This blog post sheds light on the disparities in maternal morbidity and mortality among Black women in the US. It addresses systemic issues and highlights the impact of institutional racism and advocates for change. Full of informative resources, “Black Maternal Health: Disparities in maternal mortality persists” incorporates the expertise of subject matter experts in the community – mothers, doulas, midwives, experts in academia and the medical field. Together we will explore some of the data and families whose lives have been impacted by illness and loss.
Tatia is one of many Black women who have lost their lives due to complications in childbirth. She didn’t like how the doctors treated her. She knew the medication that they would use to induce her labor was not approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Yet, for the sake of her baby, she proceeded with the induction. Sadly, neither she nor her baby survived. Read Tatia’s story here.
Health disparities are preventable differences in opportunities to reach optimal health due to illness, injury, or violence (CDC). In a study implementing evidence-based practices in hospitals where Black women are disproportionately dying due to complications in pregnancy and childbrith, Hamm et al., 2022 determined 50% of maternal deaths are related to obstetric haemorrhage. The term obstetric haemorrhage can refer to excessive bleeding, that may happen to women prior to birth (antepartum), during birth (parturient), or after birth (postpartum) (Trika & Singh, 2018). According to the National Institute of Health early recognition and a mul tidisciplinary team approach is crucial to improving the outcomes for women who face obstetric haemorrhage.
[insert information about preeclampsia, hypertension, and obesity & impact of environment and behaviors/role as caregivers and household managers]
A report by CalMatters informed readers that Black women in California (CA) are 3x more likely to die during and after childbirth than White women. In 2019, CA responded by requiring hospital staff go through medical bias training. Yet, another report released by the Department of Justice October 2023, showed 17% of hospitals in compliance with this law. Appendix A of the report has a list of all the data collected, including which hospitals complied and to what extent.
“I don't like the way they're talking to me. I don't like the way they're treating me (Every Mother Counts ).”
[embed Rosalyn's video here]
Black Maternal Health is a sensitive and complex issue that researchers are learning is differs from hospital to hospital. Study after study is telling us that systemic racism and discrimination in America is hurting the health of Black women. Stigma, prejudice, and stereotypes in the medical and Black community contribute to a system that produces bad care for Black women. We don't have to put up with that.
The research tells us, many maternal deaths are 41% preventable (Main et al., 2015). What can Black women do to increase their odds of having a pregnancy that is safe and not negatively impacted by fear?