Black Maternal Mortality on the Rise

Deaths related to pregnancy are up for women in this country, especially black women. According to a report by the CDC, pregnancy-related deaths are rare, about 700 a year, but they have been steadily rising among black women for decades.

More than 50 percent of the deaths are preventable, and yet black women are three times more likely to die from a pregnancy-related cause. The cause of the deaths is due to racial bias and a lack of recognizing risk factors. Some of those risk factors include bleeding, infections, high C-section rates in the U.S. and heart-related issues stemming from increasing rates of obesity and diabetes.

The CDC report revealed that one-third of women die during pregnancy, one-third of women die within a week of giving birth and others die within a year. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists released new guidelines recommending women have a comprehensive heart-risk evaluation 12 weeks after giving birth. It’s reported that 40 percent of women don’t return for that visit due to a lack of resources to pay for the evaluation.

The Realist Woman’s take:

This story is a devastating reality for too many black women. So many issues have yet to be addressed regarding this crisis. This story speaks to the fact that racial bias, a lack of adequate healthcare for black women and a lack of urgency on the part of hospitals are costing black women their lives and costing babies their mothers.

What’s more upsetting is the fact that more than 50 percent of these deaths are preventable. As a young black woman with a desire to start my own family one day, this news is deeply disturbing and I am looking for politicians running for this upcoming presidential election to take a stand on black maternal mortality.

Presidential Democratic Candidate Elizabeth Warren wrote an op-ed in Essence magazine proposing her ideas on how best to address and take on this issue. Another 2020 presidential candidate Kamala Harris recently introduced a bill that aims to racial disparities in maternal mortality.

This is one issue that can be fixed and I have hope that with more women in power looking to fix this crisis, the future for black mothers will be one where they not only survive their birthing experiences but one where they will thrive.