Black Maternal Health Week was celebrated in April 2023 from the 11th to the 17th.
Our article, with commentary from our Registered Midwife Allie Campbell, offers some insight into the shocking and eye-opening statistics on Black maternal health, raising awareness of the issues Black women still face in the maternity system. We share some resources for Black women from organisations such as Five X More who offer the ‘six steps’ guide, including steps they can take to help improve their care. This article also stresses the importance of healthcare professionals continuing to join in on the conversation of Black maternal health and working together to offer a better healthcare system for all, regardless of race.
Our Registered Midwife at Integra Healthcare, Allie Campbell offered some insight into the disparities that still exist in the maternity system for Black women, in her video here.
Some statistics shared by her included research that Black women in the UK are 3.7 times more likely to die in childbirth and postpartum (Source: MBRACE, 2022). The CDC also notes, in the US in 2021, Black women were 2.6 times more likely to die.
Kaiser Family Foundation, also states:
“Research has documented that social and economic factors, racism, and chronic stress contribute to poor maternal and infant health outcomes, including higher rates of perinatal depression and preterm birth among African American women and higher rates of mortality among Black infants.”
With these horrifying and eye-opening statistics, it is vital that we, as healthcare professionals, continue to join in raising awareness of this important cause and work together for ways to create positive change in the maternity system.
‘The Six Steps’
The purpose of Black Maternal Health Week is not only to raise awareness but amplify the voice of Black women.
Allie also shared very insightful information from Five X More, where it advises Black women on the six steps to navigate the maternity system and ways they can help improve their care.
The six steps are as follows:
- Speak Up
- Trust Your Gut
- Seek a Second Opinion
- Find an Advocate
- Do your Research!
Starting the Conversation
Race should not define the health that a woman receives within the healthcare system. Problems can only be resolved if they are brought to light. The statistics above highlighted this past Black Maternal Awareness Week sheds light that there is a problem that is not adequately spoken about because it has been such a taboo topic for a long time.
At Integra Healthcare, we join Allie and the many others encouraging education and greater awareness on black maternal health. It is the sharing of these issues and inequalities that helps start the conversation that turns into taking action to help ensure black maternal health needs will continue to be addressed, ensuring that black women will be advocated for in regard to getting the proper healthcare she and her child need to be healthy, just as much as pregnant women of any other race. As Allie states:
“…it is our job as healthcare professionals to change those statistics and challenge the institutional racism that is still quite clearly evident.”
Important resources on Black Maternal Health: