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Black maternal health: Addressing disparities in healthcare among Nebraska's birthing folks

Black birthing folks are three to four times more likely to die from pregnancy-related causes
Posted at 11:16 AM, Oct 04, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-04 12:16:33-04

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — October is Black Maternal Health Month Nebraska.

According to the CSC, the United States has a rising mortality rate and Black mothers are impacted the most.

3 News Now reporter Alyssa Curtis spoke with local organizers about the varying experiences Black mothers have while giving birth.

Black birthing folks are three to four times more likely to die from pregnancy-related causes and two times more likely to experience severe complications from birth.

The CDC says it's one of the widest racial disparities in women's health.

Nebraska ranks 19th in maternal mortality. According to a study done by the Division of Public Health and the Department of Health and Human Services, minority populations reported higher percentages of inadequate prenatal care than the white population.

About 25 percent of African Americans reported inadequate prenatal care.

This month, I Be Black Girl is bringing awareness to the disparities.

“How do we make Black women and birthing folks feel validated in their experiences to feel like there's community to talk about whatever those experiences are and how we continue in this journey together in parenting and raising children?” said Ashlei Spivey, Director of I Be Black Girl.

Organizers say more light has been shed on these experiences through celebrities, but it's important to know experiences vary.

“It's important to uplift the celebrities that have shone light in a different way have a ton of different resources, so imagine the folks that don't have as many resources and what stories don't get uplifted. Our birthing experiences are varied. The severe near-deaths we experience is the piece I think is missing from storytelling. It's not just we we're dying from childbirth but we're having instances of losing our reproductive systems, having hemorrhaging,” continued Spivey.

Advocates say while Black birthing folks can die from birth, it's also conditions like hemorrhaging, cardiovascular issues, high blood pressure, preeclampsia and more.

They say many of these problems can be prevented, but…

“We're living in a world that is stacked up against us. We still have systemic racism in the United States and that experience of dealing with systems whether financial, educational access to healthy foods, transportation all that takes a toll and can impact ability to access healthcare and the support we need when we need it,” Spivey said.

They say until systemic racism is addressed, Black birthing folks will not see improvement.

Until policies change, advocates want those experiencing pregnancy to know their power.

I Be Black Girl will have events and online sessions all month long about data, breastfeeding, systemic racism and more.

Their keynote speech will kick off Tuesday and you can register for events on Ibeblackgirl.com.

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