For expectant mothers, pregnancy can be both an exciting and anxious time. From adjusting through stages of the trimesters to monitoring the well-being of their baby – every minute is precious and constantly evolving.
But for a growing number of women of color who are expecting, it can also be a life-threatening situation, and the statistics are alarming. Approximately 700 women die each year in the United States from complications due to pregnancy, with Black women being two to three times more likely to die of pregnancy-related causes than White women.1 Many of these deaths are due to systemic racial injustice within healthcare, and social determinants of health, such as access to food, education, housing and jobs.2
Taking action to improve pre-natal care among women and tackle the disturbing trend of racial disparities impacting pregnant women, The Anthem Foundation issued a grant to the March of Dimes, the leader in the fight for the health of all moms and babies. A core component of the grant focuses on health equity partnerships with more than 20 hospitals, which includes the Implicit Bias in Maternal Healthcare training.
Across 16 states and Washington D.C., the course provides an overview of implicit bias, its impact on the maternal infant health crisis, the history of structural racism in the United States, and provides strategies for providers to both mitigate racial bias in maternity care and to commit to a culture of equity. Through this program, it is expected more than 15,000 women will be reached by providers trained in implicit bias/health equity at hospitals and through community engagement events.
Breaking down barriers for expectant women of color, such as implicit bias, chronic conditions and lack of access to high-quality care, can allow pregnant mothers to comfortably address their pregnancy concerns with medical professionals, and concentrate on ensuring the good health of themselves and their baby. Together, we are working tirelessly to create enduring change in communities across the nation, and addressing the factors driving disparities in our health system and in society as a whole.
1 Health disparities. (n.d.). Retrieved January 14, 2021 from https://www.marchofdimes.org/mission/health-disparities.aspx
2 Pregnancy Related Deaths. (2019, May 07). Retrieved January 14, 2021, from https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/68/wr/mm6835a3.htm