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Reducing Black Maternal Mortality: A Critical Path Forward

In recent years, the issue of maternal mortality among Black women has come to the forefront of public health discussions, underscoring a crisis that demands immediate attention and action. Despite advancements in healthcare, Black mothers in the United States face significantly higher risks during pregnancy and childbirth compared to their counterparts.

Reducing Black Maternal Mortality: A Critical Path Forward

Understanding the Crisis

Black women are disproportionately affected by maternal mortality, with rates more than two to three times higher than those of White women. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), this discrepancy reflects a complex interplay of factors, including underlying chronic conditions, systemic racism in healthcare, and lack of access to quality maternal care​​. The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health elaborates on the role that social determinants such as poverty, education, and neighborhood environments play in exacerbating these risks​​.

Addressing Systemic Barriers

The crux of solving the Black maternal health crisis lies in addressing the systemic barriers that prevent Black women from receiving the care they need. This includes tackling the pervasive issue of racism within healthcare settings where Black women’s concerns and symptoms are often minimized or dismissed by healthcare providers. A study highlighted in the National Library of Medicine points out the critical need for healthcare professionals to undergo bias training to ensure all women receive respectful and attentive care regardless of race or ethnicity​​.

Improving Access to Care

Improving access to comprehensive maternal healthcare is crucial, and increasing the availability of services that are culturally competent and sensitive to the needs of Black mothers is a major step forward in the fight against Black maternal mortality.

The implementation of maternal-focused care strategies and the advocacy of doulas and midwives who share the cultural backgrounds of the mothers they serve have shown promise in improving outcomes by providing personalized and supportive care throughout the pregnancy and postpartum periods.

Fostering Community Support and Advocacy

Community support is vital in empowering Black women to advocate for their health. Creating spaces where women can share their experiences, knowledge, and resources can help in navigating the healthcare system more effectively. Moreover, advocacy for policy changes that address the root causes of health disparities is essential. This includes policies that ensure equitable access to healthcare, improve social determinants of health, and protect against discrimination within the healthcare system.

Moving Forward

Reducing Black maternal mortality requires a multifaceted approach that addresses the systemic, social, and economic factors contributing to this crisis. It calls for concerted efforts from healthcare providers, policymakers, community organizations, and individuals to create a more equitable healthcare system that respects and responds to the needs of Black mothers. By committing to these changes, we can work towards a future where every mother has the chance to experience pregnancy and childbirth safely and with dignity.

As we continue to push for improvements, it’s important that we keep the dialogue open, share knowledge, and support one another in the fight against maternal mortality. The health and well-being of Black mothers are of paramount importance, and it’s up to all of us to ensure they receive the care and respect they deserve.


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (n.d.). Health Equity: Maternal Mortality. Retrieved from

Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. (2023). Solving the Black Maternal Health Crisis. Retrieved from

National Library of Medicine. (2018). Racial/Ethnic Disparities in Pregnancy-Related Deaths — United States, 2007–2016. Retrieved from

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