Black women and black birthing people need our support and love.Apr 10, 2023
Black Maternal Health Week 2023: Addressing the Disparities and Supporting Black Mothers and Birthing People.
Black Maternal Health Week is an annual event that brings awareness to the significant and steadily increasing disparities in maternal health outcomes between Black women and birthing people and other populations. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Black women are three to four times more likely to die from pregnancy-related complications than White women. This disparity is not due to biological factors but rather to systemic racism and the social determinants of health. These members of our communities deserve to have a joyful and loving perinatal experience that resonates with them culturally and through the support of those who are best able to support them during this journey.
The root causes of these disparities are complex and multifaceted. Structural racism and bias within the healthcare system lead to inadequate care, resulting in higher rates of pregnancy-related complications and deaths among Black mothers. Additionally, Black women are more likely to live in poverty, have limited access to healthcare, and have increased exposure to environmental toxins, all of which can contribute to poor maternal health outcomes.
So, what can we do to address these disparities and support Black mothers and birthing people? Here are a few steps we can take:
- Advocate for policy change: We can advocate for policies that address the systemic barriers to Black maternal health. The Black Maternal Health Momnibus Act of 2021, for example, is a comprehensive legislative package that aims to improve maternal health outcomes for Black women. We can contact our elected officials to express support for this legislation and other policies that address the root causes of maternal health disparities.
- Support Black-led organizations: We can support Black-led organizations that are working to improve Black maternal health. These organizations provide various services, from advocacy and policy change to direct support for pregnant and parenting Black women. By donating to these organizations or volunteering our time, we can help build a more robust network of support for Black mothers.
- Educate ourselves and others: We can educate ourselves and others about the disparities in Black maternal health and the social determinants of health that contribute to them. We can read books, watch documentaries, and attend events that address these issues. By increasing our knowledge and awareness, we can become better advocates for Black maternal health.
- Amplify Black voices: We can amplify the voices of Black mothers and advocates who are working to address maternal health disparities. We can share their stories on social media, attend their events, and support their work. By centering Black voices, we can ensure that the experiences and perspectives inform solutions to maternal health disparities of those most affected.
Black Maternal Health Week is an opportunity to raise awareness about the disparities in maternal health outcomes and to take action to address them. By advocating for policy change, supporting Black-led organizations, educating ourselves and others, and amplifying Black voices, we can help ensure that Black mothers and birthing people have the support and resources they need to thrive.