Honoring Black Maternal Health Week
The week of April 11 to 17, 2020, is Black Maternal Health Week, a campaign and initiative founded by the Black Mamas Matter Alliance. The week is intended to spread awareness and initiate activism related to the health and wellness of black mothers regarding reproductive justice, pregnancy, and childbirth. The campaign is part of the larger National Minority Health Month taking place throughout the month of April. If you would like to show your support, you can use and follow hashtags #BlackMaternalHealthWeek and #BMHW20.
Black Maternal Health Week is so important due to the disproportionate number of life-threatening and fatal complications that black mothers experience during or after childbirth compared to mothers of other races. For years now, attention has been drawn to the fact that deaths from pregnancy complications - whether during pregnancy or within one year of childbirth – affect black mothers at a significantly higher rate than others.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the pregnancy-related death rate has more than doubled in recent decades, from 7.2 fatalities per 100,000 births in 1987, to 16.2 deaths per 100,000 births in 2016. The breakdown of racial disparities in these pregnancy-related deaths is striking:
- Black non-Hispanic women accounted for 42.4 deaths per 100,000 births
- American Indian/Alaskan Native non-Hispanic women accounted for 30.4 deaths per 100,000 births
- Asian/Pacific Islander non-Hispanic women accounted for 14.1 deaths per 100,000 births
- White non-Hispanic women accounted for 13 deaths per 100,000 births
- Hispanic women accounted for 11.3 deaths per 100,000 births
As is plain from these statistics, black women die of pregnancy-related conditions at rate that is more than three times the death rate for white women and nearly four times the rate of Hispanic mothers. The chief medical director of Planned Parenthood recently was quoted as stating, “There’s something inherently wrong with the system that’s not valuing the lives of black women equally to white women.”
Some of the main causes of these pregnancy-related deaths include:
- Infection or sepsis
- Amniotic fluid embolism
- Thrombotic pulmonary or other embolism
- Hypertensive disorders related to pregnancy
- Anesthesia complications
- Cerebrovascular accidents
- Other cardiovascular conditions
- Other non-cardiovascular medical conditions
These are all complications that should be identified and treated properly by medical professionals during pregnancy or post-pregnancy.
Mortality of Infants with Black Mothers
Another serious issue is that the infant mortality rate for black mothers is 2.3 times that of non-Hispanic white mothers. Leading causes include low birthweight, maternal complications, and more. Medical professionals should be working to ensure that all mothers - regardless of race - receive proper:
- Prenatal care
- Emergency services
- Labor and delivery monitoring
- Treatment for infant conditions following birth
- Follow-up care for infant health
Consult with Our Ohio Birth Injury Attorneys about a Possible Case Today
At The Eisen Law Firm, we fight for infants and mothers who have been seriously injured by medical malpractice. We hope you can take part in supporting the Black Maternal Health Week initiative and, if you believe you have a legal claim for a birth injury, please contact us online or call 216-687-0900 right away for a free case evaluation.