Tag Archives: black maternal health

The CDC Releases Newly Updated Maternal Death Statistics in Over a Decade

United States maternal death statistics that have been used for over a decade have finally been updated. The CDC released 2018 national and state maternal death estimates last week. The numbers have increased dramatically and still remain the worst of any developed country in the world.

Currently, the maternal mortality rate (MMR) is 17.4 deaths per 100,000 live births. In 2007, the MMR was 12.7 deaths per 100,000 live births. The CDC says the MMR increase largely comes from the new data and collection requirements now on standard death certificates. Starting in 2003, a checkbox requirement was placed on the U.S. Standard Certificate of Death in order to accurately record maternal deaths. The checkboxes are:

  • Not pregnant within past year
  • Pregnant at time of death
  • Not pregnant, but pregnant 43 days to 1 year before death
  • Not pregnant, but pregnant within 42 days of death
  • Unknown if pregnant within the past year
Continue reading The CDC Releases Newly Updated Maternal Death Statistics in Over a Decade

Woman Dies From Pregnancy-Related Complications After Waiting Hours in Emergency Room

You have probably heard the story of Tashonna Ward, the 25-year-old Milwaukee woman who recently spent hours in the emergency room due to shortness of breath and died after waiting too long. Ward was told that she would spend between two to six hours in wait time at the ER according to distressing posts on her Facebook page. Preliminary tests were performed on Ward and showed she had cardiomegaly, an enlarged heart, but she was never admitted despite having chest pains and tightness of breath.

After waiting 2 hours and 29 minutes in the ER, Tashonna Ward and her sister decided to go to urgent care. She never made it. She passed out en route and collapsed and died in the urgent care parking lot. The cause of death: hypertensive cardiovascular disease.

While many reports mentioned the emergency room wait times that led to Ward’s death, a few have reported that she developed cardiomegaly due to pregnancy complications from a miscarriage in March of 2019. In fact, the Milwaukee County Medical Examiner’s Report states that the “decedent did develop cardiomegaly during pregnancy.”

“decedent did develop cardiomegaly during pregnancy.”

Milwaukee County Medical Examiner Report from January 14, 2020
Continue reading Woman Dies From Pregnancy-Related Complications After Waiting Hours in Emergency Room

9 Maternal Health Stories Worth Reading This Weekend

Now that 2020 is in full swing I decided to catch up on the many maternal health and mortality articles that were published during the holiday season. There has been a lot of stellar reporting that you might have missed. I did. Here is a compilation of some of the articles I found the most compelling starting with a wrap-up post, 7 things I learned from spending a year reporting on mothers in Alabama,  by Anna Claire Volle about the excellent year-long reporting she did on mothers in Alabama.  I particularly liked 

Black Maternal Health

[Self] Congresswoman Alma Adams on Why She Co-Founded the Black Maternal Health Caucus: Alma Adams is the congresswoman for my district. I am proud of the bi-partisan work she has been doing to help curb black maternal mortality. In this interview in Self’s Black Maternal Health series, Adams talks about the reasons why she is a co-founder of the Black Maternal Health Caucus.

[NBC News] Extremely alarming’: New report addresses maternal mortality in the U.S.: Taraneh Shirazian, director of Global Women’s Health at NYU’s College of Global Public Health and president of Saving Mothers discusses on Morning Joe how maternal mortality has decreased globally, but in the United States maternal deaths have increased particularly for black moms.

[The Hill] Reproductive revolution: Ending black maternal health inequities in 2020: Tracey Lewis-Elligan, an associate professor & chair of Sociology at DePaul University, details the ways in which black mortality can be decreased starting this year. She highlights some of the work of doulas and midwives in the fight against black maternal mortality.

Continue reading 9 Maternal Health Stories Worth Reading This Weekend

Congressional Black Maternal Health Caucus Launches on Capitol Hill

On Tuesday the first congressional caucus on black maternal health launched on Capitol Hill. Led by Democrat congresswomen Rep. Alma Adams (D-NC) and freshman Rep. Lauren Underwood (D-Il.) the caucus’s mission is to ensure black women are not dying senselessly during or after childbirth

As has been noted here many times before black women experience maternal mortality rates four times higher than white mothers no matter black women’s socioeconomic status or even the level of education achieved. In general, the United States has the highest maternal mortality rate of any developed country. Black women fare the worst.

Continue reading Congressional Black Maternal Health Caucus Launches on Capitol Hill

8 Organizations and Birth Centers That Save Black Mothers’ Lives #MaternalHealth (Updated)

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 

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