We previously wrote about National Minority Health Month and the importance of highlighting the health of racial and ethnic minorities in this country. As March of Dimes continues to raise awareness of health disparities in minority communities around maternal and infant health, we want to take the time to uplift Black Maternal Health Week, which takes place from April 11-17.
What the data show
The U.S. health care system has historically failed people of color, including during the crucial time of pregnancy. Multiple health, societal and economic factors are all contributors, including unequal access to maternity care. These chronic inequities and unequal access to quality care contribute to higher rates of maternal and infant health complications. For example:
- Black women are three times more likely to die from pregnancy-related causes compared to White women.
- This rate of infant mortality (death) among Black babies is almost two times higher than the national average (5.6 per 1,000 live births). According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the rate of infant mortality (death) among Black babies in the U.S. is 10.8 per 1,000 live births.
- Preterm birth rates are 50 percent higher among Black women, than they are among White or Hispanic women.
As we mentioned in our 2020 report, Nowhere to Go: Maternity Care Deserts Across the U.S., research shows that hospitals that serve Black women were lower-quality as compared to hospitals that have a higher proportion of White women receiving care. These differences between hospitals lead to higher rates of morbidity and mortality for the minority women, especially Black women.
Enough is enough. A mom’s ZIP code and skin color shouldn’t determine the level and quality of care she and her baby receive. That’s why, this Black Maternal Health Week, we ask that you join us to advocate for legislation that can reduce health care disparities and donate to help every family get the best possible start.
Learn more here: Campaigns and initiatives