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Elevating Awareness: Black Maternal Health Week

What is Black Maternal Health Week and why is it important?

As a Black woman, mother, and public health activist, the issues surrounding black maternal health care in the United States are alarming and concerning on a deeply personal level. While the "data" may suggest that the root cause of these disparities is largely multi-factorial or unknown, as a Black woman in American I can confidently say that systemic racism in the healthcare setting is where the issue starts. Studies have shown the belief that Black people have "thicker skin" and can therefore tolerate more pain is something that persists even to this day, and our Black mothers are dying as a result of it.


Black Maternal Health Week was born out of the urgency to address these inequities and ensure that every Black mother receives the care she deserves. In this post, I'll explain why this week matters and why it's crucial for us to unite in this cause.


Why Black Maternal Health Week Exists:

Black Maternal Health Week, initiated by the Black Mamas Matter Alliance, spotlights the challenges Black mothers face in accessing quality healthcare. It's a platform to demand change and advocate for policies that prioritize the well-being of Black mothers and their babies.


Why It Matters:

Did you know that Black women face alarming disparities in maternal health outcomes? Shockingly, Black women are 3-4 times more likely to die during childbirth than their White counterparts. Additionally, the Black infant mortality rate exceeds that of White infants by more than 2 times and 14% of Black infants are born prematurely, compared to only 9% of White infants. These staggering facts underscore the urgent need for action to address racial disparities in maternal and infant health care. Black Maternal Health Week is our chance to confront systemic racism and biases that harm Black mothers. It's about ensuring every Black mother receives respectful and equitable care during pregnancy, childbirth, and beyond.


Pregnant black woman smiling down at belly


As a black woman, here are a few things you can do:
  • Advocate for yourself. Ask questions. Do not be afraid to use your voice.

  • Communicate your wishes to your partner or a family member/friend in the event that you are unable to advocate for yourself.

  • Work with a doula or midwife.

  • Change providers if possible if you don't feel seen or heard.


Our Role as Activists:

As mothers and activists, we have a duty to fight for change. By raising our voices during Black Maternal Health Week, we can mobilize our communities and push for policies that protect Black mothers' lives.

As an ally, here are a few things you can do:

During Black Maternal Health Week, let's come together to advocate for Black mothers' rights to quality healthcare. Our unity and activism can bring about the change needed to ensure every Black mother receives the care and respect she deserves.


 



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