Childbirth is killing Black mothers

GLENN ELLIS | 2/5/2018, 9:43 a.m.
Tennis superstar Serena Williams has revealed she needed an emergency C-section and had multiple surgeries after giving birth to her ...
Childbirth is killing Black mothers

The Center for Disease Control points to the fact that 50 percent of pregnancies are unplanned. These pregnancies are associated with increased mortality for the mother and infant. Lifestyle factors (e.g., smoking, drinking alcohol, unsafe sex practices and poor nutrition) and inadequate intake of foods containing folic acid pose serious health hazards to the mother and fetus and are more common among women with unintended pregnancies. The CDC estimates that half of the women that experience an unintended pregnancy do not seek prenatal care during the first trimester.

Historically, Black women in low-income communities haven’t had the same access to quality care as White women in high-income communities.

Those same factors shed light on disparities not only in maternal mortality but in obesity, hypertension, heart disease and overall health.

This is not a state-by-state solution to solving the problem of disparities. This is a national problem, and we all know it. It’s always the elephant in the room in the United States that things are different for Black women.

In an ideal world, a woman would have the opportunity to have a visit with a physician before she becomes pregnant to identify any potential risk factors before she gets pregnant. Then a woman would enter prenatal in her first trimester. Unfortunately, African American women are the least likely to have that first trimester of prenatal care.

The U.S. spends more per capita on health care than any other developed nation – has one of the most sophisticated, technologically advanced health care systems in the world, but we still have inequities. Black women are still suffering from preventable maternal deaths. A human rights framework provides a road map to solutions.

Just being a Black woman in America comes with its own level of stress.

Remember, I’m not a doctor. I just sound like one.

Take good care of yourself and live the best life possible!


This column is for informational purposes only. If you have a medical condition or concern, please seek professional care from your doctor or other health professional. Glenn Ellis is a Health Advocacy Communications Specialist and is available through http://www.glennellis.com.

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