In the lead up to Mother’s Day, Black Lives Matter and Justice Teams Network cofounder Patrisse Khan-Cullors and midwife Anayah Sangodele-Ayoka explain why incorporating a midwife into Black women’s pre-conception, labor and postpartum plans can reduce the racial disparities in maternal death rates in a video released yesterday (May 10) by NowThis Her:
The video details how a history of racial discrimination, coupled with existing gender and racial biases, have led to Black women dying at three to four times the rate of White women from childbirth-related complications—regardless of age, education and economic status. Cullors discusses how Serena Williams had a potentially fatal postpartum experience and how it highlights that “wealth and fame couldn’t protect her from the racial bias that exists in health care for Black women.” Cullors also revealed her own experience, in which she was misinformed after delivering her baby via Caesarean section and developed pneumonia.
As explained by Sangodele-Ayoka, who is also a senior fellow for maternal justice at MomsRising, in places that integrate midwives into the health care system, women and their babies are healthier. They ask Black women to fight back against the sobering statistics of Black maternal death rates by turning to Black midwives and sharing their pregnancy and birth stories using the hashtag #BirthingWhileBlack.