Birthing While Black: Investigating Maternal Mortality In California

one of the most important health issues affecting the Black Community—Black Maternal mortality.
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Photos: YouTube
Once again Black Voice News investigative reporter Breanna Reeves has peeled back the layers on one of the most important health issues affecting the Black Community—Black Maternal mortality. It is a concern that has carried from generation to generation since slavery with minimal progress toward resolution.

Although California has a lower rate of pregnancy-related deaths than many places in the country, Black birthing people in this state are still experiencing death at a higher rate than mothers of any other race.

As part of this series Breanna had hoped to provide specific data regarding how Black birthing people fare related to mortality in both Riverside and San Bernardino Counties specifically as compared to other counties in California. But although the state tracks this information down to the county level, unfortunately it is not accessible for publication even though it would seem the public should have a right to know what is happening in relation to this important issue in their own backyard.

Meanwhile, as healthcare professionals continue working toward a solution to the inequity in deaths of Black birthing people, many in the industry, as well as in the public, have reached back and recovered the lessons and legacy of midwifery and the services provided by doulas.

In this series you will learn how and why California now sanctions doula services as part of the healthcare spectrum for pregnant people. You will learn how Black women, among others, are stepping into the breach as doulas and providing services and extensive access to support for pregnant people in ways most Ob-gyns do not. You will learn about the state’s consideration of compensation for doulas and what it will take to qualify for this compensation. You will discover how doulas are empowering pregnant people–especially Black birthing people–to take control of their birthing experiences by setting boundaries regarding what is acceptable to them as it relates to medical intervention in the delivery room, etc.

Why should you care about this issue? According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention each year hundreds of people die during pregnancy or in the year after. Black women are three time more likely to die than white women even as the agency recently reported that 80% of these deaths are preventable. It is also important to note that another 50,000 birthing people each year have unexpected labor and delivery experiences with serious health consequences.

We encourage you to explore this series.

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