Lawmakers, providers discuss efforts to erase racial disparities in maternal healthcare

Black women are three times as likely to die from pregnancy-related complications than white women.
This week marks Black Maternal Health Week in the United States.
Published: Apr. 14, 2023 at 7:56 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Right now, about 700 women die during childbirth or soon after in the United States each year, according to the CDC.

Black women make up a large majority of those deaths. In fact, Black women in the U.S. are three times more likely to die from pregnancy-related complications than white women.

Studies show black women are often dismissed or ignored in hospitals when they suffer pregnancy complications.

In 2017, the executive board of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecology acknowledged the disparities in its policy statement, saying medicine is “beset with implicit and explicit racial bias,” and that “the field of obstetrics and gynecology has engaged in practices that were very harmful to women of color.”

WBTV delved into the racial disparities in the healthcare system as part of Black Maternal Health Week, and took a look at some of the work being done to close the gap in maternal healthcare in the Charlotte area.

Mothers and families in need of care can utilize Care Ring’s low-cost or free services.

Expectant women preparing to give birth can also learn and be provided with resources through doulas, or birthing coaches. Mine-R-T Doula Company is one local company serving soon-to-be moms. Learn more about the organization by clicking here.

The work to close the gap doesn’t stop at mother-centric services though, as legislation has also been introduced.

U.S. Rep. Alma Adams, who represents part of Mecklenburg County, spearheaded the Black Maternal Momnibus Act in 2020.

The act is made up of nine separate bills, which seek to secure 12-month postpartum Medicaid coverage, investments in rural maternal health, and the implementation of implicit bias trainings in the maternal healthcare field.

Also Read: Charlotte organization bringing awareness to postpartum mental health disorders facing Black mothers