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:
- Differential treatment, dismissal, and racism during the pregnancy journey
- Limited knowledge and experiences with midwives and doulas
- Lack of postpartum support
In the documents below, we expand upon each theme with the voices of women of color guiding the way.