According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), black women in the United States are three to four times more likely to die from pregnancy-related complications than white women. In fact, the maternal mortality rate for black women is higher than that of many developing countries. This is a serious public health crisis that demands immediate attention and action. Disparities in healthcare access and quality, as well as systemic racism and discrimination, are major contributing factors to this unacceptable trend.
Unfortunately, there are many excuses that have been used to explain the lack of progress in addressing black maternal mortality, some of which are truly ridiculous. One common excuse is that black women simply do not take care of their health as well as other women, or that they are more likely to engage in risky behaviors that put their health and their baby's health at risk. This kind of thinking is completely unfounded and ignores the many structural barriers that make it difficult for black women to access high-quality healthcare and other resources that promote healthy pregnancies and birth outcomes.
Another excuse that is often heard is that black women are simply genetically predisposed to experience high rates of maternal mortality and morbidity. This argument is not only racist, but it also ignores the fact that many of the risk factors for poor maternal outcomes - such as poverty, discrimination, and lack of access to healthcare - are entirely modifiable through policy changes and other interventions.
However, some efforts have been made to address these issues, but progress has been slow. Some solutions include increasing access to prenatal care, improving cultural competency and diversity training for healthcare providers, addressing systemic racism and biases within the healthcare system, providing education and support for women with chronic health conditions, and addressing social determinants of health such as poverty and lack of access to healthy food and safe housing.
Overall, it will take a concerted effort from individuals, communities, and policymakers to address the complex web of factors contributing to black maternal mortality and improve outcomes for all mothers and babies. So let's make become what we need to change that narrative!
~ Amari "Love" Garnes