This week marks the fourth year of Black Maternal Health Week. Four years later, the stats are still staggering – Black women are three times more likely to experience a pregnancy related death than a white woman. Yes, you read that correctly. Research conducted by the CDC in 2019 concluded that sixty percent of all pregnancy-related deaths can be prevented with better health care, communication and support, as well as access to stable housing and transportation.
This gap in access and information for Black women relates directly to my work at Origin and to pelvic floor physical therapy. While there’s work to be done broadly around women’s lack of education about their pelvic floor – 71% of women are unaware that vaginal delivery increases a woman's future risk of pelvic floor disorder – Black women are three times more likely to lack knowledge about childbirth’s potential impact on their pelvic floor, incontinence, and prolapse. Unfortunately, studies show that nearly 50% of women receive no information about pelvic floor muscle exercises or incontinence postpartum and over 40% of postpartum women have never heard of pelvic floor muscle exercises.
Black women are also disproportionately predisposed to some unique complications (from gestational diabetes, to preeclampsia, to peripartum cardiomyopathy and more) during pregnancy. Part of these issues can be linked to the fact that Black women are more likely to be under or uninsured, and therefore have a greater financial barrier to getting the care they need during pregnancy.
We’re firm believers that information is power, so I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to participate in national Black Maternal Health Week and the Black Mamas Matter Alliance (BMMA) in their efforts to give every woman access to quality and holistic health care. Join me on Zoom this Thursday, April 15th at 11am PT for a workshop with The Children’s Collective Inc. and Black Infant Health Program for Pelvic Floor 101: A workshop on pelvic floor wellness during the prenatal and postpartum period.
- Meeting ID: 879 4893 3901
- Passcode: TCCIBIH
P.S. - If you’re working with an organization that supports Black maternal health, we want to hear from you! We are expanding our pro bono and impact work in California and beyond. Reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org.