The Truth About Racism and Maternal Mortality Rates

The headline might be shocking to you, and it is to us too, which is why we at MOMSQUAD want to write about it and become involved in making a change.

How can we ever believe that it’s possible for a precious, innocent infant to be discriminated against before he or she even enters this world? 

Do Black Women Really Receive a Different Quality of Maternal Care?

Yes.

The numbers are shocking: black mothers die in childbirth 2.5 times more often than white mothers. 

Even more shocking: this number was actually a decrease from the original 3.2 times more often that was reported from 2007-2016, although the data was less reliable then.

WHY DO BLACK WOMEN DIE MORE OFTEN IN CHILDBIRTH?

  1. Implicit Bias From Doctors: Studies have shown that many doctors, especially white doctors, empathize, listen to and care more for white patients than their black counterparts.

  2. Lack of Access to Health Care: African-Americans are more likely to lack access to adequate health care, leading to an increase in pre-existing conditions, poorer prenatal care and less exposure to birth control and sexual education, which leads to unplanned pregnancies. Lack of health insurance leads to the inability to afford regular doctor’s appointments, which is so important for a mother’s health.

  3. Higher Poverty Rates: Numerous studies have shown that those who live below the poverty line struggle to gain access to healthy foods. Living in poverty also leads to higher stress and mental health issues, which can greatly impact a mother’s wellbeing.

THE DANGERS OF CHILDBIRTH 

Giving birth can be dangerous, even for wealthy and successful celebrities. 

Beyonce recently opened up about the traumatic birth of her twins, revealing that preeclampsia led to a c-section that left her on bedrest for over a month. Serena Williams, longtime friend of Beyonce’s, also opened up about the life-threatening blood clots she experienced after giving birth.

“I am so grateful I had access to such an incredible medical team of doctors,” Williams wrote in an article featured in CNN. "Every mother, everywhere, regardless of race or background deserves to have a healthy pregnancy and birth. And you can help make this a reality." 

WHAT CAN I DO TO CHANGE MEDICAL DISCRIMINATION AGAINST BLACK MOTHERS?

  1. Educate Yourself. You’ve made a start by reading this article.

  2. Support Organizations. MOMSQUAD is proud to be a donor to  the Black Mamas Matter Alliance. Please consider learning more about their organization by visiting www.blackmamasmatter.org and making a donation.

  3. Talk About It. Don’t be afraid to start discussions with friends, family and coworkers about this pressing problem, especially if you work in the medical field.

  4. Listen. To black voices and their experiences, and amplify their voices when you are able to.

MOMSQUAD is a proud supporter of Black Mamas Matter, and all other mothers around the country facing the beautiful yet difficult experience of becoming a mother. 

Leave a comment