Updated March 2019
Today as we celebrate and commemorate Martin Luther King Jr. Day, here are seven organizations and birth centers that are helping save the lives of black women during pregnancy, childbirth and after childbirth.
All maternal mortality and morbidity data in the United States report the same thing: black women die in disproportionately high numbers when compared to non-Hispanic white women. In fact, black women are four times more likely to die during or after childbirth than white women. One of the biggest statistics is black women — no matter socioeconomic status, education, lifestyle and access to health care — still die in larger numbers from maternal health complications.
The United States is the only developed country where the maternal mortality rate is increasing. Black women bear the largest brunt of this increase as they succumb to maternal health complications in the largest numbers. National organizations and regional birth centers have emerged to save more black mothers’ lives, especially in a climate where the most money is spent on health care than any other country in the world and more and more black women still are dying.
Support and follow these organizations and birth centers that are supporting women’s reproductive health. Leave a comment if you own or know of an organization that should be added to this list.
Ancient Song Doula Services (www.ancientsongdoulaservices.com): Full Spectrum evidence-based doula care organization focused on the doula as preventative care in underserved communities.
Black Mamas Matter (www.blackmamasmatter.org): Advancing the human right to safe and respectful maternal health care.
Black Women Health Imperative (http://www.bwhi.org): We are Black Women’s Health Imperative – the only national nonprofit dedicated to the physical, emotional & financial health & wellness of Black women & girls.
Black Women Justice Mission (blackwomenjusticemission.com): A collective of African-American, African, Caribbean and multi-racial women committed to transforming the birthing experiences for Black women.
Commonsense Childbirth (www.commonsensechildbirth.org): Jennie Joseph and Commonsense Childbirth Inc. are building a network of support to transform maternity care in the US. Be a part of the movement for change!
Jamaa Birth Village (www.jamaasnewhome.org): Jamaa Birth Village is located in Ferguson and for the last three years has implemented Midwifery and Doula based care that has been proven to eliminate disparities that are contributing to the rising rates of infant-maternal mortality and prematurity in black communities. Jamaa Birth Village recently received at 125k building donation from a Ferguson physician to expand its care and we want to spread the word about this grassroots change that is happening. Jamaa Birth Village is also Black woman founded and led. Added August 2018.
Mamatoto Village (www.mamatotovillage.org): Creating career pathways for WOC & empowering them with the tools to make informed decisions & choices in their maternity care, parenting, & lives. Added March 2019.
National Birth Equity Collaborative (birthequity.org): NBEC aims to reduce Black maternal and infant mortality through research, family-centered collaboration, and advocacy.
SisterSong (sistersong.net): Southern Based – National Women of Color Reproductive Justice Collective
Notable Articles and Health Series on Black Maternal Health
- Women’s eNews: Black Maternal Health | A Legacy and a Future
- My Brown Baby: Maternal Health
- Our Bodies Ourselves: What’s Behind the Increased Numbers of Black Women Dying During Pregnancy and Childbirth in the United States?
- Maternal Health Task Force: In the U.S., Black Mothers Need More Than Health Care
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