Black Maternity Health Week: Resources & organizations to check out

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It’s been one year since President Joe Biden officially proclaimed April 11 through April 17 as Black Maternal Health Week. The seven-day observance shines a light on Black mothers who struggle with pregnancy or maternity-related complications due to various obstacles and dangers. The Centers for Disease Control says Black women are three times more likely to die from pregnancy-related causes than white women. Healthcare access and quality, underlying chronic conditions, implicit bias, and structural racism are some of the factors contributing to these disparities.

Despite the statistics, several independent organizations are rallying to make childbirth safer for Black mothers across the country. While Black Maternal Health Week highlights Black mothers’ challenges, it’s also an opportunity to bring attention to resources, support, and vital information throughout the process. Below are some organizations and influential collectives established to assist Black mothers, protect their reproductive rights, or advance the birth justice movement.

Every Mother Counts

This global organization partners with other advocacy groups to advance maternal health, especially in undeveloped nations. They also have a presence in the United States, where they spotlight high maternal mortality rates and obstacles to care. Every Mother Counts links important research, resources, and organizations that can aid Black mothers or those working in maternal care, like midwives and doulas.

 

 
 
 
 
 
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National Association To Advance Black Birth (NAABB)

The National Association to Advance Black Birth (NAABB) targets structural racism affecting Black mothers, people, and their infants. They also uplift midwives, doulas, and other workers to improve Black maternity care. The organization also created the Birthing Bill of Rights, a guide to understanding Black women’s rights and choices throughout the maternity process. This also applies to medical professionals, hospitals, and government programs tending to Black mothers’ needs.

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Shades of Blue Project

Pregnancy isn’t just about the physical aspects of carrying a child. More researchers are focusing on the mental health of mothers before, during, and after birth, plus the effects on them and their children. The Shades of Blue Project aims to raise awareness of the unique mental health struggles Black mothers face and the cultural stigma. This group hosts events, online support groups, and informative webinars to support Black and brown birthing people. Parents can also request diapers and wipes through an online form, but it’s on a first-come, first-serve basis.

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Black Mamas Matter Alliance

Black Mamas Matter Alliance is a national network of Black-led birth and reproductive justice organizations created to advocate for better legislation for Black maternity, promote more research, and provide robust resources and support for Black mothers. The collective has several events lined up through Black Maternal Health Week, including a walk and days dedicated to highlighting maternal rights and reproductive health workers.

 

 
 
 
 
 
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The Black Maternal Health Caucus

Congresswomen Alma Adams and Lauren Underwood founded the Black Maternal Health Caucus to advance policies improving Black maternity. Over 100 Congress members are working toward these goals today with key stakeholders in their corner. Their website also facilitates several studies detailing multiple facets of Black maternal health, from historical trends and environmental influences to Black mother and infant mortality.

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