According to the Centers for Disease Control, Black women are three times more likely to die from a pregnancy-related cause than White women. Multiple factors contribute to this crisis such as variation in quality healthcare, underlying chronic conditions, structural racism, and implicit bias. At a recent BlogHer Health event, Pampers and BlogHer partnered with a panel of experts, medical professionals, and advocates to shed light on the Black Maternal Healthcare crisis, share valuable insights on how to be your own best advocate, and discuss the ways in which we can work towards an equitable future.
Guest speakers included moderator attorney and model Jesyka Harris, licensed midwife, internationally board-certified lactation consultant, childbirth educator, doula trainer Kimberly Durdin, and fertility physician Dr. Cindy Duke. Since the beginning of the pandemic, Black women’s maternal mortality rate at increased by 36 percent. Because it appears the pandemic is here to stay, Jesyka asked Dr. Duke how Black women can improve their own maternal health outcomes and learn to advocate for themselves.
“I started medical school in 2001,” says Dr. Duke. “One of the first lessons they taught us was how disparate the Black maternal mortality numbers were in the United States as compared to their White counterparts. Here we are 21 years later still talking about this and watching it worsen.” Dr. Duke goes on to say that education is the first step in enacting change. “It’s rooted over 100 years in our [healthcare] system…we need to talk about it, we need to acknowledge it, and then we can start fixing it,” Dr. Duke says.