Black Maternal Health Week Advocates to Improve Health Outcomes for Black Families

Black Maternal Health Week Advocates to Improve Health Outcomes for Black Families

Now in its fifth year, Black Maternal Health Week (BMHW), April 11-17, founded by Black Mamas Matter Alliance (BMMA), is a week of awareness, activism, and community building to bring attention to and deepen the conversation on Black maternal health in the United States. More specifically, the conversations and activism seek to highlight and improve upon the stark inequities Black Mamas (an intentionally specific and preferred term) experience:

  • Black women are 3 – 5 times more likely to have a maternal death than White women in the United States. (Source: AJMC)
  • The U.S. has an infant mortality rate of 5.6 per 1000 live births in 2019, with a health disparity among Black babies at a rate of 10.8 deaths per 1,000 live births in 2018. (Source: CDC)
  • Black mothers are more likely to suffer from PMADs (Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders) like postpartum depression, in silence, and without clinical help. (Source: NCBI)
  • About 75.5% of Black infants are breastfed compared to more than 85% of White and Latinx moms. (Source: CDC)

The 2022 BMHW is “Building for Liberation: Centering Black Mamas, Black Families and Black Systems of Care”, which according to BMMA, reflects their work in “centering Black women’s scholarship, maternity care work, and advocacy across the full-spectrum of sexual, maternal, and reproductive health care, services, programs, and initiatives.” We encourage you to visit the BMMA website to find ways to participate in the conversation, like attending events, both local and national, online and in-person, or to  support the advocacy work at BMMA through a monetary donation.

As an organization dedicated to educating families about safe and healthy pregnancy, birth, and early parenthood, Lamaze is committed to expanding and improving upon our own efforts in diversity, equity, and inclusion in order to increase access to childbirth classes as well as increase the number of Black Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educators (LCCE). The Lamaze Ahead initiative is a collaborative planning process developed using feedback from the broader community and volunteer Lamaze leadership. A key component of Lamaze Ahead is our dedication to diversity, equity, and inclusion. Yearly, we will review and recommit to answering the questions, “Will Lamaze demonstrate its ability to improve maternal health outcomes to parents, healthcare providers, facilities, and payers?” and “Will Lamaze childbirth education be equitably accessible to parents in Black and Brown, LGBTQ+, and other under resourced communities?” with specific and measurable actions. Currently, Lamaze is piloting a workforce development program that will recruit, train, and mentor individuals from under-resourced or historically marginalized communities to become Lamaze certified. Five trainees and five mentors will be selected to receive this grant. Learn more about the grant or apply here

To find a Black pregnancy, birth, or breastfeeding professional, including Black doulas, OBs, midwives, and lactation consultants, check out our post with a list of directories

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