Black mothers are not being heard when in the hands of the healthcare system. Racial bias in the medical field is a real thing. Black Maternal Mortality is a crisis that demands urgent action.
I personally have experienced first hand what it feels like to not be heard while giving birth to a child. It was July 2, 2018. I was about to have my son. It had already been 20 hours of labor. The pain of the contractions grew more and more. I felt my body telling me that I was ready to have the baby. I expressed that to the nurse. She leaves stating that she had to take care of another patient.
At this point, I am waiting impatiently in pain and the second dose epidural hasn’t kicked in yet. By the time she came back, I was 9 ½ cm dilated. When I was giving birth, my son’s heart rate grew rapidly due to lack of oxygen. I had to wear an oxygen mask the whole time pushing.
I lost a lot of blood but he came out to be healthy. With the amount of blood I had, if I had not been taken care of in a timely fashion then I would have had a blood clot or worse. Thank God I didn’t experience any major complications.
In more recent news, in New York, NY, Amber Issac, a 26 year old mother, reportedly died after giving birth to her son, Elias. She was located at Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx. She sensed it was going to happen based on a tweet sent out days before her quite unfortunate death. She mentioned to her partner and mother that she may not make it.
Can’t wait to write a tell all about my experience during my last two trimesters dealing with incompetent doctors at Montefiore
— ✨ (@Radieux_Rose) April 17, 2020
Sadly, what Amber feared came to fruition on April 21. Her heart stopped as the medical team removed her son via emergency c-section. As soon as the baby came out, the mother bled out and died. According to reports, Amber’s blood levels have been dropping since February. She was not able to meet her doctor due to the coronavirus.
Amber sent numerous emails and calls about how she was feeling and needed assistance. The day she went into labor, the doctors learned that she had HELLP syndrome, is a potentially life-threatening disorder that’s usually associated with preeclampsia, a condition that occurs in 5–8 percent of pregnancies — most often after the 20th week of pregnancy. Preeclampsia can also occur earlier in pregnancy or, rarely, postpartum.
Senator Cory Booker tweeted out that black mothers are more than 3 times as likely to die from complications related to pregnancy than white mothers. When he said that I had to do my research. According to NPR.org, In recent years, as high rates of maternal mortality in the U.S. have alarmed researchers, one statistic has been especially concerning. According to the CDC, black mothers in the U.S. die at three to four times the rate of white mothers, one of the widest of all racial disparities in women’s health. Put another way, a black woman is 22 percent more likely to die from heart disease than a white woman, 71 percent more likely to perish from cervical cancer, but 243 percent more likely to die from pregnancy- or childbirth-related causes. In a national study of five medical complications that are common causes of maternal death and injury, black women were two to three times more likely to die than white women who had the same condition.
Shining light on the issue helps address the rampant racial disparities in our healthcare system. Let us not overlook or assume that this is not important. We want equality and fairness in all cases, even when it deals with health. We need to better protect and improve our black moms and black babies’ lives. This issue can no longer be ignored.
Brandi Hood is a part-time lifestyle writer and full-time English teacher. She juggles being a mom and wife but maintains it gracefully. She loves to read and watch shows like “Sistas” and “Insecure”.