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Black Mamas Matter Alliance To Launch First ‘National Black Maternal Health Week’

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Did you know that black women are three to four times more at risk of a pregnancy-related death than white women? According to a 2017 CDC report, 700 women die each year in the United States as a result of pregnancy or delivery complications.

Bringing awareness to black maternal health and the factors causing these pregnancy-related deaths in African American women is The Black Mamas Matter Alliance, an organization combating the poor black maternal health outcomes within the U.S. health care system.

They will be hosting the first National Black Maternal Health Week from April 11 to April 17. During Black Maternal Health Week, organizers are hosting community events in California, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Ohio, and Texas to raise awareness about the racial gaps in maternal health and to discuss solutions to closing them.

“The goal of the week is to deepen the conversation around black maternal health and amplify black women leaders who are working on the issue,” says Elizabeth Dawes Gay of the Black Mamas Matter Alliance.

According to, events will include screenings of Death by Delivery, a documentary about black maternal mortality, panels featuring black women advocates, and educational workshops on yoga for birth and postpartum stages.

During an interview with Vogue, published earlier this year, tennis superstar Serena Williams recalled a very traumatic ordeal of her own following the birth of her daughter, Olympia. Serena experienced several small blood clots that settled in her lungs. She initially requested a CT scan and blood thinner medicine, but doctors had not listened and performed an ultrasound of her legs instead. After the ultrasound revealed nothing, Serena was sent for her requested CT scan, where the blood clots were then discovered. Returning to surgery due to the opening of her c-section wound from the intense coughing spells caused by the pulmonary embolism, they found that a large hematoma had flooded her abdomen.

“There is a different level of care afforded to people of color, indigenous people, poor people and trans people,” says Lynn Roberts, co-editor of Radical Reproductive Justice and professor at CUNY Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy. “I think that is systemic. And that devaluing and that stigmatizing gets in the way of quality care.”

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