Welcome To America’s First Rainbow Clinic Dedicated To Reducing Stillbirths
New York’s Mount Sinai—Rainbow Clinic provides ‘enhanced prenatal care to patients who have experienced maternal complications.’
There is no way to encapsulate the grief and trauma of experiencing a stillbirth, which affects about 1 in 160 births. People who experience stillbirths are statistically more likely to do so again than their counterparts who have not experienced one, which feels like adding salt to a raw, never completely healed wound.
Back in March, the Mount Sinai Health System announced its collaboration with PUSH for Empowered Pregnancy. Together, they established the country’s first “multidisciplinary specialty clinic for women who have experienced stillbirth,” which aims to provide healthcare to people trying to conceive after stillbirth (aka have a “rainbow pregnancy).
Known as the Mount Sinai—Rainbow Clinic, the program is designed to support those who have experienced stillbirth, no matter who they are. This is critical, as many prenatal services can be prohibitively expensive, and financially vulnerable populations are often at higher risk of stillbirth.
“At the Mount Sinai—Rainbow Clinic, we take care of all patients, regardless of their insurance status,” Joanne L. Stone, MD, MSHCDL, Ellen and Howard C. Katz Chair of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Science at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and Mount Sinai Health System, tells ScaryMommy.
Since opening at the end of March, the Mount Sinai—Rainbow Clinic has seen between 3 to 4 patients a week. “The majority [of cases] are for preconceptional counseling after having suffered a stillbirth, and some have suffered early losses (less than 20 weeks),” Dr. Stone tells ScaryMommy.
The clinic also offers telehealth services.
The Mount Sinai—Rainbow Clinic replicates the Rainbow Clinic model established in the United Kingdom by Alexander Heazell, Regional Lead Obstetrician for NW England and Clinical Director of the Tommy’s stillbirth research center in St. Mary’s Hospital, Manchester. Like the Mount Sinai clinic, Tommy’s Rainbow Clinic is a “specialist service for women and their families in a pregnancy following a stillbirth or neonatal death.”
Experts at Mount Sinai in New York saw the benefits of such a program and worked to open the first Rainbow Clinic in the United States. Right now, there are five Rainbow Clinics throughout the world, and other pregnancy after loss support groups, often inspired by the Rainbow Clinic model, continue to form across the country.
For those who don’t live in New York and can’t get to Mount Sinai—Rainbow Clinic and are trying to conceive, Dr. Stone has some tips.
“It is so important to obtain all medical records to try to find a potential cause of the prior stillbirth, although it is not unusual to not be able to identify a cause,” she tells ScaryMommy. Up to 60% of stillbirths do not have a known cause, but in the cases where it is known, this can be critical for a rainbow pregnancy.
Dr. Stone also emphasizes the importance of a staff who knows how to help patients navigate the emotional trauma of a stillbirth or neonatal death, noting that the staff has undergone specialized training “to better understand the emotional needs of families and to prevent any retraumatization and minimize negative psychological impacts” of the process.
“The next pregnancy will be emotionally stressful,” Dr. Stone notes, making sure that anyone trying to conceive is ready for unexpected feelings during their rainbow pregnancy, which is what makes having a team of health professionals like those at Mount Sinai—Rainbow Clinic so critical.