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3 Reasons Why We Should All Be Talking About Black Maternal Health Week

2020 was a year that sparked confusion and anger about many things, including socioeconomic gaps, the vast difference between being deemed essential versus actually being valued, and healthcare inequities. Not only were these disparities brought to light, but they also sparked some change.

First, we were able to see change that allowed people across the country to be tested and treated for coronavirus regardless of whether they had health insurance policies.

Second, we were able to witness covert efforts to vaccinate large populations irrespective of homelessness and place of residence. This, in no way, was done perfectly but the mission has been put in place and is slowly being executed. This past year also elucidated racial tensions as the entire country witnessed the grueling murder of George Floyd.

Some remained passive in the conversation, whereas, others used their privilege to hoist themselves onto their soapboxes to talk about centuries of macro and microaggressions against people of color.

This time of year, we discuss Black Maternal Health Week. It is still easy to stay passive; however, some of us have not lost our vigor and passion as it pertains to calling out inequity.

Black Maternal Health Week is a time where we can discuss some of the unique challenges and triumphs of Black mothers’ experiences before, during, and after pregnancy.

Here are 3 reasons why we should all be talking about Black Maternal Health Week.

1. Black women do not have access to the same resources

The fact of the matter is that if you readily have access to birth control, you are privileged. Studies from the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology (AJOG) show that Black women report increased use of less effective forms of contraceptives than their counterparts, such as condoms or the withdrawal method. This highlights the disproportionate access to resources required to make informed decisions in one’s health and the health of her future children. Additionally, inadequate access affects the ability to have routine screening and testing of diseases and conditions that other women regularly have access to.

2. The disparities are daunting

It’s incredibly painful to share that even in 2021, Black women are still three times more likely to experience pregnancy-related deaths than White women. Yes, many Black women are fortunate enough to walk out of the hospital with their babies in their arms. However, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) defines pregnancy-related death as the death of women while pregnant or within 1 year from the end of her pregnancy - from a pregnancy-related cause. These deaths can range from cardiovascular conditions, to infections, to blood pressure-related incidences. All of these have implications that can remain with the new mom for up to a lifetime.

3. The disparities affect our legacy

The fact of the matter is that mamas keep the world going; particularly, Black mamas keep the Black community going. When we dismember moms and mother figures from our communities, we negatively affect the ability to give and sustain generational impact. With that, culture dies, tradition is uprooted, and legacy ceases. Black Maternal Health Week is not only about the health implications on the Black women but also about the rich history that flows from her veins to her current and future children.

Ultimately, Black Maternal Health Week is a time to amplify the voices and highlight the bodies that have been overlooked for years in this country. After all, Black women are worthy of celebration.

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