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Tue Dec 7, 2021, 01:02 PM

Tackle maternal health disparities, mortality with data and better care

I’ve been working to expand access to affordable health coverage for children and families for more than two decades. After the birth of my daughter, I heard with different ears the story of my own birth – the nurses sent my dad home “to rest” and left my mother laboring overnight without checking on her because they didn’t want “to disturb the doctor on Sunday.”

I realize now how my or my mother’s life could have ended in tragedy. When a family member of mine recently experienced a stillbirth, I knew well that the health care system might have contributed to her personal heartbreak and how far we need to go to address maternal and child health outcomes. And as a mother, I am reminded that my risk of dying in childbirth is more than three times the risk for a woman with the same education, income level and insurance – just because I’m a Black woman.

What I’ve experienced personally is a symptom of our country’s devastating racial and ethnic disparities in maternal health outcomes. The United States has the worst maternal mortality rate among industrialized countries. American Indian/Alaska Native and Black women are two to three times more likely to die from a pregnancy-related cause than white women. And two out of three pregnancy-related deaths in this country are preventable.

On Tuesday, under the leadership of Vice President Kamala Harris, the White House is convening a nationwide Maternal Health Day of Action. The vice president, White House domestic policy adviser Susan Rice and Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra have a longstanding commitment to addressing maternal health disparities. We are using all the tools at our disposal to effect change.

Very good story but mortality and complications are also high for poor and underserved white women (I know this because I worked briefly in neonatal in Appalachia).

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Reply Tackle maternal health disparities, mortality with data and better care (Original post)
Jilly_in_VA Dec 7 OP
JustAnotherGen Dec 7 #1
Jilly_in_VA Dec 7 #2
Diamond_Dog Dec 7 #3

Response to Jilly_in_VA (Original post)

Tue Dec 7, 2021, 01:06 PM

1. Underserved poor white women

Still get 'heard'. Whereas my niece (affluent, middle class, nurse) in NJ was throwing up in her sleep and the doctors told her she was 'young and strong' last March. After three days of this they induced her . . . a Nurse.

Thrilled that rep Underwood is on this.


Yeah - my dad's mom gave birth 9 times and only her last two were born in a hospital (first time hospital was available to black women in Talladega Alabama)

But my niece would have been better served under the care of a Native or Black midwife.

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Response to JustAnotherGen (Reply #1)

Tue Dec 7, 2021, 01:17 PM

2. Don't get me wrong

I am aware of the racial disparities. I wanted to be a midwife and am thrilled to see that the profession has come this far since the 1980s when I gave up my quest (way too early, but...long story). At the time the nearest program was at an HBCU 250 miles away and I would have had to stay through the week. I had school age children and my late ex put his foot down on both counts. But I did see large disparities in how the middle class and poor white women in our area were treated when it came to maternity care. Many of the poor women (black and white), if they got any maternity care at all, got it at the local health dept., then came to the hospital in labor and it was the luck of the draw who delivered the babies. Some of the docs were far less than thrilled to deliver the Medicaid or no-insurance moms, I can tell you. I had to attend any births where the mom had no prenatal care if they happened on my shift so I got to see that.

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Response to Jilly_in_VA (Original post)

Tue Dec 7, 2021, 01:24 PM

3. About damn time

this disgraceful disparity (and maternal care in general) is addressed in this country.

The “pro life” crowd sure doesn’t care about mothers’ well being.

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