Black Maternal Health and Black Infant Mortality 2022 and Beyond

Black maternal health care begins well before pregnancy. It is vital for health care providers, physicians, and nurses to be extra knowledgeable about and sensitive culturally about the problems in Black maternal health.

Mother’s Day special

Earlier this month, Vice President Kamala Harris urged the White House to make black maternal health a national priority. Jane (April 17, 2022)  reports that last December 2021, Harris hosted the first Maternal Health Day of Action, and she issued a call for change around maternal health, especially for Black families.

Although this is monumental, why the special attention to Black families? There has been an increased article reported on Black Maternal health due to the increased likelihood of fatal health outcomes associated with pregnancy.

The American Heart Association (February 13, 2019) addresses the pregnancy-related mortality rate of Black Women (regardless of socioeconomic income) and Black Infant Mortality.

Jones (April 23, 2022) “Although we live in a very affluent society, there are still discrepancies in our health care system. Even within the African American communities defined as middle class or upper-middle-class, there are still inadequacies, particularly in the black indigenous and people of color communities in the United States.”

Jones also mentions, “patients have to be transparent about their ailments and the side effects of any prescribed medication. Often there are social biases that stem from systemic racial discrimination.”

Lockhart (January 11, 2018) points out that even famous and wealthy tennis star Serena Williams had post-pregnancy life-threatening problems “she frequently coughed due to the embolisms, and the coughs were forceful enough to cause her C-section wound to rupture.

When she went in for surgery, doctors found that a hematoma had filled her abdomen due to the blood thinners. A filter was placed into one of her major veins to keep more blood clots from traveling to her lungs. When she finally returned home, Williams needed six weeks of bed rest.”

Black maternal health care begins well before pregnancy. It is vital for health care providers, physicians, and nurses to be extra knowledgeable about and sensitive culturally about the problems in Black maternal health. Genai (April 16, 2022) points out that “Black women are 2-3 times more likely to have fibroids, develop them at younger ages, have bigger fibroids, and have more fibroids, and to have more symptoms by age 35 nearly 50%.”

References:

American Heart Association News (February 13, 2019). Health disparities – even in the face of socioeconomic success – baffle experts. Health disparities – even in the face of socioeconomic success – baffle experts | American Heart Association

Bushak, L. (April 14, 2022). ‘We Love You to Health’ pushes for equitable maternal care for Black women. ‘We Love You to Health’ pushes for equitable maternal care for Black women | Campaign US (campaignlive.com)

Genai, S. (April 16, 2022). Black Women Talk Fibroids, Fertility, and Motherhood. Black Women Talk Fibroids, Fertility, and Motherhood (theroot.com)

Jane, A. (April 17, 2022). VP Harris Urges White House to Make Black Maternal Health A National Priority. VP Harris Urges White House to Make Black Maternal Health A National Priority (yahoo.com)

Jones, L. (April 23, 2022). The State of Black Health; The Narrative Matters med watch. The State of Black Health; The Narrative Matters med watch – The Narrative Matters

Lockhart, P.R. (January 11, 2018). What Serena Williams’s scary childbirth story says about medical treatment of black women. Vox. Serena Williams’s health scare shows how medicine dismisses black women – Vox

Ndugga,N. (April  15, 2022). A Look at Key Maternal and Infant Health Disparities Among Black People. A Look at Key Maternal and Infant Health Disparities Among Black People | KFF

Vantage Point (April 13, 2021). Black women more likely to die from pregnancy-related causes.Black women more likely to die from pregnancy-related causes – VAntage Point

Smith, I. Z., Bentley-Edwards, K. L., El-Amin, S., & Darity Jr, W. (2018). Fighting at birth: eradicating the black-White infant mortality gap. Oakland: Duke University. https://socialequity.duke.edu/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/Eradicating-Black-Infant-Mortality-March-2018.pdf

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