NEWARK, NJ — As though being an expectant mother wasn’t stressful enough, pregnant women, and their physicians, have a whole new host of anxieties to contend with in the era of COVID-19. While it’s unclear how the virus affects pregnant women as opposed to the general population, what medical experts do know is that to keep patients safe, telehealth should be utilized as often as possible. To help physicians with this transition, the Greater Newark Health Care Coalition developed 1,000 “new mom kits” for Newark Beth Israel Medical Center, Clara Maass Medical Center and University Hospital to distribute to patients in their third trimesters.

A new program in New Jersey is helping new mothers deal with motherhood during the COVID-19 pandemic. New mothers like Andreia Correia of Elizabeth have many concerns amid the crisis. Correia gave birth to her second child two weeks ago at Clara Maas Medical Center. “We were concerned about going to the hospital and about coronavirus,” she says. “As a mom, you want the best for your kids.” Correia is one of nearly 1,000 new and expecting mothers who have or will receive new mom kits from RWJ Barnabas Health and the Greater Newark Health Care Coalition.

National nonprofit Operation Gratitude and Newark-based Prudential Financial teamed up, with additional support from Mars Wrigley, to deliver “jumbo Care Packages,” containing handwritten letters of appreciation from grateful Americans — including those from more than 100 Prudential employees and their families — as well as coffee, single-serve snacks, and candy, hygiene and comfort items.

The New Jersey Pandemic Relief Fund announced on Monday grants to the state’s four Regional Health Hubs and to Newark-based nonprofits to help New Jersey’s most vulnerable populations.

In an effort to establish better health outcomes across the state, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed the Regional Health Hub program into law on Tuesday. Through a unique position as health leaders in their communities, the hubs will support the State of New Jersey’s health priorities by providing healthcare infrastructure and analysis, supporting care management, and convening community stakeholders in close coordination with the Office of Medicaid Innovation.

There seems to be no end to the stories about women dying from complications related to pregnancy and childbirth – deaths that are largely preventable. These stories – many from New Jersey – have helped raise awareness of the public health crisis happening here in the U.S.

Seth Paraison is an involved parent and a member of the “Dad’s Network”, an organization of fathers, at his son’s school in Newark. A flyer he received about a father empowerment class in the neighborhood was intriguing beyond school-related topics.

Four laws intended to make birth safer for mothers and babies in New Jersey were signed into law Wednesday by Gov. Phil Murphy in Newark.