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Black Maternal Health: Ok, Here is a Bit Of My Story

Like some of you reading this blog post I have lost count of the tragic stories of black mothers and/or their infants dying. The truth is that could have been my story but by the grace of God me and my child both survived. I mean even Serena Williams shared her story so that throws out the theory about socioeconomic status shielding expectant black mothers from any issues during the journey to motherhood. Let's not forget the other horror stories shared by black women around the world that were ignored or sent home when their lives were in danger.


🗣I can say as a black mother of 2 that black maternal health is a real issue. When I got married my husband and I wanted at least 4 children total. Sadly, I had two traumatic pregnancies that both ended in me having an unplanned emergency C-section. My first pregnancy I dealt with placenta previa, and I was ignored when I voiced my concerns. This pregnancy ended early due to placenta abruption. I was blessed that my daughter survived and is alive and well. Sadly, it was not until my second pregnancy (7 years laters) that I was ever even told placenta abruption is the reason why I had to have an emergency C-section during my first pregnancy.


I wish I could say my second pregnancy was better but it was not. Anywho, the second time around was beyond terrible, and my husband was told by the Dr to make a decision on whether to save me or my son 😲 because they did not expect us to both survive. Thankfully by the grace of God we are both alive. So, needless to say my pregnancies were both very traumatic. The second pregnancy took years for me to recover I even ended up back in the hospital after I was discharged. I showed all the signs of an infection without a cause they even check to see if they left something in my body from the c-section. I will stop there but I know that I am only 1 of many black women that have very traumatic stories. Sadly, many are not alive to share their story. I was apprehensive at first but I decided to share the journey of both pregnancies in my book Black Health: Considered From A Holistic Perspective. In fact, my story is shared in the chapter titled, Black Women + Pregnancy.


Fast forward to 2024 and I can say that I am grateful to see more AA specializing in Obstetrics and Gynecology as physicians, mid-level providers, and nurses. There are a number of organizations that are highlighting and not letting up on the black maternal health issues. I am also happy to see more black midwives and doulas rising up to play their role. I hope these things allow more black women to have the happy pregnancy and ending they deserve. The Lord knows I wish my story would have been different. But ultimately, I'm alive to share my story and my kids are alive too so I refuse to ever complain because God is indeed good.......


Ok so here are some facts about black maternal health below:


BLACK MATERNAL HEALTH FACTS:

  1. Maternal Mortality Rate Disparities: Black women in the United States face a stark disparity in maternal mortality rates compared to white women. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the maternal mortality rate for Black women stands at around 37.1 deaths per 100,000 live births, more than three times higher than the rate for white women, which is approximately 14.7 per 100,000 live births (CDC, 2021).

  2. Maternal Morbidity Disparities: Black women also experience significantly higher rates of severe maternal morbidity, encompassing conditions such as hemorrhage, eclampsia, and cardiac events during childbirth. Research indicates that the rate of severe maternal morbidity is approximately 2.5 times higher for Black women compared to their white counterparts (American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, 2021).

  3. Preterm Birth and Low Birth Weight Disparities: Black women are disproportionately affected by preterm birth and low birth weight infants. Studies have shown that rates of preterm birth and low birth weight are notably higher among Black women compared to other racial and ethnic groups in the United States (Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine, 2020).

  4. Access to Prenatal Care Disparities: Disparities in access to prenatal care persist, with Black women being more likely to receive late or no prenatal care compared to white women. Timely and adequate prenatal care is essential for promoting maternal and infant health outcomes (Krieger et al., 2020).

  5. Social Determinants of Health: Structural and systemic factors such as racism, discrimination, socioeconomic status, and environmental factors play a significant role in contributing to maternal health disparities among Black women. Addressing these social determinants of health is critical for reducing disparities and improving overall maternal health outcomes (Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, 2020).


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