Hi Sisters! So, here is the word, Black women in the United States experience three to four times higher rates of pregnancy-related deaths compared to white women. This disparity also extends to their infants, who are over twice as likely to die. Factors contributing to these disparities include limited access to quality healthcare, socioeconomic status, implicit bias, and systemic racism.
The Consequences: These disparities have heartbreaking consequences. Black women face unacceptably poor maternal health outcomes, with disproportionately high rates of death related to childbirth. In 2020, non-Hispanic Black women had a maternal mortality rate of 55.3 deaths per 100,000 births, nearly three times higher than that of non-Hispanic white women. These disparities impact not only the mothers but also their families and communities. It is a reality we cannot tolerate.
Addressing the Root Causes: To combat these disparities, we must address the root causes. We need to dismantle systemic barriers and advocate for policies that promote equitable maternal healthcare. Improving access to quality prenatal and postnatal care is crucial, along with reducing racial bias in healthcare settings. Culturally competent care and anti-bias training for healthcare providers contribute to a more inclusive and respectful environment.
Additionally, addressing social determinants of health is vital in tackling maternal health disparities. Factors such as unstable housing, limited transportation, food insecurity, and substance use must be comprehensively addressed to support Black mothers. By actively eliminating these disparities, we can create a healthcare system that prioritizes the well-being of all women.
The Way Forward: Addressing concerning Black maternal health disparities requires a collaborative effort. Advocacy groups, community organizations, policymakers, and individuals play a crucial role in driving change. Together, we can raise awareness, advocate for policy reforms, and promote initiatives that prioritize equity in maternal healthcare.
Conclusion: The reality of Black maternal health disparities is a pressing issue that demands our attention and action. We cannot ignore the disproportionately high rates of pregnancy-related deaths and poor maternal health outcomes experienced by Black women. By understanding the root causes, advocating for change, and fostering a healthcare system that prioritizes equity, we can work towards a future where every woman, regardless of her race or ethnicity, receives safe, respectful, and equitable care during pregnancy and childbirth. Let us stand together, united in our commitment to addressing these disparities and creating a brighter, more equitable future for all mothers.
With Love, Lakischa Smith
Meet Lakischa Smith, a proud mother and a dedicated public health advocate. With a Bachelor’s from Dillard University and a Master’s in Public Health from Florida International University, she’s committed to sharing honest narratives about black motherhood. Lakischa believes in fostering sisterhood to combat the pervasive forces of white supremacy, and empowering African American women to be agents of change for future generations. She asserts that recognizing and addressing our community’s struggles is crucial, for healing is the key to moving forward. Armed with the power of education and a deep belief in collective action, Lakischa is determined to ensure that the issues impacting African American maternal health aren’t just seen—they’re addressed and resolved.