s health throughout the vital postpartum period with a focus on women of color who disproportionately experience health inequities in access and outcomes. We work alongside our partners to empower women to attain good health, advance health equity and build capacity within community-based organizations to help more women and babies stay healthy through their first year.

However, amidst this time of uncertainty and sheltering in place, mothers are cut off from the support they can typically rely on from friends and relatives. Under normal circumstances, the weeks and months after childbirth – the fourth trimester – are a time of emotional and physical change. COVID-19 has left many new mothers to navigate these changes on their own. Through these stories, we hope to share the resilience of our Central Texas community and shine a light on the faces and the voices of those who are pivoting and creatively finding ways to provide services to those that need it most.

It is with deep gratitude and our unwavering commitment that we call out for a continued Focus on the Fourth.


Healthier Moms, Healthier Babies

St. David’s Foundation launched the Focus on the Fourth funding initiative in 2018 to support maternal health during the “fourth trimester”, the year after childbirth, for women experiencing the greatest health disparities, especially women of color. The initiative has funded grants to 10 organizations totaling more than $2 million.

Explore below how four nonprofits are making a difference in the health of Central Texas women and their families.