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Across the United States, historically imposed structural, social, and environmental variables are intimately connected to poor obstetric outcomes and high maternal and infant mortality rates among Black pregnancy-capable people. Efforts to diminish the effect of these variables include integrating screening for social determinants of health during the perinatal period and treating them with social services, mental health support, and other referrals, including connections to community-based resources. Although helpful, some of these social determinants cannot be overcome without legal advocacy. Medical–legal partnerships, which integrate lawyers into health care, fill this gap. This commentary by an interprofessional team of authors relies on the experience of an established MLP. We posit that unmet legal needs of perinatal patients merit ongoing monitoring and intervention. We explain the rationale for perinatal practice medical–legal partnerships and share implementation suggestions from a high-intensity safety-net urban hospital.


Copyright © 2023 The Author(s). Published by Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc.

This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-No Derivatives License 4.0 (CCBY-NC-ND), where it is permissible to download and share the work provided it is properly cited. The work cannot be changed in any way or used commercially without permission from the journal.

Publication Citation

Obstetrics & Gynecology, Vol. 142, Issue 6, Pp. 1310-1315.