Supporting Care for All Mothers During Black Maternal Health Week
Having an equal birth experience and access to quality prenatal & postnatal care is something we believe all mothers are entitled to and should receive. Over the last year, as more open discussions about race have occurred, the disparities that black women and other minorities face during pregnancy are now being acknowledged.
As we recognize Black Maternal Health Week, we aim to bring awareness to the black maternal health crisis that our country and so many others are facing. The research and data which demonstrate these disparities are not new findings. However, these statistics have not been as widely discussed as one might assume given the severity of this racial divide in maternal health.
According to the CDC:
- Black women are 3-4 times more likely to die from pregnancy-related causes than white women.
- Black women are twice as likely to suffer from severe maternal morbidity – which is defined by the CDC as unexpected outcomes of labor and delivery that result in significant short or long-term consequences to a woman’s health.
- The CDC states that most pregnancy-related deaths are preventable, yet racial and ethnic disparities in pregnancy-related deaths have continued for decades.
Historically, BIPOC have faced various economic and social conditions that have impacted their health status. A variety of contributing factors are causing this unfair racial disparity in healthcare including, but not limited to, their access to quality healthcare, underlying chronic conditions, structural racism, and implicit bias.
The CDC outlines ways you can support pregnant people in your life to reduce factors that contribute to pregnancy-related complications and mortality below.
Pregnant people and their families can:
- Listen and know what the maternal warning signs are.
- Talk to a healthcare provider if anything doesn’t feel right or is concerning.
- Know and seek immediate care if experiencing urgent maternal warning signs, including severe headache, extreme swelling of hands or face, trouble breathing, heavy vaginal bleeding or discharge, overwhelming tiredness, and more. These symptoms could indicate a potentially life-threatening complication.
- Document and share pregnancy history during each medical care visit for up to one year after delivery.
- Maintain ongoing healthcare and social support systems before, during, and after pregnancy.⠀⠀⠀⠀
For more information on black maternal health, visit the following resources: