January 19, 2023

Bobbie for Change Elevates Elaine Welteroth’s Birth Story to Fight for Improved Black Maternal Care and Policy Change in the US

Today, Bobbie for Change, the social impact arm of infant formula brand Bobbie is proud to elevate award-winning journalist and Bobbie MotherBoard activist Elaine Welteroth’s story of self-advocacy in pregnancy and childbirth. Her never-before-shared first-person story and choice to rely on midwifery outside of the hospital system was rooted in protecting herself and her baby against the backdrop of the horrifying realities of maternal mortality in the U.S. — the very same cause that inspired the establishment of nonprofit 4Kira4Moms in 2017.

“Bobbie has never been about just selling formula. We exist to uplevel this industry. That’s why we founded Bobbie for Change, our social impact and policy arm, which helps drive societal change about the issues impacting our community and motherhood”

The U.S. has the worst maternal death rate of any industrialized country, and recent research shows it’s getting worse. While the global maternal mortality rate is decreasing, the U.S. is one of the few countries where it is actually climbing, at a rate of 30% in just the past 15 years. This crisis disproportionately impacts Black families and mothers — who are three to four times more likely than white women to die from pregnancy-related causes. Further, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that 84% of maternal deaths in the U.S. are classified as “preventable.” Bobbie for Change, Elaine Welteroth, and 4Kira4Moms believe this is unacceptable.

“There's this idea that if you have a certain amount of education or a certain network or a certain status, maybe the stats don't apply to you. But you would be gravely mistaken. Today’s healthcare system simply does not advantage Black women,” said Elaine Welteroth, award-winning journalist. Bobbie MotherBoard activist, and mom. “I wanted my birth to feel safe and sacred. I could not find that in the hospital system as it currently exists. But I felt empowered when I came to realize the power that midwives give back to birthing people — especially women of color — seeking a positive childbirth experience. I chose to work with Kimberly Durdin, co-founder of Los Angeles’ Kindred Space LA birthing center and her incredible team of midwives. And it was the best decision of my life.”

The latest data shows that deaths from complications related to pregnancy in the U.S. can be reduced by ensuring that all women have access to primary care, expanding and diversifying the maternal care workforce, and providing access to comprehensive postpartum support. Studies also show that including midwives in healthcare systems could prevent more than 80% of maternal deaths. Unfortunately, the United States only has about four midwives per 1,000 births while many European countries have five to 10 times that.

In 2016, Charles Johnson lost his wife Kira during a routine C-section at Cedar Sinai hospital in Los Angeles, California. He founded 4Kira4Moms in 2017 as a response to his experience, to be a voice for other mothers and families facing unnecessary maternal loss, and putting an end to the maternal mortality health crisis. Since inception, Johnson has testified twice before Congress where 4Kira4Moms advocated in support of key legislation including the Preventing Maternal Death Act of 2018, the Protecting Moms Who Served Act of 2021, and the Momnibus Act, which was introduced in 2021, with broad support, but has since stalled in Congress. Comprehensive legislation of this type, supporting the maternal mortality crisis, needs additional support to ensure it is passed at a federal level.

How to help? Write to or call your representatives today, asking them to be co-sponsors of the bill and join the Black maternal health caucus. Stronger together, 4Kira4Moms, Bobbie for Change and Welteroth are getting loud and taking action on behalf of families across the country — now more than ever, we need all voices, from parents and allies alike, to do the same.

4Kira4Moms is launching a new program — the Maternal Mortality Family Response Team — providing a full year of support via grief counseling, diapers, formula, food, and other essentials to care for and nourish babies and families who experience the tragedy of maternal loss through childbirth. Bobbie is proud to support in building this initiative by providing organic infant formula to each family for the entirety of the infant’s feeding journey to ensure their needs are met and to offer peace of mind. To support the response team directly, donate to 4Kira4Moms.

“It’s imperative that when we discuss the grave realities of why our organization exists that we highlight what we can do to change the situation. We’re currently working with Congress to pass key legislation — the Black Maternal Health Momnibus Act — an unprecedented set of bills addressing every aspect of the maternal health crisis currently happening in America. It was introduced a year ago and though it has not been finalized, together we can ensure it is passed into federal law,” said Charles Johnson, 4Kira4Moms Founder and dad of two.

“Bobbie has never been about just selling formula. We exist to uplevel this industry. That’s why we founded Bobbie for Change, our social impact and policy arm, which helps drive societal change about the issues impacting our community and motherhood,” said Laura Modi, CEO and co-founder of Bobbie and mother of three. “The maternal mortality crisis in this country is one of the issues that keeps us up at night. Ensuring a safe, equitable and empowering birth, especially for Black mothers, is of critical importance and we’re here to fight for it.”

Visit www.4kira4moms.com to learn more about their mission — and to donate directly and join Elaine and Bobbie for Change in this fight, please visit https://www.bobbieforchange.org.

From Milk to Movement