Here’s a really interesting excerpt about the development of NY City’s first Maternity Clinic, founded in 1915 by the Women’s City Club of New York. You can read more here.
Infant and maternal morality were higher in the late-nineteenth-century United States than in most industrializing nations, and such deaths were more common in poor families than in elite ones. Higher American death rates were due in part to traditions of limited government that diminished the public sector’s responsibility for human health. Beginning in the 1890s, American women reformers began to fill this void in public health care by creating institutions that could serve the health needs of recent immigrants, especially women and children. Members of the Women’s City Club of New York advanced public health in a new direction by establishing New York City’s first maternity clinic to serve women’s pre-natal health needs in 1915. It offered preventive health care, childbirth nursing assistance, and postpartum care, as well as holding Mothers’ Club meetings where women could learn how to take care of their newborns. The Maternity Center became a model that representatives from many other cities studied as they grappled with extremely high maternal and infant mortality rates in the early twentieth century.