August 18, 2008

Black Maternal Health: A Legacy and a Future

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Black Maternal Health

(WOMENSENEWS)--The logo for this series is meant to represent a key idea: Maternal health is all about embracing the mother.

But in the United States, African American women confront striking statistics as they form partnerships, become parents and care for their children.

African American women are three-to-six times more likely to die during pregnancy and the six weeks after delivery than U.S. white and Latina women. That holds true across various levels of income and education. In fact, some studies find middle-income and highly educated African American women at higher risk.

Black Maternal Health Series
Lawmakers Join Push to Close Maternal Health Gaps
Run Date: February 20, 2009
Industry, Feds Entice Black Mothers to Bottle Feed
Run Date: November 16, 2008
Dr. Philipp's Baby Friendly Initiative Dr. Phillips' Baby Friendly Initiative
Harlem Hospital Becomes Baby Friendly for Breast Feeding Harlem Hospital Becomes Baby Friendly for Breast Feeding
Midwives Fight AMA to Provide Black Maternal Care
Run Date: Sept. 29, 2008
U.S. Maternal Hazards Tied to Social Stress
Run Date: June 29, 2008
Breastfeeding Not for You? Sisters, Listen Up
Run Date: July 24, 2008
Efforts Mount to Improve Black Breastfeeding Rates
Run Date: August 2, 2008
Pregnant? Your Job Is To Take Care of Yourself
Run Date: May 08, 2009
Black Fathers Opening Up About All That Love
Run Date: June 12, 2009
Maternity Center Showcases Full-Service Approach
Run Date: June 5, 2009

Black women form 12 percent of the United States' female population but represent nearly half of maternal mortalities.

Compared to any other group of women, black women are least likely to breastfeed a child exclusively at six months, a government target for promoting healthier children. Consistent nursing also reduces a woman's risk of breast and ovarian cancers--protection especially important to African American women who are more vulnerable for these types of cancers.

How to explain these pregnancy experiences? The stress of living with racism--from workplace discrimination to maltreatment in maternity wards--is now a leading hypothesis.

Women's eNews intends to cover this story over a period of years as we use the art and science of journalism to document and explore many complex and interlocking elements. Tradition, history, personal experience, institutional bias, corporate interests and health insurance procedures will all be examined. With hope, our work will contribute to a society where more expectant mothers can experience the joy of giving birth to a healthy infant.

Women's eNews thanks the W.K. Kellogg Foundation for proving the support for this series.

Related Stories
NYC Hospitals Embark on 'Baby-Friendly' Quest
N.Y.C. Maternal Death Review Struggles for Life
Illinois Group Aims to Trim Maternal Health Gaps
Few U.S. Moms Meet Six-Month Breastfeeding Goal
Kindness RX Offered to Pregnant Black Women
Studies Plumb Depths of Black Maternal Health Woes

For More Information

The W.K. Kellogg Foundation

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