Black Maternal Health Week April 11-17 

By Elaine Herscher, Senior Editor

Women in America die at a higher rate from pregnancy-related causes than in any other developed nation. And Black women are three times more likely to die from these complications than White women. 

Black Maternal Health Week, starting Thursday April 11, seeks to bring attention to preventable deaths and poor health outcomes affecting Black mothers. The theme for the week, sponsored by Black Mamas Matter Alliance, is “Our Bodies STILL Belong to Us: Reproductive Justice Now.” 

The organization notes that many of the states in the U.S. with the most restrictive abortion bans have the worst maternal and child health outcomes. The group is demanding better insurance coverage for reproductive health care, better access to high-quality, patient-centered care, and funding for research and programs that utilize the scholarship and expertise of Black women.  

Here at LifeLong a team of nurse midwives, headed by Kim Cardoso, Associate Medical Director for Women’s Health, are the backbone of reproductive health services. The team provides pregnancy and postpartum care as well as treatment that spans every sort of gynecological issue – pap smears, fertility, menopause, birth control, and more. For pregnant moms, they do everything but attend the births. 

In an interview in 2023, Brookside San Pablo Nurse Midwife Lisa Jensen noted that midwives who follow patients closely for nine months are particularly suited to take the time “to establish trust, build connections, and reliably follow through.” 

“These ‘soft’ aspects of care are as essential in addressing the abysmal maternal and neonatal morbidity and mortality rates in this country as the clinical care that we provide,” Lisa said.  

Each year, the White House issues a proclamation for Black Maternal Health Week that calls for raising awareness about systemic discrimination in medicine and the need for urgent solutions. In the coming week, Black Mamas Matter Alliance is sponsoring daily activities to bring attention to the need for better policy and funding. 

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