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BLACK MATERNAL
& INFANT HEALTH

Black Maternal & Infant Health 1

The Black Maternal and Infant Health program utilizes policy and program development to call attention to the staggering rate of Black maternal and infant mortality in Los Angeles County.

Black Women for Wellness advocates for systemic change that acknowledges the impact of racism on health outcomes to ensure that Black mothers and babies are able to thrive. This is also accomplished by increasing accessible, appropriate, and affordable health care.

The basis of our work is centered around these initiatives:

To provide every mother with the information she needs to have a safe and healthy pregnancy, birth experience, and the postpartum period

To promote emotional and mental wellbeing throughout the perinatal experience via pregnancy support groups throughout Los Angeles

To directly address the impact of racism on health outcomes and hold providers accountable

Kheti and Gabrielle Smiling at Reproductive Justice Event for Sisters in Control Black Maternal Infant Health Week

BWW’s Black Maternal and Infant Health Program is a Kindred Partner of the Black Mamas Matter Alliance, and The Los Angeles County African American Infant & Maternal Mortality Community Action Team steering committee.

Black mother and her infant

Maternal & Infant Health Resource Guide

This maternal and infant health resource guide is designed to provide new and expectant mothers with the information they need to ensure the health and well-being of themselves and their babies.

Read the Resource Guide

Black Mama’s Week 2023: “Our Bodies Belong To Us: Restoring Bodily Autonomy & Joy!”

Our BWW Black Maternal and Infant Health program showed up in a BIG way during Black Mama’s Week 2023!!! This years theme was: “Our Bodies Belong To Us: Restoring Bodily Autonomy & Joy!”.

This was a week full of celebrating Black motherhood and advocating for better maternal health outcomes for Black birthing people. Our Sisters in Control Reproductive Justice, Black Maternal and Infant Health program hosted/participated in 4 events throughout Los Angeles and was able to connect with over 500 community members!

We hosted:

1. Glowing While Growing, a Live Cooking Demo & panel discussion for expecting mothers

2. Supporting Black Mothers: Restoring Joy, an informative and interactive prenatal workshop with relaxing pregnancy massages, Doula tips, sound therapy and lots of gifts for mom and baby

3. Centering Black Mothers, an empowering maternal infant health panel at [email protected] bringing awareness to the data surrounding the Black Maternal and Infant Health Crisis

4. AAIMM CAT Baby Shower, we proudly participated in the joyous community baby shower in partnership with AAIMM CAT where moms got a chance to meet each other, find out the gender of their baby and take home everything from diapers and wipes to play pins.

It was a week full of advocacy, love and support for Black mothers and babies.

 

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Birth Justice COVID19 Bill of Rights Final

Birth Justice COVID-19 Bill of Rights

Everything they didn’t tell you about being a Black Mama to Be!

Topics covered inside:

  • Tips for Advocacy
  • Birthing People’s Bill of Rights Preeclampsia
  • Pregnancy Mask
  • Preterm Labor
  • Hypertension
  • Postpartum Depression
  • Pain
  • Birthing Resources
Download Bill of Rights

Protecting Your Birth: A Guide For Black Mothers

It is clear that giving birth while Black is a disproportionately dangerous experience. The data tells us clearly that, by conservative estimates “Black women in America have more than three times higher risk of death related to pregnancy and childbirth than their white peers. This is regardless of factors like higher education and financial means, and for women over 30, the risk is as much as five times higher.”

Given this truism and the knowledge that those daunting statistics have racism at the core, how can you best communicate with your OB-GYN as a Black Mother?

Erica Chidi and Erica P. Cahill published in the New York Times a guide for Black mothers on how racism can impact your pre and postnatal care and some tips to help mitigate the potential negative outcomes of the experience in an effort to support a joyous, healthy birth for both mom and baby.The full article can be found here.

