Black women also experience more pregnancy complications, including hypertension, eclampsia, preeclampsia, and other heart conditions that can lead to death. This disparity is equalized across education and socioeconomic status. Black women with at least a college degree are more than five times ask likely to die during childbirth compared to white women with the same education. Additionally, the infant mortality rate for Black babies, 10.8 deaths per 1,000 live births, is double the national average of 5.7 deaths per 1,000 live births.
That’s a good thing, because we’re going to need it to solve the Black maternal health crisis. What we do have is will, determination, and mental fortitude to see a job through. It’s enough to not only save ourselves, but the world.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that Black women are three times more likely to die during childbirth than white women. For Black women over 30, the rate of death during childbirth is four times higher than it is for white women. We don’t wear capes. We don’t have magical powers or superhuman strength. We don’t have high-tech weaponry to outfit ourselves to fight insidious evil in the world.
The Black Maternal Health Momnibus Act of 2020, introduced in both the U.S. House and Senate last March, has taken a backseat in priority to preventing the spread of disease and death from the COVID-19 pandemic. Enter the superheroes. Still, the unimaginable and insurmountable losses of women and mothers, like Kyira “Kira” Dixon Johnson, Sha’asia Washington, and pediatrician Dr. Chaniece Wallace, can’t be healed without real, actionable change.
The complex birth experiences of superstars, like Serena Williams, Beyoncé, and Olympic gold medalist Allyson Felix, make global headlines. These statistics are alarming, yet they have been recorded for more than a decade with a seemingly silent erasure.
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