BLACK MATERNAL HEALTH: THE CHILDBIRTH CRISIS NO ONE'S TALKING ABOUT TILL NOW
THE HARD TRUTHS:
At a startling rate, hundreds of Black women in the U.S. are losing their lives during pregnancy, childbirth and the postpartum period.
Black women are three to four times more likely to die of a pregnancy related complication than White women.
Black women are also twice as like to suffer a problem so severe that they almost die, referred to as a near miss.
A black woman is 22 percent more likely to die from heart disease than a white woman, 71 percent more like to perish from cervical cancer, but 243 percent more likely to die from pregnancy or childbirth related causes.
The racial disparity transcends education and income levels, unraveling common assumptions about who suffers in our health care system.
In a survey conducted this year by NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, 33 percent of black women said that they personally had been discriminated against because of their race when going to a doctor or health clinic, and 21 percent said they have avoided going to a doctor or seeking health care out of concern they would be racially discriminated against.
It is the discrimination that black women experience in the rest of their lives outside of the healthcare system -the double whammy of race and gender-along with chronic stress that may ultimately be the most significant factor in poor maternal outcomes.
Black Maternal Mental Health
38% of New Mothers of Color
Experience perinatal emotional complications like depression and anxiety. Women of color experience these complications at TWICE the rate of white women.
60% of Women of Color
Do not receive any treatment or support services for perinatal emotional complications. Reasons for this include lack of insurance coverage, social and cultural stigma, logistical barriers to services, and lack of culturally appropriate care.
What I Am Here To Do
As a Black Woman and clinically trained social worker, I understand the issues our community is presented with on a daily basis. I understand how chronic stress, along with other chronic diseases have impacted our community. For many years it has been said, "Postpartum is a white woman's disease." That is absolutely not true! Postpartum impacts the Black Community at HIGH levels, however is often overlooked and left untreated by health professionals. As a Black Maternal Mental Health Advocate, I have set out the following goals:
First Goal: To empower Black Women through education and advocacy on pregnancy and postpartum health.
Second Goal: To provide holistic pregnancy and postpartum support for Black Mothers.
Third Goal: To ensure Black mothers understand their birthing options, provide education on healthy nutritional diets during pregnancy and postpartum, self care, and stress management skills.
Fourth Goal: To empower Black Women to make healthy life choices, promote healthy behaviors to support health, wellness, and relationships.