Here is a summary of what you should know:

Pregnant black woman

STEP 1: ACKNOWLEDGE RACE AND RACISM IN THE ROOM

  • Discussions of race can bring up anxiety for all involved, but addressing it is a necessary step toward creating safety and combating implicit bias. Implicit bias means our subconscious associations based on characteristics such as race, ethnicity, age and appearance.

STEP 2: CREATE A CARE PLAN ANTICIPATING THAT RACISM MAY IMPACT PREGNANCY

  • Approximately 1 in 6 Black women in America will have a preterm delivery which increases risks to newborns, as nearly two-thirds of all newborn deaths to Black women can be attributed to prematurity. Women with A HISTORY OF PRETERM BIRTHare more likely to have another preterm delivery. If you’ve had a preterm birth before, talk to your care provider about what monitoring and treatment may be appropriate for you.

STEP 3: IDENTIFY HOW RACISM MAY IMPACT LABOR

  • Many STUDIES have demonstrated that medical professionals have perceived Black people as having higher pain tolerances, leading to disparities in pain management that cannot be explained by perceived lesser pain. This is one of the many ways that the history of slavery impacts the treatment that laboring mothers receive. It is important for patients and providers to be aware of and actively combat these assumptions.

  • With your support team and provider, think through pain options you might want ahead of your delivery. Ask what you should do if you feel that your pain is being inadequately treated. The following sample language could help:“I know that research has shown that Black women are more likely to have their pain under-treated. I am worried about being in pain and not receiving appropriate treatment. How can we make sure that doesn’t happen?”

STEP 4: IDENTIFY HOW RACISM MAY IMPACT POSTPARTUM

  • The postpartum period is critically important and often overlooked. Up to 45 percent of maternal deaths happen in the weeks after delivery, a time where people are generally more removed from medical care and their regular support systems. Also, those affected often don’t have insurance coverage. In the United States, the postpartum time period is commonly thought of as the six weeks after delivery due to insurance coverage changes at that time. However — medically and physiologically — it is at least the entire year after birth, as this is how long the physical changes of pregnancy persist.

  • As of 2018, The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommends that women see their providers within three weeks of delivery. Women who have had more complicated pregnancies, including problems with blood pressure like pre-eclampsia, should be seen within a week of delivery, ideally a few days after leaving the hospital, for a check-in that includes a blood-pressure evaluation.

Healthy Lifestyle Cookbook and Guide for Mommy and Baby

Black Women for Wellness understands the importance of reclaiming our kitchens as a space where our families can experience health and wellness.

This cookbook serves as a tool to assist your family as you explore new foods for your baby that will support their growth and development. We’ve included recipes to support mamas in the fourth trimester through motherhood. Your body deserves to be restored and empowered.

Download Cookbook
Kitchen Divas Mommy and Baby Cookbook
Black Mamas Matter Infant Formula Shortage Response

Black Mamas Matter Alliance (BMMA) statement on the infant formula shortage

BMMA has published a collective statement on the infant formula shortage that includes a list of BMMA partners providing families with human milk feeding and infant formula support, as well as additional resources and information.

Read Statement

Obstacles in Getting a Mortgage While on Maternity Leave

Our experts at Bankrate created a guide that provides personal experiences about how difficult it can be to obtain a mortgage while on maternity leave, discusses the history of lending inequality and how to avoid lending discrimination.

Download Guide
Pregnant black woman thinking about the challenges in getting a mortgage while on maternity leave
Black women mental health resources

Findings on Fake Women’s Health Clinics & Pregnancy Resource Centers

Crisis Pregnancy Centers (CPC), also called “Fake Women’s Health Clinics & Pregnancy Resource Centers”, pose harm but receive substantial government support & funding.

Download Infographic
Black Maternal & Infant Health 2
Black Maternal & Infant Health 3

IJS (I's Just Sayin) 2 Black Women with Opinions

Janette Robinson Flint (Executive Director) & Adjoa Jones (Visionary) of Black Women for Wellness share insights on current events, culture, policy, and important wisdom for Black mothers on life, living, and joy.

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