The United States is the only developed country in the world with an increasing maternal mortality rate. The risks associated with childbirth are even higher for Black women.
According to the Centers for Disease and Prevention (CDC), the maternal mortality rates by ethnic groups are as follows: non-Hispanic Black (37.3 deaths per 100,000 live births), non-Hispanic White (14.9), and Hispanic (11.8) women. Therefore, Black women are 2.5x more likely to die in childbirth compared to White women.
Learn the factors that contribute to this shocking phenomenon and what can be done to protect Black mothers.
What Contributes to Racial Disparities in Maternal Mortality?
The reasons for the racial disparities in maternal mortality are complex, but include the following key factors:
- The dismissal of Black mothers’ concerns. This factor has more to do with race than socioeconomic status. Black women from all classes report healthcare workers not listening to their reports of pain and discomfort during childbirth. In fact, approximately 25% of Black mothers report disrespect and abuse from healthcare workers in the hospital. This disturbing phenomenon is widespread throughout the healthcare industry, with a study showing that 50% of physicians-in-training hold false beliefs about Black people’s bodies.
- Unequal access to prenatal care. The CDC estimates that half of the women who experience an unintended pregnancy do not seek prenatal care during the first trimester. One reason this may occur is that lower socioeconomic communities that do not have the same high-quality healthcare services that are more prevalent in wealthier communities.
Understanding that these issues exist in the U.S. healthcare system is the first step to increasing the chances of survival for Black mothers in the delivery room. Additionally, Dr. Jessica Shepherd, OB/GYN and women’s health expert, aims to educate and empower Black mothers by encouraging them to advocate for themselves:
“It’s important to find a provider who is going to be an advocate for you. We know that studies have shown that minority physicians are more likely to provide services that are going to reduce this racial tension, to have that equality when we think of ethnic health disparities. It doesn’t mean that every Black person or person of color needs to have a physician that is a person of color, but we want to make sure that we have that representation, that there’s someone there to be an advocate for you.”
If you or someone you love suffered at the hands of a negligent medical provider, our Miami medical malpractice attorneys are here to make it right. We have the experience and resources needed to take on large hospitals and insurance companies, and we can help you obtain the justice you deserve.
Call Grossman Roth Yaffa Cohen at (866) 629-1061 to schedule a free consultation.