Exploring Black Maternal Health In The USA

For a black woman, becoming a mother in the United States is still too risky. America, of all industrialized countries, still has the highest maternal mortality rate.

Not only have the risks of childbirth not diminished: over the years, the number of women who have lost their lives during pregnancy, childbirth, or after delivery has increased dramatically. 

The African-American women in the US are likely almost four times more than the others to die from pregnancy-related complications.

Disparities Between Black And White Women

Photo by Mustafa Omar on Unsplash

Contrary to certain received ideas, obesity, diabetes, and poverty which, it is true, affect the black community more strongly, are not enough, far from it, to explain why Black women are more at risk. A healthy black woman has twice the risk of complications than an obese white woman. 

So how do you explain it? Well, because of the disparities that persist in the hospitals where most Black people live. To summarize, when you live in a wealthy neighborhood, no problem. On the other hand, in the most challenging districts, care is no longer up to par.

Can These Deaths Be Prevented?

Photo by Andrae Ricketts on Unsplash

The US could prevent about half of the deaths through high-quality, accessible, and timely medical care. Black women face several obstacles in accessing the services they need. 

The health system has numerous shortcomings: discrimination, bureaucratic and linguistic barriers, lack of information on maternal health care and family planning, lack of active participation in treatment decisions, inadequate staffing and poor quality protocols, lack of responsibility, and carelessness.

The Role Of Socio-Economic Status And Black Maternal Health

While this might be a contributing factor, it has been said that socioeconomic status is not a significant reason. Even black women who are well-off die at nearly a higher rate than affluent white women. The well-documented story of tennis champ Serena Williams underscores that conclusion.

“I was like, listen to Dr. Williams!”

Serena Williams.

One day after her delivery by C-section, Serena Williams was known to have told a nurse that she feared another blood clot and needed a CT scan and an IV of heparin, a blood thinner. The nurse did not believe her and only acted after she insisted. True to her words, several blood clots were discovered.

Written By:
Titi Dokubo

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