Black Maternal Health Week (BMHW) takes place every year during National Minority Health Month. It starts April 11, International Day for Maternal Health and Rights, and continues through April 17. Founded and led by Black Mamas Matter Alliance, BMHW is a campaign to build awareness and activism around racial disparities in maternal health and to center and amplify the voices, perspectives and lived experiences of Black pregnant and birthing people in the United States. The theme for this year’s campaign is “Our Bodies Belong to Us: Restoring Black Autonomy and Joy!”
The statistics around Black maternal health are staggering: Black people in the U.S. are three times more likely to die in pregnancy, childbirth and the postpartum year than white people. This gap increases with maternal age and persists regardless of income or education, which was further demonstrated by a new study of two million California births between 2007-2016. As reported by the New York Times, “money protects white mothers and babies. It doesn’t protect Black ones.”
In the spirit of centering Black voices, Black scholarship and Black-led maternal health initiatives, we encourage you to join us in participating in this week’s activities by:
- Visiting Black Mamas Matter Alliance and following and sharing their content in social media.
- Learning about models for “joy & healing in Black births” on the Birthright podcast.
- Attending the online event A Black Mother’s Story: Eliminating Black Maternal Mortality on Tuesday evening.
- Listening to Myeshia’s Story or other episodes of the Natal podcast.
- Exploring the resources of the National Association to Advance Black Birth, including the Black Birthing Bill of Rights.
- Following #BMHW23 on Instagram and Twitter.
We would also like to recognize and thank the Patient Advisory Council (PAC) of Women’s Healthcare Associates (WHA), which has been meeting over the past months to review feedback received from BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) patients at WHA with the goal of recommending changes to provide more inclusive and equitable care. If you would like to share your experience as a BIPOC patient at WHA, please contact us at (503) 646-2793.