Skip to main content

Listening Work, News & Updates, Research

USofCare’s Listening Work on Maternal Health: Understanding the Pregnancy Experience of Women of Color

Published On July 27, 2023

By: Annie Yu, Dr. Venice Haynes, Jen DeYoung

Despite spending the most on health care, the United States has the highest maternal mortality rate of any other high-income country. The racial disparity is especially stark: Black women are nearly three times more likely to die of pregnancy-related causes than white women, regardless of their income or education. 

As we search for solutions to the maternal health crisis, we must center the voices of people affected most. By engaging in conversations with women of color about their maternal health experiences, we uncovered crucial insights into challenges within our current maternal health care system, and how we might make it right so that all women can experience a joyful, safe, and supported pregnancy. 

In our conversations, three overarching themes emerged: 

  1. Differential treatment, dismissal, and racism during the pregnancy journey 
  1. Limited knowledge and experiences with midwives and doulas
  1. Lack of postpartum support

In the documents below, we expand upon each theme with the voices of women of color guiding the way. 

Differential Treatment, Stereotyping, and Racism in the Black Maternal Health Experience

Knowledge and Experiences with Midwives and Doulas

Lack of Postpartum Support