Safe Delivery Campaign
For most women, pregnancy is a wonderful time full of joy and promise. Most women will have uneventful pregnancies, with the normal challenges of swollen feet, achy backs, and strange cravings. Most women will deliver healthy babies after a full-term pregnancy and will leave the birth experience with no lasting negative effects.
But for too many women of color, pregnancy is often a dangerous time. Women of color experience more complications during pregnancy and have more negative outcomes, including infant mortality than their white peers. Let’s look at the data.
Data (Why You Should Care)
Women of color experience higher rates of maternal mortality and severe maternal morbidity.
- While Black women do not have a significantly higher risk of experiencing the medical conditions common to maternal death, they are two to three times as likely as White women to die from them. From Pregnancy Mortality Surveillance System, Center for Disease Control, 2016
- Black women are three to four times more likely to die from complications of pregnancy or childbirth than White women, and they are twice as likely to suffer from severe maternal morbidity. From Pregnancy Mortality Surveillance System, Center for Disease Control, Dec. 2016 and Black Mamas Matter: A Toolkit for Advancing the Human Right to Safe and Respectful Maternal Care, Center for Reproductive Rights, 2016.
Women of color are less likely to have access to quality, affordable, appropriate, and timely maternal care, placing them at a higher risk for poor maternal health outcomes.
- Despite historically low uninsured levels under the Affordable Care Act, women of color are still more likely than White women to lack health insurance, xv which limits their access to healthcare. From Center for Global Policy Solutions, 2015
- According to the latest National Healthcare Quality and Disparities Report, Black and Latina women receive lower-quality care than White women on 40 percent of measures of overall health care quality. A lack of access to quality care overall correlates with a lack of access to reproductive health care, suggesting that they also experience lower quality reproductive health care. From Agency for Health Care Quality Research, 2014
- Women who receive no prenatal care are three to four times more likely to die of pregnancy or childbirth-related complications. Thirty-two percent of Black women and 41 percent of American Indian and Alaska Native women do not receive adequate prenatal care. From Maternal Mortality in the United States: A Human Rights Failure, 2011
Women of color experience higher rates of infant death and pre-term births.
- Black infants die before one year of life at more than twice the rate of white infants.
- The preterm birth rate for non-Hispanic black women is 1.6 times higher than the preterm birth rate for white women. From Infant Mortality Statistics, National Vital Statistics Report, 2015
News Articles and Videos
The Persistent Joy of Black Mothers, by Leah Wright Riguer: Characterized throughout American history as symbols of crisis, trauma, and grief, these women consistently reject those narratives through world-making of their own.
What Can You Do?
Join WE CAN to change these numbers and help all Sisters experience all the joys of pregnancy and motherhood!
Tell Your Congressmen to Support Black Mothers!
The Black Maternal Health Momnibus Act of 2021 addresses the maternal health crisis many women face here in the United States. The United States has the most advanced health care in the world, yet we continue to allow Black women, and women in general, to die and suffer poor birth outcomes. Black mothers die 3-4 times more often than their white counterparts. Native American mothers are more than twice as likely to die from pregnancy-related illnesses. These tragedies are preventable. Send a letter to your member of the U.S. House of Representatives inviting them to support this important issue.
Volunteer for the Safe Delivery Campaign
If this issue is very important to you, please let WE CAN know so we can include you in future efforts. We expect to announce periodic actions you can take, so please make sure we know you want to raise your voice in support of the Safe Delivery Campaign and stay tuned!