As a Maternal Near Miss Survivor, I am saddened by the untimely passing of World champion sprinter and three-time Olympic medalist Tori Bowie who died from complications related to childbirth. According to a report from NBC News obtained from the Orange County Medical Examiner’s Office in Florida, “Tori Bowie, who died at age 32, had a well-developed fetus. She was estimated to have been eight months pregnant, and there was evidence that she was “undergoing labor (crowning)” at the time of her death”. Our hearts and prayers go out to Tori Bowie’s family. On a recent episode of the Holistic Wealth podcast entitled “Empowering Black Women’s Health” with guest Dr. Monique Rainford, Author of Pregnant While Black, we discussed the maternal mortality rate of Black women.
Black women in many countries, including the United States, face higher rates of maternal mortality, preterm birth, low birth weight, and other pregnancy complications compared to their white counterparts. Black women are three times more likely to die from a pregnancy-related cause than White women. In an article in the New York Observer, entitled “What is Causing The High Maternal Death Rate Among Black Women in America?”, I highlighted that “in the U.S., Black expectant mothers are 243 percent more likely to die from childbirth-related causes than white women. Black women are also 49 percent more likely to deliver prematurely than white women, while black babies are twice as likely to die before reaching their first birthday”. These disparities are influenced by a complex interplay of socioeconomic factors, systemic racism, healthcare inequities, and implicit biases within the healthcare system.
Understanding and addressing these disparities is crucial to ensure that Black women receive the care and support they need for healthy pregnancies and positive birth outcomes. Reproductive health and maternal health are also critical to holistic wealth. Also check out our previous episode with guest Dr. Uche Blackstock on Advancing Health Equity. The issue of maternal mortality was also discussed in the new Holistic Wealth Expanded and Updated book.
What You Will Learn In This Episode
Understanding Black Women’s Health Disparities
- The definition and explanation of health disparities affecting Black women during pregnancy
- The factors contributing to these disparities (e.g., socioeconomic, systemic racism, unconscious bias and implicit biases in healthcare)
- Statistics and research findings on Black maternal health outcomes
Navigating Healthcare Systems
- Challenges Black women face when seeking prenatal care and navigating the healthcare system
- Addressing the issue of implicit biases and stereotypes in healthcare encounters
- Sharing practical tips and strategies for Black women to advocate for themselves during pregnancy
Maternal Mortality and Advocacy
- The alarming rates of maternal mortality among Black women
- Empowering Black women to engage in advocacy and activism for improved maternal health outcomes
- The importance of community and support networks for Black mothers