It’s Black Maternal Health Week. I’m sharing ways to get involved to ensure improved outcomes for Black expectant mothers. This week is dedicated to raising awareness about the unique challenges that Black mothers face when it comes to their health and well-being.
What is Black Maternal Health Week?
Black Maternal Health Week is a chance to raise awareness about these issues and get involved. It’s an annual event that was founded by Black Mamas Matter Alliance. This year, it’s taking place from April 11-17th, and the theme is “Our Bodies Belong to Us: Restoring Black Autonomy and Joy!” This is all about reclaiming our autonomy over our bodies and ensuring that Black mothers are treated with dignity, justice, and joy.
What’s the deal with Black Maternal Health?
Black Maternal Health Week is crucial because it highlights the stark disparities that Black women face when it comes to maternal health. These disparities are rooted in systemic racism and discrimination, but we can all work together to help support Black mothers and improve maternal health outcomes. Here are some statistics that illustrate why this issue is so important:
- According to the CDC, Black women in the US are three to four times more likely to die from pregnancy-related causes than White women.
- Black women are more likely to experience severe maternal morbidities, such as hemorrhage, blood clots, or infection, during or after childbirth.
- Black infants are more than twice as likely to die before their first birthday as white infants.
- These disparities persist regardless of income, education, or other factors.
- Racism and discrimination in healthcare and other systems contribute to these disparities, as Black women are more likely to receive lower-quality care and experience bias from healthcare providers.
Related: Finding an OB-GYN: What to Consider When Choosing Prenatal Care
By bringing attention to these disparities and advocating for change, Black Maternal Health Week aims to improve outcomes for Black mothers and their infants. It’s a chance to raise awareness, educate the public, and promote policy changes that can help address the root causes of these inequities.
So, how can we make a difference?
One of the most important things we can do is to advocate for just healthcare that doesn’t discriminate against Black people. We also need to listen to Black mothers’ stories and experiences and understand how racism has impacted their health. And, of course, we need to demand accessible nutrition resources, safe housing, and education services for Black families.
BMHW provides an opportunity for individuals and organizations to come together for a common goal: improving black maternal health outcomes. There are several ways to get involved during this week, from attending or organizing events focused on improving black maternal mortality outcomes to advocating for resources in the community to raising awareness through social media campaigns. Whether you’re a woman of color or an ally who wants to take action, you have something valuable to contribute!
- Attend local events: Check out local events that focus on improving Black maternal health outcomes. These can include panel discussions, workshops, or rallies. You can connect with other people in your community who are passionate about this issue and learn more about how to get involved.
- Share on social media: Use the hashtag #BMHW23 to share information and raise awareness about Black maternal health. Share stories of Black mothers and their experiences with the healthcare system. Amplify the voices of Black mothers and activists who are working to improve Black maternal health outcomes.
- Donate to organizations: Consider donating to organizations that are working to address racial disparities in maternal care, such as MomsRising or National Birth Equity Collaborative. These organizations work to improve access to care, support Black mothers and families, and advocate for policy changes to improve Black maternal health outcomes.
- Advocate for change: Use your voice to advocate for policy changes that can improve Black maternal health outcomes. Contact your elected officials and urge them to support legislation that addresses disparities in maternal care. You can also contact your local hospital or healthcare provider and ask about their efforts to address racial disparities in maternal care.
- Educate yourself: Take the time to learn more about the history and current state of Black maternal health. Read articles, watch documentaries, and listen to podcasts that explore this issue. Understanding the root causes of disparities in maternal care can help you be a more effective advocate for change.
Remember, Black Maternal Health Week is just one week out of the year, but the work to improve Black maternal health outcomes is ongoing. By getting involved and staying engaged, you can help make a difference in the lives of Black mothers and families.
As a Black woman, I know how important it is to support Black mothers and ensure that we have access to the resources and care we need. So, let’s all come together and make a difference during Black Maternal Health Week and beyond! By lending our voices to fight the damaging effects of systemic racism towards Black women we can bring much-needed justice into our communities.