Black pregnant women continue to face disproportionately high pregnancy-related deaths, with data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicating a 26 percent increase in the maternal mortality rate for Black women since the start of the pandemic.
Though researchers do not have an explanation for the disparities, the research suggests it’s a culmination of institutional racism and other health factors, such as the increased risk of obesity and hypertension in Black women. Howell also added that stress and a lack of access to quality prenatal care further exacerbates this issue.
“It really does boil down to how public health officials relate to Black women who are giving birth,” Howell said. “Statistics about Black maternal mortality are high across the board, no matter what your educational level is, no matter what your insurance level is.”
In 2018, tennis star Serena Williams opened up in an interview with Vogue magazine about encountering severe health complications after giving birth because doctors neglected to listen about her existing medical conditions.
“When you have someone like Serena Williams having problems giving birth, and not being treated properly by nurses and doctors when she complains about not feeling well, then you look at the doctor of someone who is poor in Louisiana, and has the same kind of problem — they are probably treated even worse,” Howell said.
Author(s): Tat Bellamy-Walker
Publication Date: 23 May 2022
Publication Site: NBC News