Yesterday concluded Black Maternal Health Awareness Week and to say that my eyes have been opened and my heart has felt heavy in the last eight days is a serious understatement. The statistics are out there, the evidence is real, the stories are aplenty and the heartache is felt across the nation. Black women are dying - as they welcome a child into their lives - and frankly, its ridiculous.
Black women are 243% more likely to die from pregnancy or childbirth-related causes than their while counterparts.
Why, you might ask?
Black women are less likely to have insurance and if they are eligible for something like Medicaid, they'll often lose coverage once the baby is born.
Black women are more likely to have chronic health issues such as diabetes, hypertension, obesity, etc. which can mean that giving birth is far more dangerous than a woman who doesn't have these problems.
Facilities often aren't in as good of condition or aren't of high quality as those where white women deliver which can lead to higher rates of life-threatening conditions.
Black women often feel disrespected, talked down to, an overall lack of support, devalued, discredited... Need I go on? NO ONE wants to be treated this way or feel this way and NO ONE should be handled in this manner!
Specifically in Ohio...
(The following information was taken directly from Cleveland Regional Perinatal Network.)
"In 2009, the pregnancy-related mortality rate was 17.8 deaths per 100,000 live births, compared to an all-time low of 7.2 per 100,000 live births in 1987. Ohio’s preliminary pregnancy-related mortality rates are at least comparable to the national rates and are likely higher. Causes of this increase in mortality are not completely understood. Factors which play a role include an increase in underlying chronic diseases along with maternal age in the obstetric population.
Ohio re-established a Pregnancy Associated Mortality Review (PAMR) system in 2010 to ensure that all maternal deaths are identified and preventive actions developed. A review had not been done in Ohio since the 1980’s. The Ohio PAMR was developed with funding from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality and is now supported with funding from the Title V Maternal and Child Health block grant. It has completed four years of review. The fifth is underway."
Making sure you really caught what you just read:
In 2009: 17.8 deaths per 100,000 live births
1987: 7.2 per 100,000 live births - what had been an all-time low.
Come on! We have to wake up! We have to take a stand! I hate to say it, but I think that our stats, almost ten years after the 2009 information are worse.
How can you help? Stay tuned for another post about local organizations that are working towards towards an end to this ghastly epidemic.