MOMS Orange County’s advocacy work stems from its vision for healthy babies, empowered mothers, and strong families throughout Orange County. We believe that our advocacy activities are an important part of fulfilling this vision.

Therefore, we seek to continue to promote the healthy growth and development of babies, provide access to quality care for mothers and babies, and ensure that vulnerable women in Orange County have the care and support they need to have a healthy family. Based on these beliefs, our current four advocacy objectives are:

  • Protecting and improving access to maternal-child healthcare and support services.
  • Expanding access to maternal mental health screening, treatment, and support services.
  • Expanding access to gestational diabetes screening, prevention education, treatment, and support services.
  • Promoting breastfeeding education and support services.

To become involved with MOMS Orange County’s advocacy efforts, please contact Michele Silva at

In Orange County, 6.3% of all babies born are of low birth weight, the infant mortality rate is 3.3 per 1,000 live births, 26.1% of infants are exclusively breastfed, and 88.3% of mothers receive prenatal care. Underserved mothers and their babies face greater challenges for healthy outcomes.

In 2017, as part of our 25-year anniversary, we commissioned a report summarizing the Orange County Perinatal Environment (link to report) We found that progress for improving perinatal health has improved over the last 25 years, but there is much more we can do.  For example, in 1989 79.2% of women in Orange County received first trimester prenatal care.  Today, 86.1% of women receive early prenatal care, yet there are disparities across ethnicities.  By 2020, we would like 90% of women receive early prenatal care and see a reduction in health disparities.

There are also greater challenges we face today than we did 25 years ago.  In 1989, approximately 5-7% of births were preterm, however that percentage has increased to 7.8% today.

Furthermore, there were some aspects of perinatal health, such as breastfeeding and maternal mental health, which were not even measured 25 years ago, yet are critical to perinatal health today.  In 2014, 26.1% of mothers were exclusively breastfeeding three months after delivery.  We would like to see a 10% increase in the proportion of mothers exclusively breastfeeding at 3 months.  Maternal depression is the most common complication of pregnancy in the United States, with up to 20% of women experiencing a mental health disorder during pregnancy or their child’s first year of life.  However, these disorders often go undetected and untreated.  We would like to see greater access to mental health services and consistent mental health screenings for women.