Leading Maternal & Infant Health Charities & Organizations

Get involved with these advocacy groups that are making a difference

Children and women worldwide are affected by many medical conditions, poverty, and other risks that endanger their lives and those of their families. Therefore, charities that serve these women and babies play an important role in global health—helping prevent and treat medical conditions and preserving the lives of those they cater. 

Whether you're looking to get involved in giving back to future and current generations or just want to learn more about what kind of charities are dedicated to the health of infants and women, here is a list of the top organizations: 

Every Mother Counts

In the U.S. alone, two women die every day from childbirth. And worldwide, pregnancy is a leading cause of death for women in developing countries who are between the ages of 15 and 19. Every Mother Counts is a non-profit that aims to make pregnancy safe for every mother, everywhere. You can donate directly to this non-profit, get involved in charity fundraises such as runs, browse their online shop of products like bags and baby wraps, or become an advocate. 

UNICEF

UNICEF operates in 190 countries and territories and helps keep children safe and healthy through initiatives to provide safe water, hygiene, nutrition, health, and protective services. The organization notes that, worldwide, 1.4 million children are at risk of dying from starvation and malnutrition right now—the risk is that severe.

In addition to helping feed starving children, UNICEF helps kids have the right to be kids. They work to provide children with some sense of "normalcy" through toys, play, and safe spaces. Donate a meal, volunteer, or become an advocate and start helping today.

Smile Train

Smile Train is an international children's organization with a sustainable approach to a single, solvable problem: cleft lip and palate. According to the organization, millions of children in developing countries with untreated clefts live in isolation, but, more importantly, have difficulty eating, breathing, and speaking.

Cleft repair surgery is simple and the transformation is immediate. Smile Train’s sustainable model provides training, funding, and resources to empower local doctors in over 85 developing countries to provide 100 percent free cleft repair surgery and comprehensive cleft care in their own communities. To date, Smile Train has provided more than one million children with life-changing surgeries. Donate online or learn about the other ways to get involved on their site.

CARE

This non-profit aims to end poverty by equipping families worldwide with the tools for change. CARE operates in 94 countries, reaching more than 80 million people through nearly 1,000 life-saving projects. 

Their scope is broad, but they do significant work for women, mothers, and children, as they are most at-risk in developing countries. They realize that no family can be healthy financially if they are not first healthy physically—and that almost always starts with the mother. Educate yourself on the impact of maternal morbidity or get involved with a gift sponsorship. 

The National Partnership for Women & Families

The U.S. is the single only industrialized country in the world that does not have any kind of guaranteed maternity or parental leave. And the impacts of the lack of leave are huge. Mothers are either forced to return to work too soon or forced to drop out of work because they cannot afford childcare. This lowers their economic status, places their entire family at risk for less earnings, and lowers breastfeeding rates. In turn, this leads to rising infant illness rates and a higher prevalence of postpartum and other mental health disorders among mothers.

The National Partnership for Women & Families is a nonprofit, nonpartisan 501(c)(3) organization that works on several initiatives to help mothers and children, including a push for national maternity and parental leave for everyone. Donate, get involved, or just educate yourself on the impact of a lack of maternity leave.

Postpartum Support International

Postpartum depression is one of the most dangerous risks to women who have had a baby. Unfortunately, it's also one of the least treated and recognized because there's still so much we don't understand about it. 

Postpartum Support International (PSI) is the world’s leading non-profit organization dedicated to assisting mothers suffering from pregnant or perinatal and postnatal mood disorders, which includes postpartum depression and so much more. They offer training, resources, and active help to these women. You can donate to PSI, become a member, find a training event, attend their annual conference, or find help if you are a mother in need. 

National Diaper Bank Network

Diapers are something that some parents don't twice about. But, one in three Americans report being in need of clean diapers for their baby—that's a huge number that is shrouded in shame. The National Diaper Bank Network aims to connect families in need with clean diapers. 

The charity points out that the work they do is about so much more than "just diapers"—it affects everything. For example, parents and caregivers may not be able to send their children to childcare without a diaper. This, in turn, can bring down the family's ability to attend school or work. Get involved or donate a diaper today.  

Hayes Foundation

SIDS is still the leading cause of death for newborns and infants under the age of one. And many of the deaths from SIDS are, sadly, preventable. The Hayes Foundation was started after founder Kyra Oliver's 4½-month-old son passed away from SIDS on June 11, 2002. The foundation does hands-on initiatives, such as passing out onesies that read "This Side Up" to encourage parents to place their babies on their backs to sleep as well as educating and providing research on SIDS. Donate, purchase, or sponsor a "This Side UP" onesie. 

March of Dimes

Many of us have heard of the March of Dimes and for good reason. They are the world's leading non-profit promoting the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth, and infant mortality. 

This organization is especially focused on the issue of prematurity. They do a lot of education and research on prematurity prevention and solving medical issues for infants born prematurely. Donate to the March of Dimes or get involved through volunteer opportunities that you can do with the whole family. There is a search tool on their website to find an event near you. 

Homeless Prenatal Program

Although the Homeless Prenatal Program (HPP) isn't national, it's an important charity focused on helping one of the most vulnerable groups of mothers out there: homeless mothers. According to its website, more than 4,000 families access HPP’s services each year, with nearly 200 families coming to HPP for the first time every month. Volunteer if you're local to San Francisco, organize an event, or donate directly to this non-profit. 

Flint Child Health & Development Fund

Thousands of children in Flint, Michigan have been exposed to dangerous levels of lead in their water as a result of the Flint Water Crisis. The Flint Child Health & Development Fund has been created to help children deal with the side effects of lead exposure, which can cause behavior problems, decreased I.Q., and many other issues. A donation will help fund education interventions, health care, nutrition, healthy home visits, and research. Donate or find out more about how lead affects developing children. 

Save the Babies Through Screening Foundation

If you've had a baby, you probably remember your baby getting his or her heel pricked at the hospital for a special test. That test was a "newborn screen" which checks for a whole host of newborn diseases, many of which are rare but deadly. 

The Save the Babies Through Screening Foundation's goal is to see that every baby born in the U.S. is screened successfully, effectively, and comprehensively. Check your state's current screening guidelines, advocate for more awareness, donate, or attend an event to get involved. 

Birth Defect Research for Children

The Birth Defect Research for Children non-profit oversees the Birth Defect National Registry that lets parents enter their child's birth defect information into a nationwide collection to help with research. The organization also offers resources for parents whose children may have birth defects. Parents can find fact sheets, public and private forums, and browse a bookstore of topics related to their child's condition. Make a donation or find out more about birth defects on their website.

Continue Reading